Goldstream Park and Mount Finlayson Hiking Trails
A 47 metre waterfall, a massive train trestle, enormous trees and a beautiful mountain hike with amazing views make Goldstream Park a wonderful place
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.
As if it Goldstream Park couldn't get any better it does. Another trail leads to the mighty 47 metre high Niagra Falls. With so much to see at Goldstream Park it is no wonder why it is so popular and so generously equipped with picnic tables.
Sombrio Beach on the Juan de Fuca Trail
Wildly beautiful rainforest, secluded beach, and phenomenal Canadian surfing
The Juan de Fuca Trail is an incredible part of Vancouver Island. 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 Botanical Beach 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.
Sombrio Beach is a very unique part of the Juan de Fuca Trail as it has good surfing and has a year round, though small following of surfers that frequent the area. This is extraordinary as you will walk down to Sombrio Beach in the most cold, wet and miserable weather and find, far out in the crashing waves some dark shapes. Surfers in black, full wetsuits, head to toe, surfing this wild BC coast.
Fort Rodd Hill Historic Park and Lighthouse Trails
Amazingly original coastal fortifications once guarding BC's capital, now a remarkably beautiful look into the past threats of war
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 here.
The Fort Rodd Hill Historic Park, Lighthouse and Trails are located just 25 minutes from downtown Victoria.
Mill Hill - Short Hiking Trails With Great Views
Seldom hiked little secret of the Western Communities
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.
Mill Hill is so hidden that it is rare to run into anyone else on your hike. So you have the beautiful forest of Douglas Firs and Garry Oaks to yourself. There is even a peak finder at the summit which points to all the visible peaks in the distance with elevations and distances to where you stand.
Mill Hill is another example of why Victoria is such an extraordinary place. So much care and thought has gone into such a relatively quiet place. Though Mill Hill and Thetis Lake Park are quickly increasing in popularity as trail running routes they seem forever to remain wild and beautiful.
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.
West Coast Trail Shipwrecks
The amazingly brutal history of shipwrecks make this trail a world class hiking marvel
Imagine you are the captain of a ship in a storm, approaching the Strait of Juan de Fuca in 1906, with your 1906 maps and navigational aids, unfamiliar with this coastline and far off course.
Expecting at any moment to see the calm, sheltering waters of the Juan de Fuca strait, only to see the jagged teeth of the Vancouver Island, an instant before they rip into your ship. Your ship is 60 miles north of where you though you were.
In the next few hours your ship will be pounded to death by the relentless waves.
Now, over a century later, you stumble along the beach halfway along the West Coast Trail and nearly trip over one of the anchors the Skagit left after it disintegrated in 1906.
This is why the West Coast Trail is so spectacular. Sure it is brutally challenging, wild and breathtaking at every turn....
Avatar Grove and Canada's Gnarliest Tree
A beautiful freak of nature and surely the most extraordinary giant cedar in the world
The cute little town of Port Renfrew, know for it's logging, amazing fishing and home of one of the trail-heads to the world renowned West Coast Trail, is now reworking it's image to include this fantastic wonder.
Dubbed Canada's gnarliest tree this mammoth cedar will surely leap from the unknown to the feature of millions of tourist photos in the coming days and years.
Avatar Grove is a 50 hectare area of old growth forest it has shot to prominence in this part of the world and groups everywhere you look are embracing it as something to be saved, admired and loved. Not cut into lumber.
The Victoria based Ancient Forest Alliance is at the forefront Avatar Forest. They discovered, named and drove it into the world's eyes....
The West Coast Trail
One of the best hikes in the world running along the wild and brutal west coast of Vancouver Island
The West Coast Trail is incredible. Everything about it is amazing. From it's wildly, incomprehensibly enormous trees to it's endless jaw dropping views. And it's tough. Very tough. It is a trail that shouldn't exist. Trails always form out of the easiest route worn down over the years.
This trail was formed out of necessity. And the route is the only route. Hemmed in by steep cliffs on one side and the ocean on the other, the route evolved where it shouldn't have. Always wet, always up and down, thousands of creeks and canyons. Even with all the construction of suspension bridges and ladders it's brutal. And yearly, winter storms blast down impossibly enormous trees.
The West Coast Trail, originally called the Dominion Life Saving Trail was built out of necessity because of the enormous number of shipwrecks that gave this stretch of ocean from Tofino to Victoria the brutal name, The Graveyard of the Pacific...