The ambling trails on the west side of Goldstream Park offer lush views of a mixed forest. Amy Attas photo.

The ambling trails on the west side of Goldstream Park offer lush views of a mixed forest. Amy Attas photo.

Your go-to guide to Victoria’s trails

A hike for every occasion, all within 25 minutes of downtown

Climb every mountain… or stick to easier trails!

Victoria is a hiker’s paradise, with a variety of views from seaside to mountaintop and difficulty ranging from paved paths to steep climbs. Pick a trail that suits your goals, or crush them all over a season!

The big uphill sweat:

  • Mount Finlayson: You’ll start in lush old-growth and celebrate on the exposed summit with 360-degree views. The real question is how do you get down? The top third of the Mount Finlayson is rocky cliff-face — not exactly rock climbing, but you’ll have to use your hands to clamber up. It makes for a fun challenge on the ascent, but can be hard on your knees (and your nerves) on the way down. Past the summit on the back side of the mountain you’ll find a wider forest trail for a smoother descent — it makes the hike longer, but it’s worth it.
  • Mount Work: Take a long look at the map in the McKenzie Bight parking lot before you start — the first few hundred metres of the trail are confusing! Once you navigate those junctions it’s smooth sailing and gruelling climbing the rest of the way. The forested summit doesn’t offer any views, but you can watch ships in Saanich Inlet and see south down the Peninsula from clearings before and after the summit.
  • Jocelyn Hill: The nice thing about Jocelyn Hill is that you don’t have to start climbing right away — give your body time to warm up! Park at McKenzie Bight (as you would for Mount Work) but walk 200 metres further down the road to find the Jocelyn Hill trailhead. After your flat warm-up prepare to climb steep sections all the way to viewpoints at Squally Reach and Jocelyn Hill.
The ambling trails on the west side of Goldstream Park offer lush views of healthy old-growth forest. Amy Attas photo

All ages and abilities:

  • Dallas Road Waterfront Pathway: Watch the dogs and the kites in Clover Point Park, push your stroller on the paved oceanside path, or watch waves smash along the Ogden Point Breakwater. The perfect spot to soak up the rays on a sunny day!
  • Island View Beach: Take the gravel walkway for a leisurely stroll, or drop down on the beach to comb for treasure. When the wind is right, take a seat on a hunk of driftwood and watch the wind surfers tumbling in the waves.
  • Elk/Beaver Lake: The trail around the lake is wide and smooth, but at 10 kilometres you may not want to do the whole thing. Watch out for horses, and see if you can catch the Canadian Olympic Rowing team training on the lake!
A family takes a closer look at an otter, swimming past Island View Beach. Amy Attas photo

A family takes a closer look at an otter, swimming past Island View Beach. Amy Attas photo

Smaller climbs:

  • Horth Hill: Made famous by former royals Harry and Meghan when they visited in the winter of 2019-2020, the short, steep climb has a few cross-trails to give you options — duck out early, or do some zig-zagging for a longer hike.
  • Bear Hill: The Bear Hill Road access point has better parking, but you can also strike out from a trailhead on Central Saanich Road. It’s a short, steep climb to great views across the Strait to the mainland.
ȽÁU, WELṈEW̱/John Dean Provincial Park shows signs of 20th Century European settlement, and W’S’ANEC cultural use from ancient and modern times.

ȽÁU, WELṈEW̱/John Dean Provincial Park shows signs of 20th Century European settlement, and W’S’ANEC cultural use from ancient and modern times.

Choose your own adventure:

Sometimes you don’t know how far you want to hike before you set out. These parks offer networks of trails and loops so you can find a length that suits your tastes, without doubling back.

  • Goldstream’s West Side: Park at the campground and dive in on the Arbutus Loop or Prospector’s Trail. Traipse the rolling terrain through lush rainforest, check out a waterfall or look for salmon running in the autumn. The trail is never flat, but it’s not too gruelling either.
  • ȽÁU, WELṈEW̱/John Dean Provincial Park: Trails wind through old-growth cedar and rocky Garry oak groves, with an interesting mix of artifacts to keep things interesting. Find remnants of pioneer John Dean’s life on the mountain, as well as culturally modified trees from the many coastal Indigenous nations who continue to harvest cedar bark for art and clothing. Trails are well-signed, but expect to spend a bit of time staring at ‘you are here’ maps before you get your bearings. ȽÁU, WELṈEW̱ is best pronounced ‘tlay will nook.’
  • Pkols/Mount Douglas: Beach, forest or mountaintop: take your pick, because Pkols has all three. Opt for a wide path with room for bikes or a stroller, clamber up something steep, or just drive to the summit! Navigating can be challenging, so download the GPS-enabled map to follow the blue dot on your phone.

Hike to the Pkols/Mt. Doug summit and be rewarded of 360-degree views. Jen Blyth photo.

Hike to the Pkols/Mt. Doug summit and be rewarded of 360-degree views. Jen Blyth photo.

Plan your future adventures throughout the West Coast at westcoasttraveller.com and follow us on Facebook and Instagram @thewestcoasttraveller. And for the top West Coast Travel stories of the week delivered right to your inbox, sign up for our weekly Armchair Traveller newsletter!

British ColumbiaCanadahikingSaanichSaanich PeninsulaThings to dotravelvancouverislandVictoriawct-intro

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria Hospice staff Brianne Ohl, left, Angela Chalmers, right, and Sandi Ogloff, at back, show off their buttons that show a picture of them smiling. Staff has worked hard to maintain the connections with patients despite the barriers of PPE and rigid COVID-19 protocols. (Victoria Hospice Photo)
Hospice provides compassion in a time of COVID

Victoria Hospice 40th anniversary on pause during pandemic

Sidney has moved the remaining parts of its public consultation phase part of the Official Community Plan online. (Black Press Media File)
Sidney moves to an ‘all online engagement’ process for OCP

Staff says OCP charrette scheduled for mid-February

Look for the Random Act of Kindness Day colouring contest in Black Press issues Jan. 17. Physical entries can be mailed or dropped off to local Black Press offices. A scanned or photographed entry can be emailed to info@victoriafoundation.bc.ca. Winning entries can get a $50 gift card to Bolen Books and a $100 donation to a charity of their choice from the VIctoria Foundation. (Pixabay)
Colouring contest coming for Kindness Day

Kindness Day colouring contest in partnership with Victoria Foundation

(File photo)
‘Very lucky’: Two passengers, dog escape rollover crash in Saanich unscathed

Vehicle flips on Trans Canada Highway after hitting median, possibly due to ice, firefighter says

The large metal gate stolen from Muddy Valley Farm in rural Saanich on Jan. 18 reappeared less than a week later. (Muddy Valley Farm/Facebook)
Large metal gate stolen from Saanich farm makes mysterious reappearance

12-foot gate returned to Muddy Valley Farm less than a week after it was stolen

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive, all on the same floor

A long-term care worker receives the Pfizer vaccine at a clinic in Nanaimo earlier this month. (Island Health photo)
All Island seniors in long-term care will be vaccinated by the end of this weekend

Immunization of high-risk population will continue over the next two months

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

Comox Valley RCMP are looking for witnesses after the theft of a generator worth thousands of dollars. Photo supplied
RCMP asking Vancouver Island residents to watch for stolen generator

Vehicle may have been travelling on Highway 19

Most Read