Victoria has a huge selection of moderately challenging hiking trails. Goldstream Park has several trails that start easy and end challenging. They all take you to beautiful sights. East Sooke Park has over 50 kilometres of coastal and wilderness trails. Gowlland Tod has sharply contrasting ocean views to East Sooke Park. The Juan de Fuca Trail has a few moderately challenging trails and Avatar Grove is a look at a marvel of nature, the gnarliest tree in Canada.
Goldstream Provincial Park is an amazing and endlessly interesting park and shouldn't be missed on a trip to Victoria. Huge coastal rainforest trees everywhere. An impressively golden river, spectacular waterfall, an abandoned gold mine and train trestle 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. A tunnel under the highway takes you to an amazing creek valley that leads to the 47 metre high Niagara Falls. The falls are quite a sight to see, but the extraordinary pools created by the cascading water are a world of their own. The pools and falls are wrapped in the tangled, huge and wild forest, making them dark and mysterious. This hidden feeling world is alive with all sorts of forest life growing in bizarrely improbable places. Trees grow from fissures in the rock high above and massive, dead trees sprawl across the valley. The trail to Niagara Falls gets a little more challenging than the easy walking paths on the other side of the highway. There is a challenging trail that extends to the right(if you are facing the falls) and takes you up to the top of the falls. Well worth the 10 minutes of exertion, this trail then continues another 15 minutes to an amazing train trestle. The train tracks have fallen into disuse recently and the trestle serves more as a hiking destination than as a functional train crossing. The network of trails in Goldstream Park is surprisingly extensive and back down at Niagara Falls you will find another trail that runs parallel to the highway and this takes you to the an old goldmine and even more hiking trails.
Why should you hike to Goldstream Park's Niagara Falls?
Goldstream Park is a great look at a BC Coastal Rainforest. The air always feels slightly damp and cool, even on an hot summer day. The forest cover is so thick and deep and everywhere you look there is water. The park has well laid out trails that run along the beautiful "gold stream" and further down the park you can even walk to the ocean. The yearly salmon run in October/November is quite a sight to see and Mount Finlayson is a challenging, though short climb to great views. Niagara Falls is an amazing sight to see and the valley that they crash into is a wonderful hidden world that can bring out the kid in anyone.
East Sooke Regional Park is a convenient and easily accessible way to experience the wild, west coast of Vancouver Island. Weather blasted rocky cliffs, sandy beaches and deep coastal forest trails run throughout the park. Every few minutes along the coast you come to another startlingly desolate ocean vantage point. Everything about East Sooke Park is just great and should not be missed on a trip to Victoria anytime of the year. The sheer size of this park and number of trails, over 50 kilometres of them. The Coastal Trail, almost 12 kilometres long, stretches out linearly in an array of pocket beaches, rocky viewpoints and fantastically alive tide pools. It hugs the cliff, ducks into the forest and back out to another stunning ocean viewpoint. It does this over and over again. Dozens of times, and not once does it get boring. The Strait of Juan de Fuca and swirling mass of green and blue stretches out toward the Olympic Mountains in the United States. East Sooke Regional Park has three main access points and trailheads. This allows the huge park to be divided up into three manageable parts, each one with very different attributes. The Aylard Farm trailhead is the easy, family friendly and relaxing way to see East Sooke Park. A few short, 5 minute trails take you down to beaches, tidal pools and picnic areas. The Anderson Cove trailhead is popular with hikers tackling the more challenging trails to Babbington Hill and Mount Maguire. The Pike Road trailhead is the furthest west access to East Sooke Park with an easy, 1.5 kilometre trail leading down to Iron Mine Beach.
Why should you hike in East Sooke Park?
East Sooke Regional Park is a rugged and remote park that takes you along a beautiful stretch of Vancouver Island's coast. Numerous, well laid out trails interconnect several sights in the park, allowing for a staggering variety of hiking routes. For an easy family outing to a nice, sandy beach, East Sooke Park is perfect. For a challenging trail run or long coastline hike, this park is hard to beat.
Gowlland Tod Provincial Park is an amazing oceanside park that runs along the Saanich Inlet. Located near Buchart Gardens, just a 20 minute drive north of downtown Victoria. Gowlland Tod Park is popular for its beautiful ocean views of the inlet and sweeping mountain views from Mount Work. The trail to Mount Work is a popular hiking trail in Gowlland Tod and the most challenging at 5 kilometres, 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 civilization and the ocean views are sensational.
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.
Avatar Grove and Canada's gnarliest tree is an amazing thing to see and finding it is half the fun. The cute little town of Port Renfrew, known for it's logging, amazing fishing and home of one of the trailheads 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 of rescuing and protecting Avatar Forest. They discovered, named and drove it into the world's eyes. Avatar Grove is slowly growing into a hiking destination. Wooden stars and a boardwalk is being constructed and seems to grow month to month. There is even a viewing platform for the gnarly tree at an ideal location to take in the view. Though Avatar Grove and Canada's gnarliest tree is a couple hours drive from Victoria, the drive is very scenic. The various sections/trailheads of the Juan de Fuca Trail are all easy stops on the way to Avatar Grove. East Sooke Park, Witty's Lagoon, Fort Rodd Hill and many more sights are also located along the way.
Why should you go to Avatar Grove?
The beautiful drive to Avatar Grove is very scenic. Port Renfrew is a cute little town at the edge of the West Coast Trail. Botanical Beach and other Juan de Fuca Trail sections make easy pit stops along the way. Avatar Grove is a beautiful, wild and remote forest of giant trees and the now famous, giant gnarly tree that has to be seen to be appreciated. It is quite a marvellous tree to see up close. You will find yourself circling it over and over trying to grasp how bizarre and enormous it is.
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. Mystic Beach is an easy 2 kilometre trail from the China Beach trailhead. Botanical Beach has its own trailhead that starts just past Port Renfrew with a short 15 minute trail to the beaches there. Botanical beach has amazing tidal pools full of life to explore, while Mystic Beach has wonderful, sweeping ocean views. Mystic Beach has an incredible vertical cliff about 25 metres high that has clearly visible layers of ancient rock that bring out the inner geologist in anyone. The sandstone cliffs have been eroded is various interesting ways. You can even find small caves are various places along the beach. Mystic Falls cascade over this spectacular cliff, though often only in a trickle, yet strangely beautiful.
Why should you hike Mystic Falls and Botanical Beach?
Well laid out and organized sections of tough and beautiful wilderness hiking. You can hike a section of the massive 47 kilometre trail as a day-hike, 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.