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: 7 km (4.2 miles).
Altitude Gain: About 200 meters (650 feet)
Difficulty: Moderate (we've had an 80 year old do it - Kenny from Tasmania, an amazing man - so you can too!)
Required Equipment: Hiking boots or good hiking/running shoes (no sandals please). Jacket and layers depending on weather.
A great activity for families and couples as this is the best short hike in the Victoria area - the views are incredibly spectacular! 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 online booking calendar). One of the great things about an afternoon departure is there aren't many people up there, so we often have the whole place to ourselves.
About a 30 minute drive from downtown, we access a lesser known hiking trail that leads into Gowlland Tod Provincial Park. After a short climb, 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 - totally safe and a lot of fun (not mandatory though!). 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 1,400 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!
But there's more - a short walk gets us to the only view of Mount Baker in the park (a spectacular 3,300 meter/11,000 foot active volcano). In another 5 minutes we get views northeast towards Vancouver - the fjord opens up into the Saanich Inlet and you will see many of the Gulf Islands - with the backdrop of the BC Coastal Mountains close to Whistler that extend all the way up the Fraser Valley.
If you have a larger group, we still might be able to take you! Just email us with your numbers and preferred date.