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

The fine for changing lanes or merging over a solid line costs drivers $109 and two penalty points in B.C. (Screenshot via Google Street View)
B.C. drivers caught crossing, merging over solid white lines face hefty fine

Ticket for $109, two penalty points issued under Motor Vehicle Act for crossing solid lines

Saanich council approves of a five-story multi-family development at 300 Gorge Road West and 2900 Tillicum Road. (Rendering via Alan Lowe Architect Inc.)
Saanich approves five-story, mixed-use development for Tillicum area

Plans include 53 residential units, three commercial units at Tillicum Road, Gorge Road West

Coun. Niall Paltiel of Central Saanich has filed a notice of motion directing staff to work with the WSANEC leadership council to develop a program leading toward the “gradual incorporation of traditional WSANEC names for key collector and arterial roads”(Black Press Media File)
Central Saanich councillor wants road signs to use WSANEC names

Coun. Niall Paltiel proposes ‘gradual incorporation of traditional WSANEC names’ for key roads

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s first case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

Royal Roads University president Philip Steenkamp said they are aware of hateful graffiti spray-painted in an area of the forest surrounding the campus. The graffiti in question includes anti-Semitic content and a racial slur towards Black people. (Facebook/Royal Roads University)
Anti-Semitic, hateful graffiti spotted in forest near Royal Roads University

Royal Roads working with West Shore RCMP to remove graffiti “as soon as possible”

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

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

The sky above Mt. Benson in Nanaimo is illuminated by flares as search and rescuers help an injured hiker down the mountain to a waiting ambulance. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Search and Rescue)
Search plane lights up Nanaimo mountain with flares during icy rope rescue

Rescuers got injured hiker down Mt. Benson to a waiting ambulance Saturday night

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

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

Most Read