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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 beautiful in any weather and any month of the year. Over 25 kilometres of trails zig-zag across Gowlland Tod Park connecting Goldstream Provincial Park to Brentwood Bay, home to the world renowned, Butchart Gardens. Gowlland Tod Provincial Park is home to hundreds of plant and animal species and its park status ensures that the area will be forever protected. Finlayson Arm is the fjord that the park overlooks and attracts scuba divers from around the world to its unique habitat.
Why should you go hiking in Gowlland Tod Provincial Park?
This massive, wild and beautiful park comes alive with wildflowers during the spring and early summer. The geographically protected area encourages species of marine life rare in other parts of the world. The size and location of the park make you feel as though you are far from civilisation.
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. There are a couple of lakeside clearings that are perfect for camping. South facing, and sunny all day. If you don't mind the tough hike in, you will be in paradise. 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. There are in fact, several ways to access Grass Lake. The recently rebranding of the area as the Sea to Sea Regional Park and the Sea to Sea Green Blue Belt have focussed interest in creating new and better trails in the area.
Why should you hike to Grass Lake in Sooke?
Grass Lake is in the back of beyond and you will will usually find no one there but you. Most Sooke locals have only vaguely heard of Grass Lake and its rare to talk to someone that has been there. The reason for this may be Sooke Potholes. They are very beautiful and very easy to get to. Grass lake is tricky to find and a bit of tough hike to get there. Once you do find it, however, you will have this hidden paradise to yourself.
Huge Douglas-fir trees and tremendous views are the highlights of this beautiful Provincial Park just 30 minutes from downtown Victoria, near Sidney. Located high up on Mount Newton near Victoria, John Dean Provincial Park looks across Saanich Peninsula, the Gulf Islands and the distant Cascade Mountains. 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. Over six kilometres of hiking trails run throughout the park and there are frequent trail signs and map-boards to guide you.
Why should you go hiking in John Dean Park?
The views from Mount Newton in John Dean Park are sensational. With plenty of trails to choose from you have a lot to explore and can cater your hike to how hard or easy you want.
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. With the various access points to the Juan de Fuca Trail, you can do several day trips and never walk the same section twice. All the sections are quite distinct from the rest. Some trails are wild and overgrown, others are focussed on amazing tidal pools, and still other sections are centred around wide, sweeping beaches. You can even find good surfing at Sombrio Beach.
Why should you hike the Juan de Fuca Trail near Victoria?
Well laid out and organized sections of wilderness hiking. You can hike the entire 47 kilometre length at once or over several days via the different trailheads. Each section is wonderfully different. Suspension bridges, waterfalls, deep wilderness, tidal pools and endless, beautiful ocean views make the Juan de Fuca Trail an amazing place to hike.
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 United States. Dogs are welcome in the park, however, bikes, camping and fires are not. In the springtime you will see spectacular swaths of wildflowers. The original, lone tree that gave the park its name is now just a weather-beaten tree stump. It was a 200 year-old Douglas fir. There is another lone tree a the summit, however, an Arbutus tree just a few metres from the original, lone tree, now dominates the hilltop. Lone Tree Hill Regional Park is just a short, 30 minute drive from downtown Victoria. Follow Douglas Street from downtown 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.
Why should you go to Lone Tree Hill in Victoria?
Lone Tree Hill Regional Park is a wonderful place to watch the world. On a clear day you can see the Olympic Mountains in the US and high above you you will occasionally spot bald eagles and turkey vultures circling.
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. Mill Hill is home to a small forest of Garry oak trees. The Capital Regional District is actively working on reviving the Garry oak ecosystem on Mill Hill. Less than 5% of the original Garry oak habitat of British Columbia is still in existence. Mill Hill is also notable as the traditional territory of the Songhees and Esquimalt people. Artifacts dating from 3000 years ago have been found in the area indicating long term habitation at the mouth of Millstream Creek. Mill Hill and Millstream Creek get their name from the Hudson's Bay Company sawmills located here in 1848.
Why should you go to Mill Hill Regional Park?
Mill Hill has some amazing views of Victoria from a hilltop that most have never heard about. The trail is easy and short and arrives at the hill summit with dozens of brightly coloured arbutus trees.