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Your guide to Hornby Island
All About Hornby Island
Hornby Island is one of two northernmost Gulf Islands near Vancouver Island's Comox Valley, a region well known for its white, sandy beaches that stretch around Tribune Bay before meeting the turquoise waters of the Salish Sea. The island's three provincial parks are a mix of Northwest rainforest, dramatic cliffs, and tranquil warm-water beaches. With more than 70 hiking and biking trails, Hornby Island is a popular destination for hikers and cyclists of all skill levels. The calm, warm waters surrounding the island are filled with marine life and unique sandstone reefs, luring divers worldwide. Hornby Island is one of the few places in the world where divers can spot sixgill sharks.
While the island is known for its lush parklands and outdoor activities, it's also easy to spend a day touring one of the acclaimed wineries here. You could also plan an afternoon around exploring the studios, galleries, and workshops that showcase the works of local painters, sculptors, potters, and metal workers in this thriving artist community. Hornby Island has one of the densest artist populations in Canada.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Hornby Island
Warm temperatures and sunny skies make summer an ideal time to enjoy the bustling beaches around Hornby Island. This is also when you can grab fresh ingredients for your meals at the Hornby Farmers Market, which offers diverse, quality goods from artists, bakers, and growers every Saturday from May to September. Fall brings cool, comfortable temperatures and a relaxed setting. The island has a unique microclimate, which means it gets less rain and slightly warmer temperatures during the winter months. Most restaurants and shops close from October to April, so prepare to cook your meals at your accommodations. Starting in March, Hornby Island comes alive with blooming wildflowers, pleasant weather, and the start of herring season, bringing bald eagles and sea lions to its shores. Kayak around the bay for an eagle sighting or head up one of the many trails on a mountain bike.
Top things to do in Hornby Island
Mount Geoffrey Escarpment Provincial Park
Running along the southwest coast of Hornby Island, Mount Geoffrey Escarpment Provincial Park features a stunning ridge and several trails with breathtaking views of Denman Island, Vancouver Island, and the Coast Mountains. Start your morning on the Cliff Trail, a popular hike in the Comox Valley region. A steep flight of wooden stairs leads to gorgeous vistas and a lush rainforest. The Cliff Trail is a 3.7-mile out and back trail with moderate elevation gains.
Helliwell Provincial Park
Head to St. John Point in Helliwell Provincial Park to dive with sixgill sharks, making sure to always keep a respectful distance. These mysterious, deep-water creatures can grow to 15 feet in length and are typically sighted from May to September off Flora Island. The island is one of the few locations in the world, and the only location in the Strait of Georgia, with a sixgill shark community. Explore underwater gardens and caves at Lambert Channel, Maude Reef, Heron Rocks, and Norris Rocks.
Tribune Bay Beach
Tribune Bay Beach is a slice of paradise on Hornby Island. It’s an expansive beach of fine, white sand that is surrounded by woods and hillsides cloaked in wildflowers. The shallow water nearly reaches tropical temperatures during the summer, ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and stand-up paddlingboarding. A five-minute walk from downtown Hornby Island, you can explore the unique shops and eateries after a day in the sun.