As Victorians, it’s easy to take our picturesque surroundings for granted. We’ve got the beautiful inner harbour, the endlessly scenic Dallas Road, and one and a half great-looking bridges.
But away from the downtown core, we’ve also got some wonderful hikes that let you take in the city from afar.
If you’re a local, chances are you’ve already heard of and/or experienced these views, but with the sun shining and summer beckoning, it’s definitely worth re-visiting these spots or checking them out for the first time!
Here are 5 breathtaking Victoria views worth hiking to (in no particular order):
5 – Mount Tolmie
Okay, we’re starting off easy. This hike is short and sweet, and the peak is often full of people who took the easy route (i.e. driving), but the view is still undeniably great.
Catching the sunset from what was once the site of a roller coaster with some friends is a peak Victoria (pun intended) experience that shouldn’t be missed. Just make sure a tour bus doesn’t block your view.
4 – Mount Douglas Park
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Locals affectionately refer to this Saanich hiking spot as Mt Doug, and although you can reach the summit in less than an hour (or even quicker if you’re on wheels 🚗) its myriad trails, lookout points, and the beach at its base can easily keep you exercising and entertained for the best part of a day.
Whether you enjoy a smooth seat on a branch of the single arbutus tree atop “Little Mount Doug,” trek all the way to the concrete-structure viewpoint at the top or find the mysterious and spooky cave at a certain trailhead, this hike offers plenty of great outdoor options.
2 – Thetis Lake
Locals looking to cool off will know all about the crowded confines of Thetis Lake, but for those of us looking for heights larger than those used to jump into the water, there are trails all around the popular Langford attraction, including ones up Scafe Hill.
According to Victoriatrails.com, “The hike to Scafe Hill from Thetis Lake passes both Upper and Lower Thetis Lake, through several scenic, forested backcountry trails before climbing up the steep, southern slope of Scafe Hill to an incredible view.”
However, that route can prove difficult and time-consuming, so for those looking for an easier option, check out the route from Westoby Road.
Both options have some steep sections, so be careful how you ascend, but the views at the top promise to be worth every step.
1 – Goldstream Provincial Park
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Just 17 kilometers from downtown Victoria, Goldstream Provincial Park – and its centrepiece, Mount Finlayson – is more of a challenge to get to than Mt Doug or Tolmie, but its mix of old-growth forest, waterfalls, and awesome views will give you plenty to write home (i.e. Instagram) about.
“Mt Fin” also provides a longer, more strenuous hike, but also a markedly different vantage point than its two popular mountain neighbours.
Currently holding the #1 spot on Tripadvisor for things to do in Langford, Mt Finlayson, along with the Goldstream trestle, Visitor Centre, and yearly salmon-spawning (October-December) present several days worth of activities that you’ll be hard-pressed to fit into just one visit.
So there you have it, five of the best views to hike to in-and-around Victoria! We know we’ve probably missed one or two (keep in mind that we were trying to keep our list of hikes as close to town as possible) but feel free to let us know which spots should be on our next list in the comments!