Hornby Island

Mountain Biking on Hornby Island, British Columbia, Canada
photo credit: Kyle Hansen

Every Ride Begins With A Single Pedal Stroke...

Hornby Island. The name evokes stunning vistas, hot sandy beaches, cool forest lowlands lit with shafts of dappled light and of course the legendary buttery smooth singletrack.

Adrift in the Salish Sea, Hornby Island was long known as Ja-dai-aich by the Pentlach and other first nations who enjoyed hunting, harvesting and other more esoteric retreats there for over 5,000 years. Since then it has been transformed from a farming and ranching powerhouse, to a logging economy and thence to vacation hotspot and getaway for back-to-the-landers, draft dodgers and intellectuals. Then came the offspring!

They were born of the hippie movement but they wanted more. And sensing the hardscrabble history in the dirt of Mt Geoffrey they took tools in hand and started sculpting the 80+ kilometers of trails now available to those hardy enough to make the trek to “The Rock”.

Blessed with mild winters and good drainage, Hornby’s trails remain open year round. Spring and early summer offer lush valleys filled with the emerald green of the Coastal Rainforest complete with tacky dirt, almost abandoned trails, and otherworldly seas of sword fern.

As summer’s heat drives the majority of Hornby’s seasonal visitors to the beaches, the trails open up to silent morning rides and moonlight night rides. Swimming, diving, art classes, galleries and wineries further tempt, as days of riding take their toll.

Finally autumn arrives in all its golden glory and Hornby’s trails almost sigh as the first rains begin to soak in; but the air is still sweet with the scent of ripening fruit and the sun still beckons one back to the trails.

Even after November storms with accompanying downpours, the trails remain mild and even tempered and for those hardy souls with rain gear, a whole new playground opens up. Rain soaked moss, dew drenched spider webs and eagles soaring through the mist as you wend your way along the cliff edge, all are the rewards for those who find Hornby when others are back at school or work.

Leave the quad, the dirt bike and the jet ski at home. Hornby, like fine wine, is best savoured slowly over a number of days and best of all on two rolling tires.

Don’t let Hornby’s laid back charm fool you, there are plenty of exciting and enlightening things to do on this island oasis beyond relaxing with a good book.

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HIMBA is The Hornby Island Mountain Bike Association. We are a small but dedicated group of cyclist who years ago took on the roll of advocating for, repairing, and building Hornby’s trail network. For many years we worked informally or for a time as a society. In 2009 we finally incorporated as an association. We work in concert with the Park Steering committee and it’s Maintenance Contractor. Our work does not stop with the trails though, we are also involved in promoting cycling as a healthy sport and transportation option on the island. We do this through informal group rides, kids rides and other activities.  Check out our website or Facebook page.

Hornby’s heart is the community which calls the island home. Many islanders came for a weekend, were enchanted, and never left. During the peak of the summer season our population swells to over 8,000 people, with a winter population of approx. 900. Hornby has long been called “the Hawaii of Canada” and continues to live up to this reputation. But it is more than nice beaches and pristine forests, it is home for many talented people where creativity, healthy living, and commitment to community are core values. The Hornby Island Arts Council represents the array of artists and craftspeople who call this unique place home and sponsor a number of events throughout the year. Please, visit www.hornbyisland.com/events to see a comprehensive listing of “what’s happening on Hornby”. Note: discounted shoulder season accommodation rental rates are available. Visit www.hornbyisland.com for all your vacation information needs. If you have any questions, contact us at info@hornbyisland.com

Hornby Island hosts an array of fabulous events fun for the whole family. To find out more check out Hornby Island Events.

Hornby’s history of community spirit lives on at the beautiful handmade Hornby Community Hall. Our community hall is literally at the centre of our community and hosts many of the events that make Hornby special. With movie nights, art shows, dances, music performances, family celebrations, food service, and exercise classes. It’s available for renting by locals and non-locals alike.

Hornby Island is a community that likes to do-it-yourself. From building our own Health Clinic, Recycling Centre, and ‘Room-to-Grow’ at the School, to providing our own arts and entertainment, we do it all! Click here is a sampling of our many community organizations!

By Car – The ferry you catch to get to Hornby Island departs from Buckley Bay, located on central Vancouver Island. Visit HornbyIsland.com for a search tool to get detailed directions to Buckley Bay. It is recommended that you purchase a BC Ferries experience card to get a substantial discount on fares – ask the ticket collector for details.

NOTE: The last ferry connecting to Hornby Island departs Buckley Bay at 6pm each day, except for Fridays when the last ferry departs at 10pm, as summarized in the ferry schedule.

Once at the Buckley Bay ferry terminal, you take the ferry to Denman Island, drive across Denman (staying on the main road the whole way to get to the Hornby ferry terminal), and then take another ferry to Hornby Island. See the video below to get an idea of what the whole journey looks like (dance party upon arrival on Hornby optional).

By Plane – The fastest way to get to Hornby Island by plane is to fly into the Comox Valley, which is a small city 30 minutes north of Buckley Bay.  Airlines with direct flights to the Comox Valley Airport include WestJetCentral Mountain Air, and Pacific Coastal Airlines.

From the airport, you can get to Buckley Bay by renting a vehicle, or catching the Island Link bus (reservations recommended). A water taxi is also available, see Inter Island Charters.

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