The shining sun and the unfortunate itching in my eyes, ears and throat remind me that summer adventures are soon on their way. On Salt Spring Island, there are so many fun and exciting places to explore. I can’t wait!
One of the first times I visited Salt Spring Island, I heard about the Fairy Doors that could be found while hiking up Mount Erskine. As an avid enthusiast of sparkly, magical creatures (try and tell me unicorns aren’t real), I was eager to go exploring.
The hike up Mt. Erskine can be done from a few different trails. The path I first set out on, which seems to be a popular one, is from the trail head on Collins Rd. Albeit a lovely hike, this one is a little too steep and lengthy for some of us who are now hiking with babies on board, younger children, and those pressed for time.
If you are looking for a shorter alternate route, I would suggest heading out to Juniper Place off of Rainbow Rd and follow it along. Take a right at the fork, to the parking loop at the very end. There is a marked trailhead from here that can take you up to the top for a short rest while overlooking the ocean and the East Coast of Vancouver Island, and back down in about an hour (with small children walking themselves I would count on doubling this time). This trail is a much easier undertaking – especially in the heat of the summer!
EDIT: I wanted to edit this to mention that if you carry on along this route, you shouldn’t take the first off-shoot trail going left up the mountain, but rather the next trail up on your left. Both will take you to the top of Erskine, but the second trail up does have more fairy doors to see. I like to do a round route and come back the other way, which means walking back from the viewpoint over a little rocky rise and into the trees, which leads you down the first trail.
Since moving here I have enjoyed many treks up the mountain in search of exercise, fairy doors, and the phenomenal viewpoint at the top of the mountain. I’ve brought along my young charges on some journeys, and they were very excited to search for the fairy doors. They would imagine what it was like in the fairy world as we walked, and tried to guess and sing magic passwords that might open the doors.
In front of each door the visitors that come by leave small coins and trinkets for the fairies, which we can look through and leave our own gifts and messages for the fairies.
Besides Mt Erskine, I have seen fairy doors in other areas of the island.
There is the door on the side of the Treehouse Café in Ganges that can be opened for children and other visitors to leave letters for Erskine the Elf, which he will reply to if you leave your mailing address.
Another easily accessible fairy door is the Elf and Fairy Village just down the walkway beside West of the Moon (the amazing local toy store). In the summer months, treasures and gifts accumulate into quite a display of magical goings-on.
The collection of tiny trinkets are packed away in the fall as the elves prepare to head up to the North Pole for winter, to help Santa in his workshop.
Very recently, I’ve noticed many fairy doors appear in Mouat’s Park near Ganges. Nestled at the bases of trees within the Hart Memorial Disc Golf course, several colourful and easy-to-spot little doors have been installed.
Salt Spring Island Fairy Doors Tour
Also new this year, a very pleasant Grandma-figure, Cathy, is offering tours of the many fairy homes that can be found on her property. Tours are available by appointment, June through August (although you may be able to make an appointment in another month if you ask really nicely). To enquire, you can contact Cathy through her Facebook page for her in-progress book “Ethereal Matters” of Fairy Rose’s adventures. (Make sure you “like” this page if you want to keep up to date with all of the fairy adventures.) *Update* NOW OPEN! Click here to check out this post for more detailed information and contact info for bookings.
And if you’re interested in knowing more about the elves and fairies of Salt Spring Island, Roger Brunt (The Fairy Door Man) is the author of a couple lovely books about the Fairy Doors and Erskine the Elf, and is responsible for handicrafting many a fairy door, coast-to-coast. Check out his website here for information on his books and fairy doors.
If fairies and folklore excites you, you can always turn your own favourite spaces into magical fairy homes and gardens. You can find locally made fairy doors at Apple Photo on Salt Spring Island, and often in the Saturday Market here. There are also a lot of neat little fairy doors available to order on Amazon.
Enjoy your fairy tale adventures on Salt Spring Island!
Where is your favourite imagination-inspiring place to visit? Do you know of other fairy doors Salt Spring Island has to check out? Share in the comments below, or on our Facebook page!
*Disclosure* This post contains affiliate links to books available on Amazon.ca, which may provide me with a small commission if a sale is made through these links. You can read my full disclosure policy here.