Helliwell Provincial Park Hiking Trail
Unwind in the islands bluffs and let time slow down
- Destination: Southwest British Columbia
- Season: January-December
- Difficulty: Easy
- Distance: 9.4 kilometers (out‑and‑back)
- Elevation Gain: 190 meters
- Duration: 1-2.5 hours
About Helliwell Provincial Park
Donated by John Helliwell in 1966, Helliwell Provincial Park has rolling yellow grass bluffs, quirky sandstone formations below the tideline, rare Gary Oak meadows and an abundance of marine wildlife.
Located in the middle of Georgia Strait and just beyond the popular sandy beach spot in Tribune Bay, Helliwell is the place to get out and stretch your legs.
Helliwell Provincial Park is on Hornby Island, two short ferry rides from Buckley Bay on Vancouver Island. Buckley Bay is about 2.5 hours from Victoria or about 1 hour from Nanaimo. From Highway 19 take the Buckley Bay exit 101 to get to the ferry terminal.
First, take the Denman Island Ferry to Denman Island. Once on the island, follow Denman Road to the Hornby Island Ferry terminal. Another 10-minute ferry ride will put you on Hornby Island. From there follow the main road to the Hornby Island CO-OP then turn left following Central Road to St. John’s Point Road. St. John's Road turns into Anderson Drive and quickly after you take a right onto Halliwell Road. Follow this road shortly and park at the gravel parking lot by the end of the road.
The trailhead is at the end of Helliwell Road. Most hikers take the clearly marked trail out to St. John's Point and then meander back along the bluffs towards Mushroom Beach. A myriad of other connecting trails can be taken to go to either, or both, or simply to explore the interior of the park.
Additionally, a trail also continues outside of the park past Mushroom beach and connects with High Salal Drive (a handy option if coming from Tribune Bay).
- Food, water, gas and all other amenities can be found at the crossroads by Tribune Bay.
- Be careful along the bluffs.
- Home to the rare Six-gill shark for scuba divers.
- In high season it can be busy, walking or riding a bike to the park is recommended.
- Outhouses available and the trailhead and along the trail.
- No potable water
- Free parking
Where to stay
There are many camping and B&B options on Hornby Island if you want to stay the night there.
Questions or comments? Let us know.
By Keegan Pearson
Keegan is a photographer and storyteller who was born and raised on Salt Spring Island. He now lives in Squamish, BC.