Although you can hike year round on Vancouver Island, the warmer weather means it’s perfect hiking season, especially for beginners. 

If you are new to hiking and looking for some  peaks to explore, there are plenty of places in and around Victoria to get started.

If you think you’re ready, lace up those hiking boots and check out these 16 beginner hikes in around Victoria that will take you to new heights:

Saanich

Barret Montfor Trail Loop

The Barret Montfor Loop is a forested all skill levels trail perfect for walking and jogging. Dogs are permitted but they must remain leashed at all times. 

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Time: 1.5 hours
  • Distance: 5 km
  • Elevation: 144 metres

Bear Hill

Bear Hill Hiking Trail provides a beautiful view of North Saanich and the Haro Strait. Dogs are permitted but they must remain leashed at all times. 

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Time: 1 Hour
  • Distance: 1.5 km
  • Elevation: 130 metres

John Dean Provincial Park

John Dean Provincial Park features scenic viewpoints and several hiking trails through old-growth Douglas Fir and Garry Oak trees. Dogs are permitted but they must remain leashed at all times. 

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Distance: 4 km
  • Elevation:  70 metres

Mount Douglas

Mount Douglas features a network of trails leading to a 360-degree view which includes the Haro Strait, Saanich and downtown Victoria. Dogs are permitted but they must remain leashed at all times. Dogs are not permitted on the beach or playground at the lower beach parking lot. 

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Time: 1.5 hours
  • Distance: 4 km
  • Elevation: 205 m

Mount Tolmie

Mount Tolmie, located near the University of Victoria, is a perfect beginner hike if you are looking for a 360-degree view of Victoria in a quick half hour. Dogs are permitted but they must remain under control at all times. 

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Time: 0.5 hours
  • Distance: 1.2 km
  • Elevation: 45 metres

Highlands

Francis/ King Regional Park

Francis/King Regional Park is a network of trails through old growth trees and west coast rainforest. Learn about the plans and wildlife in the region by following interpretive signs throughout the region which include educational information. Dogs must remain leashed at all times on the Elsie King Trail. On all other trails in Francis / King Regional Park, dogs must be under control at all times

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Distance: 5.3 km
  • Elevation: 50 metres

Lone Tree Hill

The top of Lone Tree Hill offers a 360 degree view of the Highlands region, Gowlland Tod Provincial Park and even as far south and east as the Strait of Juan De Fuca. The trail is defined but users are cautioned it does get steep. Dogs are permitted on the trail but are to be kept under control at all times. 

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Distance: 1.6 km
  • Elevation: 100 m

Mill Hill Regional Park Loop

Although the Mill Hill Hiking trail is steep, it offers a few scenic, 360-degree lookouts to choose from when you reach the top! Dogs are permitted on the trail but are to be kept under control at all times. 

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Time: 1.5 hours
  • Distance: 2 km
  • Elevation: 130 metres

Goldstream 

Upper Goldstream Falls

Upper Goldstream Falls is a fairly easy trail with minimal elevation change. However, be cautious on the long set of stairs required to go down to the waterfall (and back up). Dogs are permitted but they must remain leashed at all times in Goldstream Park. Dogs are not permitted on beach areas or in streams due to the the risk of damaging sensitive salmon spawning environments.

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Time: 1.5 hours
  • Distance: 3 km
  • Elevation: 60 metres

Juan De Fuca

China Beach

The trail to China Beach is well-maintained with a gentle descent through the forest to the sandy beach. The beach offers views across the Strait toward Washington. Dogs are permitted on the trail to China Beach and on the beach area itself but must remain leashed. 

  • Difficulty: Easy  
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Distance: 2 km
  • Elevation: 70 metres

Mystic Beach

If you’re looking for a hike to one of Vancouver Island’s most scenic beaches, Mystic Beach is the one for you. Follow the trail through the forest, across a bridge and down a staircase carved out of a tree trunk to arrive to the ‘mystic’ location. Trail is not suitable for dogs due to potential conflicts with local wildlife.

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Distance: 4 km
  • Elevation: 65 metres

Gowlland Tod Provincial Park

Holmes Peak

Holmes Peak, located in Gowlland Tod Provincial Park, provides views of the Saanich Arm. Although the trail is steep, it is well defined and easy to follow. Dogs are permitted in the provincial park but must be kept on a leash and under control at all times. Be extra cautious with your animal as the park is home to wildlife, including several cougar sightings annually.

  • Difficulty: Easy 
  • Time: 1-3 hours (depending on fitness level)
  • Distance: 2.2 km
  • Elevation: 115 metres

McKenzie Bight Trail Loop

This easy loop trail leads to McKenzie Bight, a scenic beach area located along the eastern shore of Saanich Arm. Be extra cautious with your animal as the park is home to wildlife, including several cougar sightings annually.

  • Difficulty: Easy 
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Distance: 3.1 km
  • Elevation: 154 metres

Tod Inlet Trail

The hike to Tod Inlet features a fairly gradual hill and is easily accessible for beginners. The hike passes through lush forest before arriving at the scenic inlet. Due to sensitive ecological and water birds in the area, dogs must be kept on a leash and under control at all times. 

  • Difficulty: Easy 
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Distance: 2.6 km
  • Elevation: 44 metres

Cowichan Valley

Old Baldy Mountain 

The Old Baldy mountain trail is an out and back trail in the Cowichan Valley. The peak offers a scenic view of Shawnigan Lake and a popular swing. Beginners are recommended to use the entrance to the left with the red gate (on Old Baldy Mountain Road) as the entrance on the right is a very steep gravel incline and mountain climb. Dogs are permitted but must be kept under control at all times. 

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Distance: 2.4 km
  • Elevation: 208 metres

Stoney Hill Trail Loop

The Stoney Hill trail offers peak views of the Sansum Narrows on this easy, beginner friendly hike. Dogs are permitted but must remain leashed and under control at all times. 

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Distance: 3.7 km
  • Elevation: 115 metres

Before embarking on your journey, plan ahead and pay attention to weather forecasts. During your hike, remain on trail, respect the surrounding wildlife and stay safe.

Do you have a favourite hike we left off the list? Let us know in the comment section below!

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