Imagine yourself above a majestic fjord with stunning views of the Gowlland Range, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Olympic Mountains.
Round Trip Hiking Distance: 6.5 km (3.8 miles).
Altitude Gain: About 200 meters (650 feet)
Required Equipment: Hiking boots or good hiking/running shoes (no sandals please). Jacket and layers depending on weather.
In spring and summer, pick up at your hotel is 3 p.m. - in fall and winter, the departure time depends on when the sun sets (see our booking calendar for times). In our opinion, this is the best short hike in the Victoria area as the views are so spectacular! In the afternoon, there's not many people around so we often have the whole place to ourselves. We've had a 3 year old and a 78 year old hike it so you can do it too.
About a 30 minute drive from downtown, we access a lesser known hiking trail that leads into Gowlland Tod Provincial Park. After a climb of about 20 minutes, the hike levels off and we get our first tasty views of Finlayson Arm, the beautiful fjord that cuts deep into Vancouver Island near Victoria. From here the hike rises gradually as we walk among Douglas Fir and Arbutus trees. If there's a little wind, we will often be joined by red tailed hawks, turkey vultures, and maybe bald eagles... we might even see whales or dall porpoises! We’ll add in a dash of Vancouver Island’s fascinating history as we go.
The views just get better along the way - we take a short hike from the main trail onto a cool rock platform. This is where our photographer, Mark, will "freeze" you in mid air - our "almost famous" jump shot (see the gallery)! Once we've hiked back to the main trail, a final ascent takes us to the top! We'll be at 400 meters or about 1350 feet above sea level. Depending on weather, you will see stunning vistas of Finlayson Arm, the small mountains in the Gowlland Range, the Juan De Fuca Strait, and the Olympic Mountains in Washington State. Remember to breathe!