Getting to the Sunshine Coast Trail requires a bit of time and a couple of ferry rides but that’s part of what makes it special. It’s still relatively undiscovered compared to hikes like the Juan de Fuca Trail and The West Coast Trail.
My goal was to get to the trail for the least amount of money and the least amount of hassle. Originally we were going to take the Sunshine Coast Connector from Vancouver to Powell River. It seems like a great service but when I did the math for 3 of us it was cheaper and more convenient to drive.
You could certainly take transit to the Horseshoe Bay terminal and then likely find transit all the way to Earls Cove but I didn’t have the patience to figure it out. Then there’s the option some people take which is hitch hiking from ferry terminal to ferry terminal and then all the way to Lund. It seemed quite easy to get a ride, but not an option with children.
If you drive, and you can figure out your food drops without the car, it makes sense to park your car at Earls Cove. The parking is free and they don’t mind long term parking. This avoids paying $50 to take your car on the ferry.
This wasn’t an option for us because we were catching the rural bus from Saltery Bay to Lund. The bus was only picking up at 320 PM. With a brief stop in Powell River, I couldn’t figure out how to get box 1 to the pub and box 2 to the business near Dixon Road. Unfortunately, driving seemed like the only option.
So after loading the 720 AM ferry in Horseshoe bay and driving 1 hour and 15 minutes to Earls Cove we loaded on the 1030 ferry and arrived at Saltery Bay around 1130. The ferry ride was beautiful but when I went to start the car to get off the battery died.
This was a wrinkle in the plan that I didn’t anticipate. The ferry guys were great getting us a jump in about 5 minutes and we were back on the road.
Of course, I didn’t want to shut off the car for fear that it would die so we made a quick stop and dropped box 2 and then carried on to Powell River to drop box 1 at the Shinglemill Pub. After dropping the boxes we lucked out and Canadian Tire could change our battery right away.
We then headed back to the free ferry parking at Saltery Bay and got our bags finalized for the trip. When you park at the ferry terminals you have to report your plate # to the attendant.
The bus to Lund runs infrequently (Tuesday & Friday) from the ferry terminal and it only stops occasionally at the ferry, but check the bus schedule as it will change.
You must call ahead 604-483-2008 to confirm you will be at the stop. I called the day before arrival and getting on was not an issue. Just don’t expect regular service.
Now that I’ve reflected some on our trip logistics the most effective plan is to ship your food drop boxes by Canada Post. Then park at Earl’s Cove and walk onto the ferry. You then need to figure out how to get all the way to Lund (either thumb or transit). From there you can take the water taxi or the shuttle service if you want to get to the start of the trail.
And then you just need to walk 180 km to get back to the ferry 😉