Hiking in a new place is always an exciting prospect, but when it comes to a remote rural Gulf Island, it can be tricky to plan out your day. Texada Island is home to dozens of trails for hikers of all levels, but the infrastructure is notably minimal. That’s not to say trails aren’t maintained; while the extent of it can vary significantly from one path to the next, motivated volunteers work hard to keep trails accessible.
The Marble Bay and Eagle Cove Trails are a network of paths through the woods and along the coastline as you approach Van Anda from Blubber Bay. Loops of differing lengths make this hike a great option for families and motivated hikers alike. With access to secluded beaches decorated with driftwood from end to end, you might want to bring a picnic and make it a full-day outing.
Location & trail notes
If you’re coming to Texada for the day, this versatile hike is especially suitable. Unlike many popular hikes that require a minimum of 20 to 30 minutes of driving from the ferry to the trailhead, you’re looking at a mere 5 minutes. In fact, if you want to leave your car in Powell River and bike from the Blubber Bay ferry terminal, you’re only looking at 5 kilometres or so…granted it does include hills.
Either way, once you start driving on Blubber Bay Road from the ferry, you’re going to want to keep an eye out for a dirt pull-out on the left side at around the 5-minute mark. It’s a little closer if you’re coming from Van Anda, on the right side. Look out for a brown sign with the words “Eagle Cove Trail” in white lettering nailed to a tree; it’s easy to miss if you’re coming from the ferry. If you get to the turn-off for the golf course, then you’ve gone too far. Simply pull over to the right into Crescent Bay Road and make a U-turn.
Eagle Cove Trail meets up with Marble Bay Trail, but if you want to jump straight to the latter then keep driving past the turn-off for the golf course and you’ll see a sign on the left and a pull-out to park.
If you’re going for the first stop (Eagle Cove), follow the wide path, taking a left at the first fork. From here, keep walking straight for about 5 minutes until you reach a narrower path. While there is a shortcut entrance on the left as you walk into the path from the road, don’t miss the longer way in if it’s your first visit.
As you enter the official trail, you’ll want to slow down a moment and look down. A sign indicating “Gnome Homes” is the first clue that this hike is a step up from any ordinary trail. Make your way through the enchanting loop of hand-crafted abodes, including a tea shop, dance academy, pub, post office, and mill. If you’re walking with kids who aren’t likely to hike too far, this flat loop gives you some time in the forest without having to commit to a long trail.
For the most basic option—and a favorite among children—stick to the short, flat gnome trail. The main trail starts here too, so keep an eye out for the signs indicating ECT (Eagle Cove Trail). You should see a sign with a QR code nailed to a tree; you’ll want to scan it for a map to make your hike through the woods a little smoother. Although the various loop trails are marked with different colors of flagging tape, there are a number of forks in the path that can lead you in a circle if you aren’t paying attention. The island’s hiking brochure also provides a helpful map to assist you.
The trail offers a number of options depending on what you want to see.
If you’re all about catching glimpses of the coast and making your way down steep paths to get to a deserted beach, you’ll definitely want to try the Edge Trail. Recently refurbished, this trail is narrow and relatively scrambly, so it might be one to skip if you’re looking for a low-key walk.
The outer perimeter loop begins at the Eagle Cove trailhead, follows the coastline, and eventually joins with the Marble Bay trail. If you follow the circumference, you’re looking at around 8 kilometres and a little over 2 hours to complete. With an elevation gain of about 230 metres, you’ll find yourself walking up and down steep paths thankful for the rope-assisted sections. The first fork in the trail offers the option of taking the short trail, which cuts straight across to the Eagle Cove viewpoint. If you’re looking for a nice view and an hour-long hike, this is a great route.
Another shortcut further along connects you with the Marble Bay Trail. Here, follow the path for the Point Trail to get views of Marble Bay and Sturt Bay, as well as the mountains on the mainland. Alternatively, jump straight to the Point Trail by parking further along Blubber Bay Road at the Marble Bay trailhead. From here, the loop to the viewpoint and back is just over 4 kilometres.
With so many loop options and dazzling views to explore, you could easily walk this network of trails a dozen times without repeating the same route. If time allows, bring yourself a picnic to enjoy at one of the vistas or beaches. All the same, don’t let time be an obstacle; as long as you have a map and are following the shorter loops, you can be in and out within an hour and still enjoy glints of the coastline through the lush second-growth forest.
Safety notes for the area
Considering the island’s large size and its stormy winters, you may have to step over some trees to stay on the path. There are also some steeper paths that are narrow and relatively scrambly.
Otherwise, one of the greatest advantages of hiking on Texada—stunning views aside—is the absence of predators. No bear bells or spray are required, simply rest easy as you admire the tranquil surroundings.