Bowen Park is a big forest with a river running down its entire length, cascading around corners and over small drops. There are some great developments in the park like recreation centers, tennis courts, a great disc golf course, beach volleyball, lawn bowling, horseshoes, two BBQ pavilions (both with children's playgrounds), two pedestrian bridges, impressive rhododendron gardens, a heated swimming pool, a duck pond, fish ladder and more.
The park is just northwest of downtown Nanaimo. Many people who bike or walk to work will cut through the park for some extra exercise, or for peace of mind. It's also just a nice place to hang out with a blanket under the trees or near the Millstream (aka Millstone River).
Bowen Park is especially pretty in the autumn, when the big maples have thick, crispy cushions of orange leaves beneath. There are big hills that are great for tobogganing in the winter (see below), and in the spring there are flowers and impressive rhododendrons.
The park is generally safe, but it's a large park in the middle of a city, so I would suggest visiting Bowen Park with a friend!
Bowen Park Location
The biggest parking area is off Bowen Road (see map location below) near the pool and activity centre. But there is also parking off Wall St, at the park's eastern edge.
Back to my list of Nanaimo parks and hikes