Goldstream Provincial Park - Victoria Hiking Trails
Goldstream Provincial Park and Mount Finlayson are beautiful places that are definitely a must-see on any visit 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. Several of the huge trees are estimated to be over 600 years old and you find some reaching to the sky and others laying dramatically along the forest floor.
Hiking trails extend all over the park, but the Mount Finlayson trail takes you up above the forest to beautiful views of Victoria that locals cherish. 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 by foot from the Goldstream Park parking lot and it's a short hike to a summit towering over Victoria. Don't let the relatively short trail fool you into thinking the trail is easy. The steep and challenging, final section arrives at one of the more breathtaking vantage points over Victoria... and the ocean beyond.
As if it Goldstream Park couldn't get any better it does. Across the highway a trail leads to the mighty 47 metre high Niagara Falls. Getting across the highway to Niagara Falls is half the fun. An ancient tunnel under the highway takes you to the falls. Finding this tunnel is easy, though it is not marked on Goldstream Park mapboards, as it is not officially for hikers. It is a tunnel to channel water under the highway, however, it is an amazing and beautiful way to get to the falls and for the most part, the only way.
Parking along the side of the highway is only feasible if you are driving from the north, and even then, it requires an abrupt and unmarked parking area. The best option, by far, is to park at the main parking area for Goldstream Park and walking to the falls and train trestle via the tunnel. With so much to see at Goldstream Park it is no wonder why it is so popular and so generously equipped with picnic tables. There is also a wonderful visitor centre, concession stand and dozens of picnic tables. Everywhere you look you will find mapboards and informative, interpretive signs indicating what to see.
It is hard to say what the most amazing thing to see in Goldstream Park is. Most people think of the extraordinary salmon run that happens here every year in October. Thousands of salmon rush up the shallow stream and the park has several excellent viewing areas to see the chaos. For others, Goldstream Park is wonderful for the enormous trees and wild, deep forest. It is an easy look into a prehistoric feeling forest of enormous giants reaching to the sky or sprawled across the forest floor. Still others love it for the challenging, yet short hike to the summit of Mount Finlayson to take in the towering views over Victoria. Niagara Falls, and the deep and dark, cavernous route to get to it, make it the highlight for most on any visit to the park. Niagara Falls flows through a narrow channel 47 metres up and crashed straight down into a narrow valley enclosed from above by a tangle of trees. There is one feature of Goldstream Park that seems to be the favourite over all the others. The amazing train trestle up beyond Niagara Falls. A few hundred metres of very steep hiking gets you to this breathtaking monument. Though in regular use up until a few years ago, this stunning bridge across an enormous valley is a sight to see.
Whether you are pacing across it looking down through the gaps or marvelling at the construction from below, exploring this wonderful relic of Victoria's history is well worth the hike.
Goldstream Provincial Park - Directions
Goldstream Provincial Park is located 16 kilometres northwest of Victoria just off Trans Canada Hwy (Hwy #1). There are separate entrances for the main campground, group campsite and day use area. Most visitors park at the main parking area on the right side of the highway if driving from Victoria. From this parking area you can walk to see the salmon spawning(in the fall), to Niagara Falls and the train trestle further along. In the opposite direction from the parking area you can walk to the trailhead to Mount Finlayson.
More Trails Near Goldstream Provincial Park
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 the neighbouring 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.