Amazing trails surround Victoria. From the leisurely and obvious walking routes around the Inner Harbour and the Galloping Goose Trail. To the wonderfully hidden bits of paradise such as East Sooke Park, Mill Hill, Lone Tree Hill, Gowlland Tod and Sooke Potholes. Victoria is often talked about as an expensive city, yet there are a great abundance of free things to do.
Bear Hill Regional Park is a nice hill trail, just north of Elk/Beaver Lake in Saanich. It is an easy 2k hike to the summit where the views are sensational. From the trailhead to the summit only takes about 20-30 minutes. High up on the Saanich Peninsula you can see the Gulf Islands and even the San Juan Islands in the United States. The technically active, and alarmingly close volcano, Mount Baker in Washington State is very visible as well on a clear day. The trail to Bear Hill is easy and runs through a beautiful forest of Douglas fir trees that lead to the unexpected grove of Garry oak trees at the summit. The more you hike in Victoria, the more you notice these wonderful hiking trails to rocky hills/mountains. From Bear Hill's 220 metre elevation you may be able to spot other, distant Victoria mountains. If you look toward downtown Victoria you should be able to make out Mount Douglas and possibly Mount Tolmie. Bear Hill Regional Park connects with Elk and Beaver Lakes Regional Park making this small park into quite a larger area to hike. A beautiful 10k trail runs around Elk and Beaver Lakes.
East Sooke Regional Park grasps what Vancouver Island is all about. Amazingly wild and accessible beaches, wonderfully alive BC coastal forests and startlingly desolate, rocky coastal vantage points. Everything about it is just great and should not be missed on a trip to Victoria anytime of the year. The amazing size of this park, almost 15 square kilometres stretches out linearly in an array of pocket beaches, rocky viewpoints and fantastically alive tide pools. Aylard Farm: Easy and relaxing. Just a 5 minute walk from the trailhead leads to a nice beach and further trails lead up to hills for great ocean views and further more difficult hiking along the Coast Trail.
The Elk & Beaver Lake Trail is one of many beautiful lakeside trails in Victoria. From the convenient parking lot the trail is mostly flat, gravel or dirt, densely forested at times and runs around both Elk and Beaver Lakes to complete a 10k circuit. The park is very popular for swimming, picnicking, windsurfing, boating, fishing and rowing. Though it can get busy the large size of the park disperses people quite well. If you are running here you will find the trails around the lake peaceful and quiet even if the sandy beaches are crowded and noisy. Like other BC Provincial Parks there are excellent toilet facilities at several points along this beautiful and relaxing trail.
The beautiful wilderness hiking trails in Francis King Park take you past massive, old-growth Douglas Fir trees. Some estimated to be as old as 500 years and the Elsie King interpretive trail gives beautiful descriptions of the forest around you. There are over 11 kilometres of trails in the park and some of them connect to the adjacent, Thetis Lake Regional Park. Thetis Lake Park then connects to the beautiful Mill Hill Regional Park, combining these three beautiful parks into one, massive, interconnected hiking paradise. Francis King contains the massive old growth forest, Thetis the beautiful lakeside trails, and Mill Hill the wonderful mountain views out to the ocean around Victoria.
Galloping Goose Regional Trail developed from a disused railway line begins at the Johnson Street bridge in downtown Victoria and goes in two directions. One direction goes to the Vancouver ferry terminal at Swartz Bay, 35km away. And the other 55km through the Western Communities, out past Sooke ending in the ghost town, Leechtown. The downtown portions of the trail are paved, however, past that the trail is packed down gravel and hard dirt trail. There are convenient km markers all along the trail emanating from the Johnson Street starting point.
Goldstream Provincial Park and Mount Finlayson are beautiful and shouldn't be missed on a trip to Victoria. Huge coastal rainforest trees everywhere. An impressively golden river, an abandoned gold mine and one of the highest mountains in Victoria. As soon as you leave your car you can feel the wonderful forest alive around you. Goldstream Park is home to the annual salmon spawning run every fall and the rest of the year is just a wonderful world of centuries old Douglas Fir and Western Red Cedars. Trails run all over the park, but the Mount Finlayson trail takes you up to beautiful views of Victoria. It's a relaxing trail that only gets a bit steeper and challenging near the end. The summit of Mount Finlayson is about an hour from from the parking lot, it's a very accessible way to hike in Victoria. Across the highway there is still more to this beautiful park. Abandoned gold mine tunnels dot the hillside and a breathtaking train trestle is just a short hike away.
Gowlland Tod Provincial Park is a beautiful park running along the Saanich Inlet. Accessible from Goldstream Park at one end and Brentwood Bay, near Buchart Gardens at the other. From beautiful ocean views of the inlet to wonderful mountain views from Mount Work, this park has a great variety of characteristically Victoria hiking. Mount Work is a popular hiking trail in Gowlland Tod and the most challenging trail at 5k from trailhead to summit. Gowlland Tod Provincial Park is quite large, spread out and the trails so varied, that you feel far from the city. The trails and views to and along Finlayson Arm are amazing and breathtakingly serene. An amazing park, so convenient to Victoria. And much like most other Victoria area parks, astoundingly quiet and wild. Naturally peaceful and astoundingly beautiful.
Grass Lake (also Grasse Lake or Grassie Lake) is a moderately difficult trail to a beautifully remote lake far in the wilderness of Sooke. Popular for swimming and escaping the world. It is a beautiful and remote lake. From Victoria take Douglas Street and continue to the Trans Canada Highway, and follow the signs to Sooke. After 35k turn right on Sooke River Rd (follow the signs to Sooke Potholes). Park at the Sooke Potholes parking lot. From the Sooke Potholes parking lot you will see a riverbed on the right, just before the gates (to the potholes). Follow this riverbed until you reach the Galloping Goose Trail. Turn left and follow the Galloping Goose Trail for about 600 metres until you see a large trail on your right. This trail leads to Grass Lake.
Huge Douglas-fir trees and tremendous views are the highlights of this beautiful Provincial Park just 30 minutes from downtown Victoria, near Sidney. There are five main trails that wind through the park to various wonderful viewpoints and places of interest. You can even see the old cabin site of John Dean, who donated the park in 1921. There are two old growth ecosystems in the park. One of Garry oak and the other Douglas-fir. Biking, hiking, wildlife viewing and picnicking are all popular at John Dean Provincial Park, however camping is not welcome. There is quite a lot to explore in this relatively expansive and very interesting mountain park.
The Juan de Fuca Trail is an incredible part of . Wild and beautiful, and accessible. All along the 47km length there are convenient access points. It's wild, and beautiful, and varied, and deep in the wild rainforest of the coast. From the beautiful flowers of Victoria to the wild and majestic forest of the Juan de Fuca Trail, the drive just to get to it is beautiful. There are four main trailheads for the Juan de Fuca trail. From Victoria China Beach is 70km, Sombrio Beach 95km, Parkinson Creek 100km and Botanical Beach 110km. The trail can of course be hiked from either end or in parts. Starting at and timing the tides correctly allows for a great way to start the trek as you can see the first five or so kilometres at the wonderful beach level.
Lone Tree Hill Regional Park has a beautiful panoramic view from its summit. The hike is fairly short and relaxing at just 1.6k trailhead to summit. Expect to hike for under 30 minutes to reach the viewpoint. The views for such a short hike are quite amazing. You can see the distant Malahat, Victoria as well as the very distant Olympic Mountains in the US. Dogs are welcome in the park, however, bikes, camping and fires are not. From Victoria take Douglas Street and continue to the Trans Canada Highway, after 12k take exit 14 toward Langford/Sooke/Highlands, keep right at the fork and follow the signs for Millstream Rd N, after 8.2k look for the Lone Tree Hill Regional Park sign on your right.
Mill Hill Regional Park is a well hidden though wonderfully short hike to amazing views of Victoria, Esquimalt and the Western Communities. The hike is only 15 minutes to the summit with a branching trail that leads to Thetis Lake Park. This is a remarkably seldom hiked park in Victoria. It is rare to see anyone on the trail or at the beautiful summit. The views are amazing. What makes them even more amazing is that the views look as though you are on a much higher mountain than the small and short hike that brought you to this great summit. The hike is only 15 minutes to the summit with a branching trail that leads to Thetis Lake Park. Follow the Trans Canada Highway from Victoria, take Exit 14 south to Langford. Turn left onto Hoffman Avenue then right on Winster Road, then left on Atkins Avenue. Look for the park entrance on the left in one kilometre.
or Mount Doug as it's locally known is a remarkably easily accessible park with both 360 degree mountain views as well as a beautiful beach. The beach and mountain are connected both by trails and roads allowing for a quick and beautiful visit by car or a longer, interesting and varied hike on foot among the huge Douglas Fir and Cedar trees. Parking is available in four areas. At the summit of Mount Doug (accessible by car only after 12pm daily), near the shores of Cordova Bay, at the gate, at the base of the road to the peak as well as further along the park at Glendenning Road. Among the spider web of trails on Mount Doug there is quite an amazing cave. Long abandoned from the old mining days it runs nearly 20 metres from the tiny entrance. Don't forget to bring a flashlight. las
Mount Tolmie is another beautiful, easily accessed mountain in Victoria with 360 degree views. On a clear day you can spot Mount Baker far off in the distance in the US. There are some short trails and a huge, flat topped water reservoir to walk on. Mount Tolmie is located near the University of Victoria, Oak Bay and Beach Drive. Its location makes it a popular stop before or after driving the beautiful Beach Drive coastal route and ending at Beacon Hill Park in downtown Victoria. Mount Tolmie has a nice forest of Garry Oaks and some trails that zig zag the mountain. The hiking is limited though, due to the sparse trails. You will likely do less hiking than sitting and relaxing. Taking in the tremendous 360 degree views. There are several picnic tables in the park or you can just enjoy the view from your car.
Sooke is a wonderful coastal town with amazingly deep and beautiful forests, lakes and rivers. The Sooke Potholes is an extraordinary example of this. Over thousands of years swirling water have created amazingly deep pools in this otherwise, massive and crashing river. This has created an astonishing river-world fun park of sorts. Cliffs, fallen trees, rock outcrops over the river. Nothing, including the river ever runs in anything close to a straight line. So many amazing vantage points, so many unbelievable swimming spots. If you are interested in venturing further, you can follow the potholes for quite a distance. About 3k in fact, as they snake through the river valley...
is popular with hiking, fishing, canoeing and swimming. Located north of Victoria, the drive to get there is very beautiful and well worth the drive just for the great stops on the way. Spectacle Lake Provincial ParkThetis Lake Park and Goldstream Park are easily combined with Spectacle Lake in a one day hiking/sightseeing adventure. These two parks are on the way to Spectacle Lake and very convenient pit stops adding just minutes to the journey or longer if wanted. Spectacle Lake Provincial Park has a very nice 2k trail around the lake compete with wooden bridges and plenty to see. Much of the trail is wheelchair accessible.
Thetis Lake Regional Park is a very popular Victoria park that contains several lakes. Lower Thetis Lake, Upper Thetis Lake, Prior Lake and further out, McKenzie Lake are all within this amazing park. A wide, spider web of hiking trails run in between and around these lakes in the midst of a beautiful and secluded forest. Trails also lead to more challenging trails to Scafe Hill and Stewart Mountain. In the summer Thetis Lake is fantastically popular as a swimming beach. Sandy beach, beautiful lake, and a wonderful trail system make the park crowded on hot days. Fishing, kayaking and canoeing are other popular attractions...
Witty's Lagoon Regional Park is a great network of trails and boardwalks that meander through an impressive Douglas-fir forest leading to the wonderful beach at Witty's Lagoon. The trails total over 5k, however, can be hiked in smaller sections. Many just head to the beach and lagoon and avoid the trails, but the trails are well worth a look. The trails run around the lagoon with great ocean and wildlife scenery. Sitting Lady Falls is wonderfully viewed from the very nice boardwalk. Expect to take two hours if you walk most of the trails and far more if you stay to explore the beach and lagoon. If you are interested in bird watching you will be in heaven as the nature centre boasts that over 160 bird species have been seen in the park. Dogs are allowed in the park, however, bikes, camping and fires are not.