Getting to Mt Washington

Getting to Mt Washington

Where is Mount Washington?

Mount Washington on Vancouver Island British Columbia is 245km northwest of the city of Victoria, and 33km northwest of the town of Courtenay in Comox Valley.


The Comox Valley Airport is 39km to the east of Mt Washington BC. It’s supposedly an international airport, yet commercial flights only originate from Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton.

Ferries to Vancouver Island

You’ll need to catch a ferry if you’re travelling from the mainland to Vancouver Island and not flying. The West Vancouver to Nanaimo (Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay) ferry takes about 1:40 hours and has about 11 schedules per day. This is particularly ideal if you’re coming from north of Vancouver.

Another main ferry route is the Vancouver to Nanaimo ferry (Tsawwassen-Duke Point) which takes 2 hours and has about 8 schedules a day. This is a good ferry if you’re coming from south of Vancouver, although it’s likely that the schedules may dictate which ferry to take.

See the BC ferries website for routes, timetables and fares. The ferries are pretty impressive but rather expensive. If you can be sure of your driving time, you should pre-book your ferry trip otherwise you risk having to catch a later ferry. There are highway signs that indicate how busy the ferries are.

Further north is a ferry that runs between Powell River and Comox but it’s unlikely to be an efficient route for most travellers.

Driving to Mt Washington Vancouver Island

From Nanaimo where the ferry comes in, it’s a 134km drive up to Mount Washington along Highway 19. Or if you’ve got an abundance of time you could take the old scenic coastal road.

From the highway it’s a 19km drive to Mt. Washington, which takes about 15-20 minutes when the road is dry and there’s no traffic. Winter tyres or chains are required to be carried, and when the road’s bad, flashing lights indicate that chains need to be donned. The road’s not particularly windy or steep, but it seems to have more than its fair share of incidents during storms, and the traffic can be horrendous.

Alternatively, you can make the most of the park and ride shuttle service near the start of the access road.

Parking is free at Mount Washington Resort, and the parking near Bear Lodge and Deer Lodge is ski-in ski-out.

Bus to Mt Washington

A shuttle service operates between Comox Valley and Mt Washington, with a few stops in Courtenay and Cumberland.

For other Van Islanders day tripping to Mt Washington, there is the Mt Washington Ski Bus which operates daily with pick-up locations in Victoria, View Royal, Langford, Mill Bay, Cobble Hill, Duncan, Chemainus, Ladysmith, Nanaimo and Qualicum Beach.

Other Ski Resorts Nearby

Not sure if we’d call it a ski resort, but Mt Cain is located 189km to the northwest of Mt Washington, a drive that takes 2:40 hours (chains are mandatory but there’s nowhere to rent them). Mt Cain is a little no-frills ski field that’s highly renowned for its sidecountry terrain and big snowfalls.

Whistler Blackcomb isn’t too far away as the crow flies, but as a minimum, it would take 5 hours to get there if your ferry times lined up nicely.