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Forest Retreat Guidebook

Shena

Forest Retreat Guidebook

Sightseeing
A lovely place for a walk and picnic and especially fun to watch the Salmon spawning
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Goldstream Provincial Park
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A lovely place for a walk and picnic and especially fun to watch the Salmon spawning
Make sure you go at low tide otherwise there's no beach. A great place to play in the warm tide pools, bask in the sun and have a beach day.
Witty's Lagoon Regional Park - Metchosin Road Parking Lot
Make sure you go at low tide otherwise there's no beach. A great place to play in the warm tide pools, bask in the sun and have a beach day.
A beautiful white sand beach with gorgeous views of the Olympic Mountains.
weir Beach
5191 William Head Rd
A beautiful white sand beach with gorgeous views of the Olympic Mountains.
A quieter option to Witty's lagoon. Great beach for a stroll or picnic though no public washroom here.
Albert Head Lagoon Regional Park
A quieter option to Witty's lagoon. Great beach for a stroll or picnic though no public washroom here.
Great sandy beach and pristine water for swimming, kayaking, paddleboarding and fishing. The lake is stocked with trout and bass every spring. Scenic lakeside trails great for a rugged walk, run, or mountain bike ride
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Thetis Lake Regional Park
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Great sandy beach and pristine water for swimming, kayaking, paddleboarding and fishing. The lake is stocked with trout and bass every spring. Scenic lakeside trails great for a rugged walk, run, or mountain bike ride
Lovely beach for a walk or picnic. Bathroom facilities available. The lagoon is also an important stopover for migratory birds, so keep an eye out for Blue Herons, soaring eagles and all sorts of aerial artists.
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Esquimalt Lagoon
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Lovely beach for a walk or picnic. Bathroom facilities available. The lagoon is also an important stopover for migratory birds, so keep an eye out for Blue Herons, soaring eagles and all sorts of aerial artists.
Sooke Potholes Provincial Park is a popular destination along the Sooke River with a unique rock formation that was formed from the last ice-age millions of years ago. The park area has several trails along the river, close to the shoreline and others that are high above the rock pools. There isn't a single route to take like other hiking trails but there are several short trails that lead to viewpoints and to the river areas. Parking in either lot #1 or #2 are both equally good as you will need to walk between both lots and there will be some uphill and downhill sections but you will also need to return to your vehicle up the same route you walked down, for example. Some of the trails can be steep, including some rock stairs down to a viewpoint that are very steep. Also, caution should be used when walking out onto any rocks near the river as the rocks are often slippery from being a wet and the risk of falling and injury yourself is always possible. For this description, we start from parking lot #2, the higher of the two parking lots. Walk to the area of the parking lot where you drove in and follow the gravel path next to the road as it heads downhill. Keep following the path until it meets a junction and go right down the steep hill. Near the bottom, the trail turns into rock stairs that are very steep as you make your way to the bottom to see he view of the water cascading into the canyon below. After seeing the view, walk back up the stairs and the steep trail to the junction and this time go right, following the trail to a clearing by a Visitor Centre where there are additional views into the canyon. From this point, you can decide whether to walk down towards parking lot #1, where some trails access the river area, or return to parking lot #2. If you decide to walk down to parking lot #1, there are only partial trails to get there and you will have to walk on the side of a section of road. To do so, follow the trail on the far end of the visitor centre as it heads downhill but ends at the road. Walk down the side road, being careful to stay close to the side and avoid the vehicles driving through. Watch for a trail to the right and walk down the rock steps, continuing as it heads down into the forest.
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Sooke Potholes Provincial Park
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Sooke Potholes Provincial Park is a popular destination along the Sooke River with a unique rock formation that was formed from the last ice-age millions of years ago. The park area has several trails along the river, close to the shoreline and others that are high above the rock pools. There isn't a single route to take like other hiking trails but there are several short trails that lead to viewpoints and to the river areas. Parking in either lot #1 or #2 are both equally good as you will need to walk between both lots and there will be some uphill and downhill sections but you will also need to return to your vehicle up the same route you walked down, for example. Some of the trails can be steep, including some rock stairs down to a viewpoint that are very steep. Also, caution should be used when walking out onto any rocks near the river as the rocks are often slippery from being a wet and the risk of falling and injury yourself is always possible. For this description, we start from parking lot #2, the higher of the two parking lots. Walk to the area of the parking lot where you drove in and follow the gravel path next to the road as it heads downhill. Keep following the path until it meets a junction and go right down the steep hill. Near the bottom, the trail turns into rock stairs that are very steep as you make your way to the bottom to see he view of the water cascading into the canyon below. After seeing the view, walk back up the stairs and the steep trail to the junction and this time go right, following the trail to a clearing by a Visitor Centre where there are additional views into the canyon. From this point, you can decide whether to walk down towards parking lot #1, where some trails access the river area, or return to parking lot #2. If you decide to walk down to parking lot #1, there are only partial trails to get there and you will have to walk on the side of a section of road. To do so, follow the trail on the far end of the visitor centre as it heads downhill but ends at the road. Walk down the side road, being careful to stay close to the side and avoid the vehicles driving through. Watch for a trail to the right and walk down the rock steps, continuing as it heads down into the forest.
A beautiful spot about 25 minutes away. Lovely for hiking around and swimming. There is a nice sandy beach with facilities as well as some private little swim launch spots around the lake.
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Matheson Lake Regional Park
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A beautiful spot about 25 minutes away. Lovely for hiking around and swimming. There is a nice sandy beach with facilities as well as some private little swim launch spots around the lake.
A former west coast artillery fortress that was on active duty from 1895 to 1956, Fort Rodd Hill still houses many original early 19th century buildings. Take a guided walking tour to learn about the history of the site and pay a visit to Fisgard Lighthouse - the oldest lighthouse on Western Canada's coastline.
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Fisgard Lighthouse
603 Fort Rodd Hill Road
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A former west coast artillery fortress that was on active duty from 1895 to 1956, Fort Rodd Hill still houses many original early 19th century buildings. Take a guided walking tour to learn about the history of the site and pay a visit to Fisgard Lighthouse - the oldest lighthouse on Western Canada's coastline.
Possibly one of the most scenic attractions in all of Victoria is Hatley Park National Historic Site, located at Royal Roads University. It's one of the few Edwardian estates in Canada that still has its key structural elements intact. Here, you'll explore the beautiful Hatley Castle and surrounding gardens.
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Hatley Park National Historic Site
2005 SOOKE RD
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Possibly one of the most scenic attractions in all of Victoria is Hatley Park National Historic Site, located at Royal Roads University. It's one of the few Edwardian estates in Canada that still has its key structural elements intact. Here, you'll explore the beautiful Hatley Castle and surrounding gardens.
Beacon Hill Park is a 75 ha park located along the shore of Juan de Fuca Strait in Victoria, British Columbia. The park is popular both with tourists and locals, and contains a number of amenities including woodland and shoreline trails, two playgrounds, a waterpark, playing fields, a petting zoo, tennis courts, many ponds, and landscaped gardens. t provides scenic vistas of the Strait and the Olympic Mountains of Washington. Although much of the park has been landscaped into gardens and playing fields, and populated with various structures, a great deal of the native flora has been preserved.
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Beacon Hill Park
100 Cook St
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Beacon Hill Park is a 75 ha park located along the shore of Juan de Fuca Strait in Victoria, British Columbia. The park is popular both with tourists and locals, and contains a number of amenities including woodland and shoreline trails, two playgrounds, a waterpark, playing fields, a petting zoo, tennis courts, many ponds, and landscaped gardens. t provides scenic vistas of the Strait and the Olympic Mountains of Washington. Although much of the park has been landscaped into gardens and playing fields, and populated with various structures, a great deal of the native flora has been preserved.
Just around the corner from Victoria's Inner Harbour, Fisherman's Wharf is a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered. This unique marine destination offers food kiosks, unique shops and eco-tour adventures in the heart of the working harbour. Wander down the docks with your lunch, buy seafood fresh off the boat, see moored pleasure vessels and float homes, and watch as fishing vessels unload their ware
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Fisherman's Wharf Park
12 Erie St
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Just around the corner from Victoria's Inner Harbour, Fisherman's Wharf is a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered. This unique marine destination offers food kiosks, unique shops and eco-tour adventures in the heart of the working harbour. Wander down the docks with your lunch, buy seafood fresh off the boat, see moored pleasure vessels and float homes, and watch as fishing vessels unload their ware
Take a nice walk, or go for a jog on this iconic pier, watch the cruise ships from the pier, on saturdays during the summer time, vintage cars drive in to meet and exchange stories, you can enjoy this all for free,..beautiful sunsets to boot! a great place all year round!
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Ogden Point Sundial
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Take a nice walk, or go for a jog on this iconic pier, watch the cruise ships from the pier, on saturdays during the summer time, vintage cars drive in to meet and exchange stories, you can enjoy this all for free,..beautiful sunsets to boot! a great place all year round!
Home to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, the Parliament Buildings are open to the public from 8:30am to 4:30pm Mondays to Fridays year-round. They are open to the public on weekends from the 3rd weekend in May to the first weekend in September. We offer scheduled guided tours and self-guided tour booklets.
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Legislative Assembly of British Columbia
501 Belleville St
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Home to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, the Parliament Buildings are open to the public from 8:30am to 4:30pm Mondays to Fridays year-round. They are open to the public on weekends from the 3rd weekend in May to the first weekend in September. We offer scheduled guided tours and self-guided tour booklets.
This scenic patch of waterfront is the location of Victoria's many tourist attractions, recreational activities, restaurants and shopping. For a special treat, have afternoon tea at the grand Empress Hotel or board a ferry for a harbor tour.
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Inner Harbour Centre
950 Wharf St
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This scenic patch of waterfront is the location of Victoria's many tourist attractions, recreational activities, restaurants and shopping. For a special treat, have afternoon tea at the grand Empress Hotel or board a ferry for a harbor tour.
Completed in 1890, Craigdarroch is a stately home built by the pioneering couple Robert and Joan Dunsmuir, who at the time of its construction were the wealthiest people in British Columbia. Called a 'castle' due to its imposing exterior, the luxurious interior has been restored to look as though the visitor is a guest of Mrs. Dunsmuir during the 1890s. It features beautiful woodwork, unique Victorian artifacts, and an impressive collection of original stained glass, all within a pleasant walk from downtown Victoria.
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Craigdarroch Castle
1050 Joan Crescent
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Completed in 1890, Craigdarroch is a stately home built by the pioneering couple Robert and Joan Dunsmuir, who at the time of its construction were the wealthiest people in British Columbia. Called a 'castle' due to its imposing exterior, the luxurious interior has been restored to look as though the visitor is a guest of Mrs. Dunsmuir during the 1890s. It features beautiful woodwork, unique Victorian artifacts, and an impressive collection of original stained glass, all within a pleasant walk from downtown Victoria.
Chinatown Walks run year-round and are an ideal way to explore Canada’s oldest Chinatown. During our 90 minutes together we will discuss history, culture, food and so much more. Chinatown is one of Victoria’s must-see attractions. Be sure not to miss Fan Tan and Dragon Alley's!
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Chinatown
500 Fisgard St
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Chinatown Walks run year-round and are an ideal way to explore Canada’s oldest Chinatown. During our 90 minutes together we will discuss history, culture, food and so much more. Chinatown is one of Victoria’s must-see attractions. Be sure not to miss Fan Tan and Dragon Alley's!
Activities
With a combination of adrenaline-inducing ziplines and climbing elements that weave through the trees, WildPlay Element Parks offer thrilling fun in a safe environment. Take your family on a progressively challenging adventure (there are several ‘outs' along the way if you ever feel like you've had enough) as you climb through the treetops on a series of rope courses. Don't worry - you'll be securely harnessed in!
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Wildplay Element Parks West Shore Victoria
1767 Island Highway
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With a combination of adrenaline-inducing ziplines and climbing elements that weave through the trees, WildPlay Element Parks offer thrilling fun in a safe environment. Take your family on a progressively challenging adventure (there are several ‘outs' along the way if you ever feel like you've had enough) as you climb through the treetops on a series of rope courses. Don't worry - you'll be securely harnessed in!
Vancouver Island's only canopy zip-line tour
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Adrena LINE Zipline Adventure Tours
5128 Sooke Road
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Vancouver Island's only canopy zip-line tour
New facility with a great pool and wave pool and fitness center
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YMCA-YWCA
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New facility with a great pool and wave pool and fitness center
Swimming, ice skating, playgrounds, library
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Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre
1767 Island Hwy
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Swimming, ice skating, playgrounds, library
Sooke Whale Watching
6585 Sooke Rd
World class golfing, a wonderful spa, mountain bike rentals, a fitness center with a lovely outdoor pool and poolside food and beverage service, and restaurants
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The Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort & Spa, Victoria
1999 Country Club Way
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World class golfing, a wonderful spa, mountain bike rentals, a fitness center with a lovely outdoor pool and poolside food and beverage service, and restaurants
Local smaller golf course
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Highland Pacific Golf
450 Creed Road
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Local smaller golf course
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Royal Colwood Golf Club
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Millstream Disc Golf Course
1858-1922 Millstream Road
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Olympic View Golf Club
643 Latoria Road
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Catch a rugby game at Rugby Canada's home stadium, a junior football game at the Westhills Stadium or a hockey game at the indoor arena. Fun for the whole family including mini golf, floor hockey, bowling, ice arena, playzone and waterpark for toddlers and a sports grill
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City Centre Park
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Catch a rugby game at Rugby Canada's home stadium, a junior football game at the Westhills Stadium or a hockey game at the indoor arena. Fun for the whole family including mini golf, floor hockey, bowling, ice arena, playzone and waterpark for toddlers and a sports grill
Stop by the West Shore's public gallery: the Coast Collective Arts Centre, where you'll find handmade works that celebrate the artistry and craftsmanship of southern Vancouver Island. The gallery promotes arts and culture and showcases the work of both emerging and established Canadian artists and artisans. Tip: all of the artwork on display is for sale!
Coast Collective
3221 Heatherbell Road
Stop by the West Shore's public gallery: the Coast Collective Arts Centre, where you'll find handmade works that celebrate the artistry and craftsmanship of southern Vancouver Island. The gallery promotes arts and culture and showcases the work of both emerging and established Canadian artists and artisans. Tip: all of the artwork on display is for sale!
he Galloping Goose Regional Trail is a 55-kilometre (34 mi) rail trail between Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, and the ghost town of Leechtown, north of Sooke, where it meets the old Sooke Flowline. The trail forms part of the Trans-Canada Trail, and intersects the Lochside Regional Trail. It is maintained by the Capital Regional District (CRD). The trail is a popular route both for commuting and recreation, including within urban areas of Victoria (Vic West and Burnside-Gorge). It is frequented by people walking, running, cycling, skateboarding and (in places) riding horses. It connects up with many other trails and parks in the area.
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Galloping Goose Trail
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he Galloping Goose Regional Trail is a 55-kilometre (34 mi) rail trail between Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, and the ghost town of Leechtown, north of Sooke, where it meets the old Sooke Flowline. The trail forms part of the Trans-Canada Trail, and intersects the Lochside Regional Trail. It is maintained by the Capital Regional District (CRD). The trail is a popular route both for commuting and recreation, including within urban areas of Victoria (Vic West and Burnside-Gorge). It is frequented by people walking, running, cycling, skateboarding and (in places) riding horses. It connects up with many other trails and parks in the area.
The Butchart Gardens is a group of floral display gardens in Brentwood Bay, British Columbia, Canada, located near Victoria on Vancouver Island. The gardens receive over a million visitors each year. The gardens have been designated a National Historic Site of Canada.
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The Butchart Gardens
800 Benvenuto Ave
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The Butchart Gardens is a group of floral display gardens in Brentwood Bay, British Columbia, Canada, located near Victoria on Vancouver Island. The gardens receive over a million visitors each year. The gardens have been designated a National Historic Site of Canada.
Originally established here on Vancouver Island in 2004, Church & State Wines has expanded to include 80+ acres of property in the Oliver-Osoyoos corridor in the Okanagan Valley. The latest addition to our property was the Coyote Bowl Vineyard in 2011. Church & State produces 100% BC VQA wines. Every wine we produce has been grown in our own estate vineyards and nurtured under the strict eyes of our Vineyard staff and Winemaker, Arnaud Thierry.
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Church & State Wines - Victoria
1445 Benvenuto Ave
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Originally established here on Vancouver Island in 2004, Church & State Wines has expanded to include 80+ acres of property in the Oliver-Osoyoos corridor in the Okanagan Valley. The latest addition to our property was the Coyote Bowl Vineyard in 2011. Church & State produces 100% BC VQA wines. Every wine we produce has been grown in our own estate vineyards and nurtured under the strict eyes of our Vineyard staff and Winemaker, Arnaud Thierry.
Sea Cider is a farm-based cidery located on the Saanich Peninsula just minutes from Victoria, on Vancouver Island. Our ten-acre farm is home to over 1,300 apple trees, made up of over 50 varieties of heritage apples.
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Sea Cider
2487 St Michael Rd Mt
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Sea Cider is a farm-based cidery located on the Saanich Peninsula just minutes from Victoria, on Vancouver Island. Our ten-acre farm is home to over 1,300 apple trees, made up of over 50 varieties of heritage apples.
Food scene
Our favourite local pizza place, they deliver for $5
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900 Degrees Wood-Fired Pizzeria
2401 Millstream Rd
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Our favourite local pizza place, they deliver for $5
Great food and cocktails. Awesome patio with a view in the summer and live music on weekends.
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Masters Lounge
1999 Country Club Way
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Great food and cocktails. Awesome patio with a view in the summer and live music on weekends.
Nice sports pub with a patio. Make a reservation on the weekend and high season
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Jack's Place
2020 Country Club Way
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Nice sports pub with a patio. Make a reservation on the weekend and high season
Good pub fare, live music on weekends and nice patio in the summer. They have limited hours for minors and don't allow minors on their patio sadly. Not the most family friendly place but within walking distance of our place so we like it.
The Loghouse Pub
2323 Millstream Rd
Good pub fare, live music on weekends and nice patio in the summer. They have limited hours for minors and don't allow minors on their patio sadly. Not the most family friendly place but within walking distance of our place so we like it.
Fine dining with a view
Bella Montagna
1999 Country Club Way
Fine dining with a view
My favourite place for a casual, healthy, quick lunch
Island Poké
111-829 Goldstream Ave
My favourite place for a casual, healthy, quick lunch
Delicious fresh locally owned Mexican fare. Casual, bistro style and licensed.
La Taquisa Langford
768 Goldstream Avenue
Delicious fresh locally owned Mexican fare. Casual, bistro style and licensed.
Our go to local breakfast and lunch place. Very busy on the weekends and they don't take reservations so prepare to wait on a Saturday or Sunday morning. Excellent Eggs Benny and pesto roasted potatoes.
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MO:LÉ Restaurant
2345 Millstream Rd
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Our go to local breakfast and lunch place. Very busy on the weekends and they don't take reservations so prepare to wait on a Saturday or Sunday morning. Excellent Eggs Benny and pesto roasted potatoes.
A cozy local restaurant in a rural setting. Petting zoo with goats to boot and great pizza to-go
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My-Chosen Pizza
4492 Happy Valley Rd
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A cozy local restaurant in a rural setting. Petting zoo with goats to boot and great pizza to-go
A 30 minute drive away awaits the charming community of Brentwood bay. The Blue's Bayou is one of our favourite spots to eat out there. Jambalaya, gumbo & Cajun-Creole fare served in a New Orleans-themed room or on the waterfront patio.
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Blue's Bayou Cafe
899 Marchant Road
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A 30 minute drive away awaits the charming community of Brentwood bay. The Blue's Bayou is one of our favourite spots to eat out there. Jambalaya, gumbo & Cajun-Creole fare served in a New Orleans-themed room or on the waterfront patio.
This upscale waterfront hotel is 3 km from The Butchart Gardens and 14 km from the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea. We love the dining options here including an upscale restaurant and our favourite spot is the casual pub with a waterfront patio. They also have a spa featuring an outdoor pool and hot tub, and fitness center.
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Brentwood Bay Resort
849 Verdier Ave
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This upscale waterfront hotel is 3 km from The Butchart Gardens and 14 km from the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea. We love the dining options here including an upscale restaurant and our favourite spot is the casual pub with a waterfront patio. They also have a spa featuring an outdoor pool and hot tub, and fitness center.
Saveur Restaurant offers fine dining food in a casual urban setting.Award-winning chef, Robert Cassels, delivers French-inspired contemporary cuisine through playful and elegant tasting menus, using local ingredients wherever possible. One of our favourite special occasion spots
Saveur Restaurant
658 Herald St
Saveur Restaurant offers fine dining food in a casual urban setting.Award-winning chef, Robert Cassels, delivers French-inspired contemporary cuisine through playful and elegant tasting menus, using local ingredients wherever possible. One of our favourite special occasion spots
One of our go-to special occasion restaurants.
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II Terrazzo
555 Johnson St
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One of our go-to special occasion restaurants.
Fresh Seafood to go, one of Victoria's best. Be prepared to wait in a long line in the sunshine on a sunny summer day. Will be worth the wait.
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Red Fish Blue Fish
1006 Wharf St
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Fresh Seafood to go, one of Victoria's best. Be prepared to wait in a long line in the sunshine on a sunny summer day. Will be worth the wait.
Great Hikes in the Westshore
Located in Goldstream Provincial Park, the hike to Mount Finlayson is one of the steepest hikes as it climbs up and offers scenic views looking south towards the Langford area. The route is a popular exercise trail and can be busy on weekends, however the views from the top on a clear day are spectacular and worth the hard work of getting there. The trailhead begins along the paved road across the bridge from where you drove into the day-use area, Walk over the bridge and about 200-meters along the road and on your right, watch for a trail with a large wooden map board of the area. Follow this trail past the large map and, just before the stairs, go left.The trail climbs immediately but follows a smooth, dirt path as you pass through the beautiful forest.
Mount Finlayson Trailhead
Located in Goldstream Provincial Park, the hike to Mount Finlayson is one of the steepest hikes as it climbs up and offers scenic views looking south towards the Langford area. The route is a popular exercise trail and can be busy on weekends, however the views from the top on a clear day are spectacular and worth the hard work of getting there. The trailhead begins along the paved road across the bridge from where you drove into the day-use area, Walk over the bridge and about 200-meters along the road and on your right, watch for a trail with a large wooden map board of the area. Follow this trail past the large map and, just before the stairs, go left.The trail climbs immediately but follows a smooth, dirt path as you pass through the beautiful forest.
My favourite trail in the GVA! Well-maintained, easy to navigate, and equipped with enough hardware to get you through trickier areas safely. The climb is enough to get the heart rate up, but is still gentle enough to have a relaxing time. Some of the best views I've seen, overlooking Highlands, Sooke, Langford, Victoria, as well as the the ocean / Olympic mountains on a clear day. It can be done in a short amount of time, but I always spend at least an hour just taking in the scenery
Mount Wells Regional Park
My favourite trail in the GVA! Well-maintained, easy to navigate, and equipped with enough hardware to get you through trickier areas safely. The climb is enough to get the heart rate up, but is still gentle enough to have a relaxing time. Some of the best views I've seen, overlooking Highlands, Sooke, Langford, Victoria, as well as the the ocean / Olympic mountains on a clear day. It can be done in a short amount of time, but I always spend at least an hour just taking in the scenery
A popular hike in Goldstream Provincial Park is to hike from the day-use area to a train trestle bridge that crossed high above the Niagara Creek. The route passes the scenic Niagara Falls before climbing a steep trail above the waterfall and continuing up to the railway tracks where the bridge crosses the canyon.
Niagara Trestle
A popular hike in Goldstream Provincial Park is to hike from the day-use area to a train trestle bridge that crossed high above the Niagara Creek. The route passes the scenic Niagara Falls before climbing a steep trail above the waterfall and continuing up to the railway tracks where the bridge crosses the canyon.
The Coast Trail in East Sooke Park is one of the most scenic hiking trails near the Victoria area as it follows the rocky shoreline along Juan de Fuca Strait. The entire Coast Trail takes about 8 hours to complete one-way, however a portion of the trail in the south of the park, from the aylard Farm area to Beechey Head then returning via forested trails, offers a great hiking experience. The route also passes the petroglyphs at Alldridge Point, carved into the rock by the Coast Salish First Nations. From the parking lot area, walk down the main gravel trail and at the first trail to your left, go left and follow it. This trail takes you out to the Coast Trail at Campbell Cove and immediately offers scenic shoreline views. Follow the Coast Trail through the forest and to a junction, where going left takes you on a side trip to the view at Creyke Point. Returning to the junction, continue to follow the Coast Trail as it makes its way through the forest with many glimpses out towards the Juan de Fuca Strait. The trail through this area is not too difficult, although there are some sections where you will have to step up or down and over rocks. Watch your footing through these sections. The trail reaches the beach area at Becher Bay, where you can easily walk down to the sandy shoreline. Just up from the beach and trail is a grassy clearing with picnic tables and a popular area for families to enjoy the park area during the summer as this picnic area is just a short walk back up a gravel trail to the parking lot. Continue the hike by following the Coast Trail as it passes a rugged section just up from the beach area. The trail arrives at a sign at the end of the Becher Bay area where it continues into the forest. The next section to Alldridge Point is longer than the last sections and, again, has some areas that might be a bit challenging but overall, the route is not too difficult. It continues to follow the shoreline, through lush west coast forests, passing many arbutus trees in the process. Eventually, the trail reaches a junction. Go left at the junction and continue a bit further to Alldridge Point, following the signs. Walk out onto the rocks and carefully make your way down, looking for the petroglyphs on the rocks on the right side. The ancient First Nations drawings provide evidence of the Coast Salish people living in the area hundreds of years ago. Unfortunately, the drawings carved into the rocks are fading and can be difficult to see as they have endured years of battering from the winds, rains, and rough west coast weather. At this point, you have to decide whether you want to continue your hike to Beechey Head or return via an Interior Trail to the Aylard Farm parking lot. The next section of Coast Trail to Beechey Head is much more rugged and difficult, requiring lots of effort to climb up and down over rocks and occasionally needing to use your hands for balance. However, the views are even more spectacular as there are several sections that you hike along exposed rock, offering sweeting views south towards the Juan de Fuca Strait. If you decide to return to the parking lot, walk back to the junction you passed just before reaching the petroglyphs and go left at that junction, into the forest following the narrow trail to where it reaches a wide trail. Follow the wide trail to a junction that is marked with signage and go right. Continue to follow the route as it emerges from the forest and you return to the Aylard Farm area. For those hiking to Beechey Head, continue hiking along the Coast Trail as it quickly becomes more difficult. Make your way up and over the rocks, making sure to follow the yellow markers that dot the shoreline showing the path to take. Stop often to soak in the views and watch for wildlife. If you're lucky, seals and sea lions can often be spotted from the trail and, on some occasions, even whales. After hiking for quite sometime along the rugged shoreline, you reach a sign marking a junction. Go left at the sign and walk a few more meters beyond to where the trail opens up onto a rocky outcrop at the southern most area of East Sooke Regional Park. The views from this point are spectacular on a sunny, clear day as you can see as far south towards Washington State's mountains in Olympic National Park. Once you have enjoyed the views, return to the sign at the junction you passed and go left, following the trail into the forest, leaving the coastline behind. Within a minute, you reach anther junction. Go right and continue through the forest, making your way up a small hill and over a ridge as the trail goes deeper into the forest. Stay right at the next junction as the trail now becomes a wide path. The trails through the forest are easy to follow and the junctions are all fairly well marked. Go right again at a junction and continue until you reach a junction where it points to Alldrige Point Petroglyphs on your right. Go straight at this junction (don't go back to the petroglyphs) and continue along the route as you begin to emerge from the forest and can see the parking lot in the distance. Follow the trail all the way to the end where it arrives at the top of the aylard Farm parking lot. Driving Directions The Aylard Farm of East Sooke Park is located on the southeast area of the park. From downtown Victoria, drive to Douglas Street and head northbound as you leave the city and continue driving along Highway #1. Take Exit #10 to View Royal / Colwood and stay in the left, exit lane as you pass underneath the highway. Follow Sooke Road for quite some distance as it leaves the malls behind and continues along a single-lane highway towards Sooke. Watch for signs for East Sooke Park and eventually turn left onto Gillespie Road. Follow Gillespie Road until the end and turn left onto East Sooke Road. At the first street on your right, turn right onto Belcher Bay Road and drive to the end, where you will arrive at the Aylard Farm parking area.
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East Sooke Regional Park - Aylard Farm Parking Lot
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The Coast Trail in East Sooke Park is one of the most scenic hiking trails near the Victoria area as it follows the rocky shoreline along Juan de Fuca Strait. The entire Coast Trail takes about 8 hours to complete one-way, however a portion of the trail in the south of the park, from the aylard Farm area to Beechey Head then returning via forested trails, offers a great hiking experience. The route also passes the petroglyphs at Alldridge Point, carved into the rock by the Coast Salish First Nations. From the parking lot area, walk down the main gravel trail and at the first trail to your left, go left and follow it. This trail takes you out to the Coast Trail at Campbell Cove and immediately offers scenic shoreline views. Follow the Coast Trail through the forest and to a junction, where going left takes you on a side trip to the view at Creyke Point. Returning to the junction, continue to follow the Coast Trail as it makes its way through the forest with many glimpses out towards the Juan de Fuca Strait. The trail through this area is not too difficult, although there are some sections where you will have to step up or down and over rocks. Watch your footing through these sections. The trail reaches the beach area at Becher Bay, where you can easily walk down to the sandy shoreline. Just up from the beach and trail is a grassy clearing with picnic tables and a popular area for families to enjoy the park area during the summer as this picnic area is just a short walk back up a gravel trail to the parking lot. Continue the hike by following the Coast Trail as it passes a rugged section just up from the beach area. The trail arrives at a sign at the end of the Becher Bay area where it continues into the forest. The next section to Alldridge Point is longer than the last sections and, again, has some areas that might be a bit challenging but overall, the route is not too difficult. It continues to follow the shoreline, through lush west coast forests, passing many arbutus trees in the process. Eventually, the trail reaches a junction. Go left at the junction and continue a bit further to Alldridge Point, following the signs. Walk out onto the rocks and carefully make your way down, looking for the petroglyphs on the rocks on the right side. The ancient First Nations drawings provide evidence of the Coast Salish people living in the area hundreds of years ago. Unfortunately, the drawings carved into the rocks are fading and can be difficult to see as they have endured years of battering from the winds, rains, and rough west coast weather. At this point, you have to decide whether you want to continue your hike to Beechey Head or return via an Interior Trail to the Aylard Farm parking lot. The next section of Coast Trail to Beechey Head is much more rugged and difficult, requiring lots of effort to climb up and down over rocks and occasionally needing to use your hands for balance. However, the views are even more spectacular as there are several sections that you hike along exposed rock, offering sweeting views south towards the Juan de Fuca Strait. If you decide to return to the parking lot, walk back to the junction you passed just before reaching the petroglyphs and go left at that junction, into the forest following the narrow trail to where it reaches a wide trail. Follow the wide trail to a junction that is marked with signage and go right. Continue to follow the route as it emerges from the forest and you return to the Aylard Farm area. For those hiking to Beechey Head, continue hiking along the Coast Trail as it quickly becomes more difficult. Make your way up and over the rocks, making sure to follow the yellow markers that dot the shoreline showing the path to take. Stop often to soak in the views and watch for wildlife. If you're lucky, seals and sea lions can often be spotted from the trail and, on some occasions, even whales. After hiking for quite sometime along the rugged shoreline, you reach a sign marking a junction. Go left at the sign and walk a few more meters beyond to where the trail opens up onto a rocky outcrop at the southern most area of East Sooke Regional Park. The views from this point are spectacular on a sunny, clear day as you can see as far south towards Washington State's mountains in Olympic National Park. Once you have enjoyed the views, return to the sign at the junction you passed and go left, following the trail into the forest, leaving the coastline behind. Within a minute, you reach anther junction. Go right and continue through the forest, making your way up a small hill and over a ridge as the trail goes deeper into the forest. Stay right at the next junction as the trail now becomes a wide path. The trails through the forest are easy to follow and the junctions are all fairly well marked. Go right again at a junction and continue until you reach a junction where it points to Alldrige Point Petroglyphs on your right. Go straight at this junction (don't go back to the petroglyphs) and continue along the route as you begin to emerge from the forest and can see the parking lot in the distance. Follow the trail all the way to the end where it arrives at the top of the aylard Farm parking lot. Driving Directions The Aylard Farm of East Sooke Park is located on the southeast area of the park. From downtown Victoria, drive to Douglas Street and head northbound as you leave the city and continue driving along Highway #1. Take Exit #10 to View Royal / Colwood and stay in the left, exit lane as you pass underneath the highway. Follow Sooke Road for quite some distance as it leaves the malls behind and continues along a single-lane highway towards Sooke. Watch for signs for East Sooke Park and eventually turn left onto Gillespie Road. Follow Gillespie Road until the end and turn left onto East Sooke Road. At the first street on your right, turn right onto Belcher Bay Road and drive to the end, where you will arrive at the Aylard Farm parking area.
Matheson Lake is a beautiful lake, set amongst the hills of the Metchosin region, that has a scenic hiking trail that loops around the lake. The lake and beach area are popular in the summer months for swimming and fishing and long hikes can be combined with the trails in the neighbouring Roche Cove Regional Park. The Galloping Goose trail passes right next to Matheson Lake, offering a nice place for cyclists to stop and enjoy. The 3.8km loop around the lake does have some challenging sections along the western section of the route that climbs up and down over rocky sections. These areas can be slippery depending on the time of seasons, so use care when passing through this area.
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Matheson Lake Regional Park
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Matheson Lake is a beautiful lake, set amongst the hills of the Metchosin region, that has a scenic hiking trail that loops around the lake. The lake and beach area are popular in the summer months for swimming and fishing and long hikes can be combined with the trails in the neighbouring Roche Cove Regional Park. The Galloping Goose trail passes right next to Matheson Lake, offering a nice place for cyclists to stop and enjoy. The 3.8km loop around the lake does have some challenging sections along the western section of the route that climbs up and down over rocky sections. These areas can be slippery depending on the time of seasons, so use care when passing through this area.
McKenzie Bight is a scenic beach area located along the eastern shore of Saanich Arm in Gowlland Tod Provincial Park. The hike to the beach area can be completed via a loop by walking down the steep Cascade Trail past Cascade Falls and returning via the wider McKenzie Bight Trail. From the McKenzie Bight parking lot area, go left and walk along the paved road heading south west for about 300-meters until you reach a metal gate with a sign pointing to the Timberman Trail. Follow this beautiful, forested trail as it makes its way gradually downhill until reaching a wooden bridge. After crossing the wooden bridge, go right at the junction and following the Cascade Trail. After rounding a corner, the trail descends very steeply. In the springtime, you can hear the rushing water of Pease Creek as it passes over the waterfall called Cascade Falls. Follow the trail next to the wooden railings and look to your right for a view of Cascade Falls. Continue following the trail downhill as it weaves through a few narrow switchbacks before levelling and exiting to the right at the beach. Walk to the wooden bridge and cross Pease Creek where the McKenzie Bight Trail begins immediately on your right. Before returning, explore the area by walking out to the beach and enjoying the view. You can continue following the trail northward up a short hill where there are outhouses and a scenic view to the left along rocky outcrops that dot the shoreline. Once you have enjoyed the McKenzie Bight area, return to the wooden bridge and begin hiking up the wide gravel McKenzie Bight trail towards the parking lot. This uphill trail is a bit more gradual than the Cascade Trail you walked down on but it still has moments where you will need to stop to catch your breath. As you pass the brown wooden signs, a few more steps being you back to the parking lot where you began. Driving Directions The McKenzie Bight area of Gowlland Tod Provincial Park is easiest accessed via the West Saanich Road from the Victoria area. From downtown Victoria, folllow Blanshard Street northbound as it leaves the city and turns into Highway #17 heading towards the ferries. Take Exit #11: Royal Oak Drive. After exiting, turn left and cross over the highway, following Royal Oak Drive to the 4-way intersection with West Saanich Road. Turn right onto West Saanich Road and follow this road for the next 5-6km. Turn left onto Wallace Drive and Drive 0.5km. Turn left onto Willis Point Road and drive about 4km until you see signs for Gowlland Tod Provincial Park. Turn left at the signs, onto Ross Durrance Road and the gravel parking lot will be within 200 meters on your left. Note: If the parking lot is full, you are allowed to park alongside the road, however you must park off the road so that your tires are not on the pavement. Parking can be an issue in this area on a busy weekend. Additional Information Dog-Friendly Dogs are permitted in Gowlland Tod Provincial Park but must be kept on a leash at all times. There is wildlife in the park, including several cougar sightings annually, so it is important to be extra cautious for your and your dog’s safety. Toilets Pit toilets are located in two places. There are toilets along the McKenzie Bight trail just down from the parking lot area and also near the beach area, just north and up the small hill from the where the trails access the beach area.
McKenzie Bight Trail
McKenzie Bight is a scenic beach area located along the eastern shore of Saanich Arm in Gowlland Tod Provincial Park. The hike to the beach area can be completed via a loop by walking down the steep Cascade Trail past Cascade Falls and returning via the wider McKenzie Bight Trail. From the McKenzie Bight parking lot area, go left and walk along the paved road heading south west for about 300-meters until you reach a metal gate with a sign pointing to the Timberman Trail. Follow this beautiful, forested trail as it makes its way gradually downhill until reaching a wooden bridge. After crossing the wooden bridge, go right at the junction and following the Cascade Trail. After rounding a corner, the trail descends very steeply. In the springtime, you can hear the rushing water of Pease Creek as it passes over the waterfall called Cascade Falls. Follow the trail next to the wooden railings and look to your right for a view of Cascade Falls. Continue following the trail downhill as it weaves through a few narrow switchbacks before levelling and exiting to the right at the beach. Walk to the wooden bridge and cross Pease Creek where the McKenzie Bight Trail begins immediately on your right. Before returning, explore the area by walking out to the beach and enjoying the view. You can continue following the trail northward up a short hill where there are outhouses and a scenic view to the left along rocky outcrops that dot the shoreline. Once you have enjoyed the McKenzie Bight area, return to the wooden bridge and begin hiking up the wide gravel McKenzie Bight trail towards the parking lot. This uphill trail is a bit more gradual than the Cascade Trail you walked down on but it still has moments where you will need to stop to catch your breath. As you pass the brown wooden signs, a few more steps being you back to the parking lot where you began. Driving Directions The McKenzie Bight area of Gowlland Tod Provincial Park is easiest accessed via the West Saanich Road from the Victoria area. From downtown Victoria, folllow Blanshard Street northbound as it leaves the city and turns into Highway #17 heading towards the ferries. Take Exit #11: Royal Oak Drive. After exiting, turn left and cross over the highway, following Royal Oak Drive to the 4-way intersection with West Saanich Road. Turn right onto West Saanich Road and follow this road for the next 5-6km. Turn left onto Wallace Drive and Drive 0.5km. Turn left onto Willis Point Road and drive about 4km until you see signs for Gowlland Tod Provincial Park. Turn left at the signs, onto Ross Durrance Road and the gravel parking lot will be within 200 meters on your left. Note: If the parking lot is full, you are allowed to park alongside the road, however you must park off the road so that your tires are not on the pavement. Parking can be an issue in this area on a busy weekend. Additional Information Dog-Friendly Dogs are permitted in Gowlland Tod Provincial Park but must be kept on a leash at all times. There is wildlife in the park, including several cougar sightings annually, so it is important to be extra cautious for your and your dog’s safety. Toilets Pit toilets are located in two places. There are toilets along the McKenzie Bight trail just down from the parking lot area and also near the beach area, just north and up the small hill from the where the trails access the beach area.
The hike to Upper Goldstream Falls starts near the campsite gatehouse and follows a lush, forested trail along the Goldstream River to the waterfall. The hike is popular amongst campers due to it being right next to the campsite, but it can also be done as a day-hike by parking near the gatehouse or just outside the campsite area. While the trail is fairly easy with minimal election change, there is a long set of stairs to walk down into the canyon where the waterfall is. While the stairs don't seem difficult, keep in mind that you do have to walk back up them to return to the trail after visiting the waterfall. From the gatehouse, walk to the start of the trail just to the left and into the forest. The trail veers right and follows a nice, dirt path as you get occasional glimpses of the river to the left. While the campsite is only meters away to the right, it doesn’t seem that way as the forest vegetation is thick and very green from the river’s moisture that keeps it lush. When you reach a junction, go left and continue along the forest trail. The trail eventually reaches the stairs to the left that go down towards the waterfall. Begin walking down the stairs and into the canyon as the waterfall comes into view. Walk right down to the small, rocky beach area and up onto the jagged rock on the other side for a close view. During the warm months, the pool below the falls is a popular area to swim bu the water is cold during the fall, winter, and spring seasons.
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Goldstream Provincial Park
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The hike to Upper Goldstream Falls starts near the campsite gatehouse and follows a lush, forested trail along the Goldstream River to the waterfall. The hike is popular amongst campers due to it being right next to the campsite, but it can also be done as a day-hike by parking near the gatehouse or just outside the campsite area. While the trail is fairly easy with minimal election change, there is a long set of stairs to walk down into the canyon where the waterfall is. While the stairs don't seem difficult, keep in mind that you do have to walk back up them to return to the trail after visiting the waterfall. From the gatehouse, walk to the start of the trail just to the left and into the forest. The trail veers right and follows a nice, dirt path as you get occasional glimpses of the river to the left. While the campsite is only meters away to the right, it doesn’t seem that way as the forest vegetation is thick and very green from the river’s moisture that keeps it lush. When you reach a junction, go left and continue along the forest trail. The trail eventually reaches the stairs to the left that go down towards the waterfall. Begin walking down the stairs and into the canyon as the waterfall comes into view. Walk right down to the small, rocky beach area and up onto the jagged rock on the other side for a close view. During the warm months, the pool below the falls is a popular area to swim bu the water is cold during the fall, winter, and spring seasons.
The 360-degree view from the top of Lone Tree Hill is incredible on a clear day, providing scenery of the Highlands region, west towards Gowlland Tod Provincial Park and as far south and east as the Strait of Juan De Fuca. The trail is well defined but steep in sections. From the gravel parking lot, walk towards the map board of the regional park and begin your hike along the gravel trail. The trail begins climbing gradually at the start but quickly becomes fairly steep. After a steep section, the trail becomes more gradual again as it moves away from the road below and loops to the right. Again, the trail climbs through a steep section before reaching several Arbutus trees and a clearing on the right. Go right and walk a short distance out to the first viewpoint. After enjoying the view, return to the trail and continue hiking up as you climb up a steep rocky section. Once at the top, continue to the far end, making your way over several large rocks to a viewpoint at the top that provides views in all directions. On a clear day, you can see very far into the distance. To the west is Holmes Peak and Jocelyn Hill in Gowlland Tod Provincial Park and south of those mountains is Mount Finlayson. The area below is known as Highlands and on a very clear day you can see as far west as Haro Strait and south as the Strait of Juan De Fuca. After enjoying your time at the top, make your way back over the rocks in the direction you arrived and carefully back down the steep rock. Pass the first viewpoint on your left and following the trail back down to the gravel parking lot where you began.
Lone Tree Hill
The 360-degree view from the top of Lone Tree Hill is incredible on a clear day, providing scenery of the Highlands region, west towards Gowlland Tod Provincial Park and as far south and east as the Strait of Juan De Fuca. The trail is well defined but steep in sections. From the gravel parking lot, walk towards the map board of the regional park and begin your hike along the gravel trail. The trail begins climbing gradually at the start but quickly becomes fairly steep. After a steep section, the trail becomes more gradual again as it moves away from the road below and loops to the right. Again, the trail climbs through a steep section before reaching several Arbutus trees and a clearing on the right. Go right and walk a short distance out to the first viewpoint. After enjoying the view, return to the trail and continue hiking up as you climb up a steep rocky section. Once at the top, continue to the far end, making your way over several large rocks to a viewpoint at the top that provides views in all directions. On a clear day, you can see very far into the distance. To the west is Holmes Peak and Jocelyn Hill in Gowlland Tod Provincial Park and south of those mountains is Mount Finlayson. The area below is known as Highlands and on a very clear day you can see as far west as Haro Strait and south as the Strait of Juan De Fuca. After enjoying your time at the top, make your way back over the rocks in the direction you arrived and carefully back down the steep rock. Pass the first viewpoint on your left and following the trail back down to the gravel parking lot where you began.
The hike to the top of Mount Work from the Munn Road area passes through scenic forest around Fork Lake before climbing steadily to an incredible viewpoint along the exposed rocks looking south over the Saanich area. The top of Mount Work can also be reached from the McKenzie Bight area. From the gravel parking lot off of Munn Road, follow the trail past the map board and into the forest. Go right at a junction and follow the signs through the well marked trails that point to Mount Work. Cross a wooden bridge over a marshy section of Fork Lake, offering little view of the lake itself, and continue as the trail starts to climb gently. The forest through the first section is particular beautiful and lush with plenty of moss and greenery covering the forest. The ecology begins to change as the trails climbs steeper and the ground becomes rockier. Be sure to watch for trail markers as you make your way uphill, staying on the main route while occasionally passes an open rock bluff with a view. The trail will eventually reach a point here it emerges from the forest onto a rocky section, continuing up and over the rocks to the right. Even though you are not at the peak of Mount Work, this is the best viewpoint as you can see south across the Saanich area and west towards Gowlland Tod Provincial Park and Mount Finalyson. This would be the best point to stop and enjoy any snacks you brought while soaking in the view. There is not much to see at the peak of Mount Work but there is another viewpoint on the others. Continue along the trail as it climbs over several rocks and then levels considerably, passing between several trees. Not much further and you reach a rock with a plaque on it marking the peak of Mount Work. Walk past this and follow the trail as it begins descending gradually. Within less than 5-minutes, walk out onto a rocky bluff to the left for an alternate viewpoint which looks west towards Jocelyn Hill in Gowlland Tod Provincial Park.
Mount Work Regional Park - Munn Road Parking Lot
The hike to the top of Mount Work from the Munn Road area passes through scenic forest around Fork Lake before climbing steadily to an incredible viewpoint along the exposed rocks looking south over the Saanich area. The top of Mount Work can also be reached from the McKenzie Bight area. From the gravel parking lot off of Munn Road, follow the trail past the map board and into the forest. Go right at a junction and follow the signs through the well marked trails that point to Mount Work. Cross a wooden bridge over a marshy section of Fork Lake, offering little view of the lake itself, and continue as the trail starts to climb gently. The forest through the first section is particular beautiful and lush with plenty of moss and greenery covering the forest. The ecology begins to change as the trails climbs steeper and the ground becomes rockier. Be sure to watch for trail markers as you make your way uphill, staying on the main route while occasionally passes an open rock bluff with a view. The trail will eventually reach a point here it emerges from the forest onto a rocky section, continuing up and over the rocks to the right. Even though you are not at the peak of Mount Work, this is the best viewpoint as you can see south across the Saanich area and west towards Gowlland Tod Provincial Park and Mount Finalyson. This would be the best point to stop and enjoy any snacks you brought while soaking in the view. There is not much to see at the peak of Mount Work but there is another viewpoint on the others. Continue along the trail as it climbs over several rocks and then levels considerably, passing between several trees. Not much further and you reach a rock with a plaque on it marking the peak of Mount Work. Walk past this and follow the trail as it begins descending gradually. Within less than 5-minutes, walk out onto a rocky bluff to the left for an alternate viewpoint which looks west towards Jocelyn Hill in Gowlland Tod Provincial Park.
The area around Thetis Lake has a network of hiking trails situated next to several scenic lakes and a lush west coast rainforest. Popular with hikers, trail runners, and dog walkers of all ages, the trails around both Lower and Upper Thetis Lake are moderately challenging with many beautiful views of the lake.
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Thetis Lake Regional Park
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The area around Thetis Lake has a network of hiking trails situated next to several scenic lakes and a lush west coast rainforest. Popular with hikers, trail runners, and dog walkers of all ages, the trails around both Lower and Upper Thetis Lake are moderately challenging with many beautiful views of the lake.