Mount Douglas Park - Victoria Hiking Trails
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.
Mount Douglas Park - Directions
Parking for Mount Douglas Park can be found at the summit via Churchill Road(gate open after noon everyday), or by the ocean off Cordova Bay Road. Both access areas are well worth visiting and wildly different. If you want to go to the summit of Mount Doug then the main Churchill Road access is the route to take. If you want a beautiful ocean park, then the Cordova Bay Road access is the one to head to. Ideally, you should check out both parts of Mount Douglas Park on any visit.
More Trails Near Mount Douglas Park
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. 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, 35 kilometres away. And the other 55 kilometres through the Western Communities, out past Sooke ending near the ghost town, Leechtown. The trail is paved for 13 kilometres, from Victoria to Colwood, then the trail is gravel and dirt paths. Most of the distance the ground is fairly smooth and rarely do you encounter even gradual hills as the route follows the old railway line. 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. 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 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. The Elsie King Trail is a self guided, 800 metre loop trail, named after a leader of the Victoria Girl Guides and wife of the Victoria naturalist, Freeman King. There are over 11 kilometres of trails in Francis/King Park, and the park connects to Thetis Lake Regional Park. 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. 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. Victoria's Inner Harbour is the heart of this incredibly tourist oriented city. Surrounded by spectacular buildings, historical monuments and stunning totem poles, the Inner Harbour is a free Victoria attraction that takes hours to fully appreciate. From the two kilometre cement and granite causeway that skirts the harbour and then continues at both ends for much longer, to the various centuries old buildings. The British Columbia parliament buildings dominate one end of the Inner Harbour and you are free to wander much of this astonishingly old and ridiculously extravagant building. The beautiful Empress Hotel sits across from the Inner Harbour as well and along with being a luxury hotel, it is a free museum of sorts on its lower level. You can wander through the lower hallways that take you back over a century as you look at artifacts and hotel menus from the 1800's. Just past the Empress is the wonderful Royal BC Museum. This amazing museum houses a seemingly endless array of local history ranging from thousands of years ago to recent decades. No where else in the world will you find such a breathtaking collection of totem poles. The causeway continues in both directions. To the left it takes you past and through a nice park then continues to Fisherman's Wharf. is astonishingly beautiful and incredibly interesting as a tourist attraction in Victoria that most never see. This fact is amazing as it is wonderful and unquestionably, or at least arguably, as good or better than any other attraction around. And at $3.90, what a phenomenal deal. You can crawl all over all the real pre World War I era defensive structures and even play with and all but fire a genuine World War II Anti-Aircraft Gun... which astonishingly is in the parking lot. Fort Rodd Hill has so much to see it spills onto the parking lot. What unbelievable place! Though you could make your way through at a rushed pace in about 30 minutes, expect to take over two hours at a moderate pace as there is such an astonishingly huge amount to see. Real fortifications from a century ago as if frozen in time. Thick cement walls that look indestructible. Gun slits in the metre thick walls that you can peer through as though you had to defend the fort yourself. Some buildings even have sound effects as you walk in. The enormous anti-ship guns are still in place. These monstrous barrels pointing out to sea as if still looking for invading ships to fire upon. About the only drawback to Fort Rodd Hill is that you can't bring your dog with you, but this is for a pretty amazing reason. Once in a while you will spot deer roaming the grounds, so allowing dogs in the park would cause quite a disturbance.