Immerse yourself in Vancouver's natural beauty without venturing far; every neighborhood offers easy access to temperate rainforests, sandy beaches, and winding mountain trails just minutes away. When you embark on a BC Ferries journey from Horseshoe Bay (the last trace of West Vancouver before entering the Sea-to-Sky Corridor en route to Whistler), the short 20-minute ride reveals Bowen Island as a hidden gem.
The Trail House, a snug vacation cabin rental with a wood-fired hot tub, awaits just beyond the postcard-perfect Horseshoe Bay. As we drove onto the ferry, leaving the hustle of downtown Vancouver behind, the worries of emails and overdue tasks faded in under an hour.
Bowen Island, technically part of Metro Vancouver, shelters a community of around 4,000 residents on its approximately 25-square-mile expanse. An idyllic haven with pristine trails, charming coves, and a perfect blend of cafes, pubs, and markets, Bowen also boasts diverse architectural styles, ranging from hygge chic to classic Canadian cottages.
Nestled minutes from Snug Cove, the Trail House embodies the essence of Bowen Island—calm, inviting, elegant, and intentional. A place to unwind and detach, the cabin centers around its main attraction: the Goodland wood-fired hot tub.
Though heating the tub requires time and effort, the reward is unparalleled. As steam rises from the water after hours of fire building, a sense of accomplishment envelopes you. The crackle of the fire and the scent of woodsmoke add to the experience, creating a magical ambiance beneath the stars.
Between tending to the fire, we took a pre-tub cold plunge at Eagle Cliff Beach. A short distance on the map, the steep driveway to the road necessitates trail runners for the trek. The effort pays off as you reach a secluded stony beach with mountain views and curious seals, offering the ideal sunset spot before returning for a chilly uphill climb to the hot tub.
Inside the Trail House, the space encourages lounging, equipped with all the essentials for a comfortable stay. While the kitchen setup may evoke alpine hostel vibes with convection burners and a toaster oven replacing a conventional stovetop, we managed to cook ambitious meals over two nights. The cabin's shelves feature an inspiring selection of hardcovers, perfect for indulging in forest bathing and wanderlust.
The Trail House deliberately minimizes screens—except those you bring along. Despite the strong Wi-Fi, the allure of splitting wood, tending to the tub's fire, and savoring locally caught steelhead trout by the wood stove overshadow the need for much else. The Trail House offers a retreat where simplicity reigns supreme, a quintessential weekend getaway, with perhaps the only exception being the hope for a sighting or two of passing whales.
For those seeking this immersive experience, the Trail House on Bowen Island is available for rental starting at $269 per night CAD.