Monday, March 4, 2024

19 scenic hikes on Vancouver Island that will take you to new heights

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The nice weather has finally arrived and while we can hike anytime on Vancouver Island, the clear skies and sunshine make it more worth while.

Whether you want to explore within Victoria or further up island, there are plenty of breathtaking places to capture the most stunning views and enjoy the great outdoors.

If you think you’re ready, lace up those hiking boots and check out these 19 places to take a hike (literally — not figuratively!):

East Sooke Park

East Sooke Park, located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, is a must-visit for outdoor enthusiasts. With over 50 kilometers of trails that wind along the rugged coastline, through lush forests, and up to rocky bluffs, the park offers an unforgettable hiking experience.

From stunning ocean views to the chance to spot a diverse array of wildlife in their natural habitat, such as seals, eagles, and deer, East Sooke Park has something for everyone looking to escape into nature.

(Maria Elena Cinco)

Francis King Park

Nestled in the heart of Saanich, Francis King Regional Park is a hidden gem for nature lovers. The park boasts a network of trails that weave through lush, old-growth forests, with towering trees and babbling brooks. Visitors can explore the park’s many scenic features, including the fascinating “Ant Hill Trail,” which showcases the industriousness of local ant colonies. With ample picnic areas and plenty of wildlife to see, Francis King Park is a perfect escape from city life.

(Victoriatrails.com)

Thetis Lake

Thetis Lake Regional Park is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts in Victoria. The park offers hiking trails, picnic areas, and stunning freshwater swimming opportunities. Visitors can choose to explore the shoreline of Upper and Lower Thetis Lake, or venture further afield on one of the park’s many trails.

From easy strolls to challenging hikes, Thetis Lake has something for every level of hiker. With plenty of wildlife to see and serene natural beauty to enjoy, Thetis Lake is a must-visit for nature lovers.

(Holly Stratton)

Elk Lake/Beaver Lake

Elk Lake and Beaver Lake are two of Victoria’s most popular lakes, located just a short drive from downtown. The two lakes are connected by a network of trails that weave through beautiful forests and offer stunning views of the water.

Visitors can enjoy a variety of activities, from swimming and sunbathing on sandy beaches to hiking, cycling, and picnicking. With ample parking and easy accessibility, Elk Lake and Beaver Lake are a great destination for families and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

Elk Lake / Beaver Lake (@tmvizer | Instagram)

Mount Douglas Park (PKOLS)

Mount Douglas Park (PKOLS), also known as Mount Tolmie’s sister mountain, is a popular hiking destination in the heart of Saanich. The summit offers stunning panoramic views of Victoria and the surrounding areas, including the Olympic Mountains in Washington State.

Visitors can choose from several trails that wind their way up to the top of the mountain, passing through forests and meadows filled with wildflowers. With ample parking and easy accessibility, Mount Douglas Park is a great place to get outside and enjoy the natural beauty of Vancouver Island.

(Jane Cabangunay)

Jocelyn Hill Trail

Jocelyn Hill Trail is a hidden gem in Sooke that offers a tranquil hiking experience with stunning views. The moderate hike takes visitors up a steep incline through a lush, forested area before opening up to breathtaking vistas of the Juan de Fuca Strait and Olympic Mountains.

The hike is about 5km long and takes approximately 2-3 hours to complete, making it a great option for a morning or afternoon hike. With its peaceful atmosphere and impressive views, Jocelyn Hill Trail is a must-visit for outdoor enthusiasts in the area.

(Mary Kozak)

Mount Prévost

Mount Prévost is a popular hiking and mountain biking destination located near Duncan. The 355-meter peak offers stunning panoramic views of the Cowichan Valley and the surrounding mountains.

Visitors can choose from several trails that wind their way up to the summit, passing through beautiful forests and rocky terrain. The hike is considered moderately difficult and takes about 3-4 hours to complete. With its impressive views and challenging terrain, Mount Prévost is a great option for outdoor enthusiasts looking for a rewarding adventure.

(Daphney Ducharme-Roy)

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.

The park covers nearly 49 hectares of hilltop landscape, with some of the oldest rock on Vancouver Island and gentle forest trails. Bear Hill Regional Park is known for its woodland trails, popular with hikers and horseback riders, and profusion of wildflowers in the spring.

(VancouverIsland.com)

Lone Tree

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.

(Brandi Bressan)

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.

Tod Inlet Trailhead

Tod Inlet Trailhead is a scenic hiking trail located in Gowlland Tod Provincial Park.

The moderate hike takes visitors through a lush forested area, with views of Tod Inlet and the surrounding coastal landscape. The trail is approximately 3km long and takes about 1-2 hours to complete.

Along the way, hikers can spot a variety of local wildlife, including birds, deer, and raccoons. With its natural beauty and peaceful atmosphere, Tod Inlet Trailhead is a great option for a relaxing hike in a picturesque setting.

(VisitorinVictoria.ca)

Lochside Trail

The Lochside Trail is a popular multi-use trail on Vancouver Island that runs from Victoria to Sidney.

The trail is mostly flat and easy to navigate, making it a great option for cycling, walking, or running. Along the way, visitors can enjoy views of pastoral farmland, urban neighborhoods, and the scenic coastline.

The trail is approximately 29km long and takes approximately 2-3 hours to complete. With its accessibility and beautiful scenery, the Lochside Trail is a great way to explore the island’s natural beauty while staying active.

(Connie Thompson)

Mount Quimper

Mount Quimper is a popular hiking trail located in the Sooke Hills Wilderness Regional Park Reserve. The trail is approximately 5.5km long and takes about 2-3 hours to complete, with a moderate level of difficulty.

Along the way, hikers can enjoy beautiful views of the surrounding forested area and the Salish Sea. The trailhead is easily accessible by car and has ample parking. With its peaceful atmosphere and stunning vistas, Mount Quimper is a great option for a day hike or a weekend adventure.

(Tiff Spencer)

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.

(Ethan Morneau/Victoria Buzz)

John Dean Provincial Park

John Dean Provincial Park is a popular hiking destination located near Sidney. The park features over 10km of hiking trails, including the challenging Mount Newton Loop Trail and the easier East View Trail.

The park is known for its diverse ecosystems, including old-growth forests, rocky outcrops, and meadows filled with wildflowers. Visitors can also spot local wildlife, including deer, eagles, and a variety of bird species. With its beautiful scenery and peaceful atmosphere, John Dean Provincial Park is a must-visit for outdoor enthusiasts in the area.

(ȽÁU,WELṈEW̱/John Dean Provincial Park – victoriatrails.com)

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.

(Brandi Bressan)

China Beach

China Beach is a scenic beach located along the west coast of Vancouver Island, near the Juan de Fuca Provincial Park.

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.

(Lisa Amorim)

Mill Hill

Mill Hill is a popular hiking destination located in Langford. The hill features a 1.5km trail that takes visitors to the top, offering panoramic views of the surrounding area, including Victoria, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the Olympic Mountains.

The trail is well-maintained and suitable for hikers of all skill levels. Mill Hill is also home to a variety of flora and fauna, making it a great spot for nature enthusiasts. With its stunning views and accessibility, Mill Hill is a must-visit for anyone looking for a quick outdoor adventure.

(Iamlangford.com)

Tower Point

Tower Point is a scenic hiking trail located in the Sooke Hills Wilderness Regional Park Reserve.

The trail is approximately 5km long and takes about 2-3 hours to complete, with a moderate level of difficulty. Along the way, hikers can enjoy stunning views of the surrounding forests and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Visitors can also spot local wildlife, including eagles, seals, and otters. With its natural beauty and peaceful atmosphere, Tower Point is a great option for a day hike or a weekend adventure for outdoor enthusiasts.

With so many incredible hiking trails on Vancouver Island, we asked Victoria Buzz Facebook fans for their recommendations. Have a look at the places they suggest and let us know your favourite place in the comment section below.

 

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Victoria Buzz Staffhttps://www.victoriabuzz.com
Your inside source for Greater Victoria happenings. Established in 2012.

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