There are dozens of easy hiking trails in and around Victoria and they all seem to take you to a beautiful lake or ocean view. Thetis Lake is hard to beat. Deep forest trails take you to one beautiful viewpoint after another. Witty's Lagoon has wilderness trails as well as a massive beach. Sooke Potholes is a stunning park to visit. Swirling channels of emerald green water through deep potholes and endless places to picnic or swim.
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. Parking is free most of the year, however May 1st to September 30th expect to pay for parking near the main beach and trailhead. Trails from Thetis Lake Regional Park extend to the neighbouring parks of Francis King Regional Park and Mill Hill Regional Park. Both are beautiful parks in their own right. Mill Hill commands unexpectedly beautiful views of Victoria and the ocean beyond. Francis King showcases some of the most impressively enormous trees in the Victoria area.
Why should you go to Thetis Lake?
Thetis Lake Regional Park is an incredible place to escape the world on a rainy day, and a perfect place to enjoy the world a sunny day. The sandy beach is alive with activity in the summer and the seemingly endless forest trails are so numerous as to always be relaxing and serene. The always varying terrain make Thetis Lake always interesting place to walk around. Rocky cliffs, small island chains and sunny forest clearings keep you always interested in what is around the next bend.
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. Witty's Lagoon is teeming with wildlife. Fresh water pours into the salt water lagoon enabling an astounding array of plant and animal life. Rock crabs, fish, clams, purple sea stars, seals and dozens of different types of birds can be reliably seen on every visit. With the wide variety of life at Witty's Lagoon there is an interpretive centre to help you identify it all. Free to visit and open everyday.
Why should you go to Witty's Lagoon Near Victoria?
Witty's Lagoon is a massive ocean-side park with a staggering number of plant and animals thriving in it. Beautiful forest, creeks and a waterfall pour into the sandy seashore and beautiful beach. Lots for kids to see and do and a wonderfully relaxing place to lay in the sun or stare out to sea.
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. As if the place couldn't get any more interesting, it does. There is a ruin (of sorts) of an unfinished convention centre, long abandoned, though magnificent in it size and complexity. It would have been quite a building, with its enormous fireplace and huge log beam construction. Now it remains as a curiosity, perched on the edge of a cliff, far above the Sooke Potholes.
Why should you go to Sooke Potholes?
These extraordinarily clear, circular and deep pools of water are each a world on their own. The park brings out the child explorer in everyone as you clamour over and around rock cliffs to reach the next pothole to swim in or just to see. The enormous chimney that remains from the abandoned convention centre still stands high above the potholes adjacent to the Galloping Goose Regional Trail makes the area look like a ghost town. The crumbling remains are fenced off now, but in the 1990's you could wander around the magnificent foundations of what would have been an amazing building had it been completed.
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
Why should you drive to Mount Doug in Victoria?
Mount Doug is a locals favourite. You can quickly drive to the summit viewpoint and look at the amazing views. Such an effortless way to see Victoria from above.
The network of trails around Elk & Beaver Lake are some of the most scenic in Victoria. From any of the convenient parking lots the trails immerse you into the wonderfully deep and dark forest around both lakes. 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 10 kilometre trail around the lakes 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. Concession stands are located at both ends of the park as well as water sport equipment rental shops at the Elk Lake end of the park. A connecting trail extends from the north end of the park leading to Bear Hill Regional Park. Bear Hill sits high above the surrounding area and has beautiful views of Saanich Peninsula as well as the more distant San Juan and Gulf Islands. On a clear day you can easily spot Mount Baker in the United States.
Why should you go to Elk/Beaver Lake Park?
Elk Lake is a hugely popular recreational lake. Jet skiing, rowing, windsurfing, swimming and quite a lot more are popular here. Beaver Lake is a bit quieter, hidden in the deep forest at the south end of Elk Lake. On a busy, summer day you will find dozens or even hundreds of people in the park at the nice, sandy beaches. On quieter days, you may find yourself alone, except for the flocks of birds that reside here.