Parks and Trails Around Victoria, BC
Victoria and Vancouver Island are home to incredibly beautiful parks attracting hikers and photographers from around the world. In fact, you will most likely see some of the parks listed below during your whale watching adventure - perhaps creating a hunger for more exploration. Ask your captain and crew about some of their favourite hikes, and if they can point some out while underway. Website information below can, in many cases, provide maps and information to help you plan a getaway into nature that you will always remember.
If you have any questions about the park and trails around Victoria on Vancouver Island please do not hesitate to contact us any time. We would love to assist you in any way that we can.
Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary is an excellent place for year-round birdwatching, especially during the spring and fall migration. The marsh around Swan Lake provides good habitat for many birds and small animals, including muskrat, river otter and mink. They make their homes in the rock walls, marsh grasses and cattails beside the lake. Swan Lake's water comes from a large watershed to the north and the east which includes Blenkinsop Lake. The water drains west from the lake into the Colquitz River and drains into the Pacific Ocean at Portage Inlet.
3873 Swan Lake Road
Victoria, BC V8X 3W1
Phone: (250) 479-0211 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (250) 479-0211 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Fax: (250) 479-0132
Lat/Long: 48.4654336409654 -123.37414741516113
Fort Rodd Hill & Fisgard Lighthouse
Visit Fort Rodd Hill, a national historic site which was originally a coast artillery fort built in the late 1890’s. The fort was built to defend Victoria and the Esquimalt naval base. There are many things to explore within Fort Rodd Hill, such as the three gun batteries, guardhouses, barracks, underground magazines, and command posts. You can also enjoy picnics outside and within the fort or visit the quaint Fisgard lighthouse that holds plenty of history as well. Built over a century ago, the Fisgard Lighthouse is Canada’s oldest west coast lighthouse. This real working lighthouse is located in Fort Rodd Hill, where you can also explore coastal gun batteries, underground bunkers and camouflaged searchlight emplacements. Learn about shipwrecks and lives saved at this historic site.
603 Fort Rodd Hill Road
Lat/Long: 48.43584719255229 -123.45206022262573
Beaver & Elk Lakes
This popular recreation area offers outdoor opportunities for everyone. The lake is used cooperatively by swimmers, windsurfers, sailors, water-skiers, fishers and rowers. Some park trails are designated multi-use, for hikers, cyclists and horse riders, while others are for hiking only.
Location: View Royal, Victoria, BC
Lat/Long: 48.50872512363356 -123.38513374328613
This regional conservation area was established as Canada's first nature sanctuary in 1958. The park offers outdoor activities in a natural setting. Park Features: swamp and lake ecosystems for nature study, delicate spring wildflowers, garry oak ecosystems and Douglas-fir forest, freshwater lakes for swimming, canoeing and fishing, beaches and picnic areas.
Location: Victoria, BC
Lat/Long: 48.46469378078765 -123.46718788146973
Beacon Hill Park
Beacon Hill Park is located along the south shore of Victoria, British Columbia and the Juan de Fuca Strait. It has been a park belonging to the city of Victoria since 1882. A trust was then established for the 62-acre (24.8-hectare) site. Beacon Hill Park was originally called Meeacan (the Salish name for belly) by the First Nations people because from a distance, it looked like the belly of a large man lying on his back. Many gardens, pools, birds, park for kids, petting zoo, Old Garry Oak Trees, Trails, etc. This park is a must see!
Location: Arbutus Way, Victoria, BC
Lat/Long: 48.414382196497456 -123.36324691772461
Just 16km from downtown Victoria, Goldstream Provincial Park offers something new and exciting each month of the year. Majestic waterfalls, 600-year-old trees, wildflowers and an educational nature house provide an escape from the urban landscape just a few minutes from town. Goldstream is for all ages and abilities with trails ranging from wheel chair accessible, to strenuous tracks up Mount Finlayson - one of the highest peaks in Greater Victoria. Not to be missed during autumn when Goldstream Park hosts hundreds of spawning chum salmon and hungry bald eagles.
Location: Langford, British Columbia
Lat/Long: 48.48121997097912 -123.54855537414551
Adjacent to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, in the Bilston Creek Watershed, lies Witty's Lagoon Regional Park, a harmonious blend of protected natural environments. The park offers yet another perspective of the coastline and a surprising variety of wildlife habitats. Find a sturdy piece of driftwood and shelter from the constant breeze, which even in summer has a fresh edge to it. From this vantage point, you can look across the strait to the towering heights of the Olympic Mountains in Washington and its signature glaciated formation, Hurricane Ridge. The shallow beach makes for a pleasant warm-water swim after the tide rises over sun-heated rocks.
Location: Metchosin, BC
Lat/Long: 48.388112644062105 -123.51473808288574
East Sooke Park
For true West Coast wilderness, visit East Sooke Regional Park. With over 50km (31 miles) of trails, visitors can experience dense rain forests, sheltered coves, rocky coastlines and breathtaking hill top vistas across the Straight of Juan de Fuca. Bald eagles, turkey vultures and red-tailed hawks are a common sight, making East Sooke Park very popular amongst bird watchers. Travel time is about 40 minutes from Victoria.
Location: East Sooke, BC
Lat/Long: 48.33752980691896 -123.66837501525879
Juan de Fuca Trail
Juan de Fuca Provincial Park is on the southwest coast of Vancouver Island. You can go to any of the trailheads; China Beach, Sombrio Beach, Parkinson Creek or Botanical Beach for day hiking & beach exploring. Alternatively, you can start at any of these points to camp and hike along the 47 kilometres of coastal trail. Wildlife viewing opportunities on the Juan de Fuca trail can include both land and sea life; bears, deer, birds of prey, gray whales, orca (kiler whales), humpback whales, seals, sea lions and lots more!
Location: China Beach to Botanical Beach, BC
Lat/Long: 48.43733272819578 -124.08988952636719
The West Coast Trail is located on the southern west coast of Vancouver Island, BC Canada and stretches 77 kilometers from Port Renfrew on the south end to Bamfield at its northern terminous. Thousands of hikers travel all or part of the trail each year. To address the concern over environmental impact on the trail and hiker safety and enjoyment, the Canadian Parks Service has instituted a reservation system. We hope that this system will provide you with a more satisfying wilderness experience.
Over the years the stretch of coastline encompassing the West Coast Trail has been many things to many people. Native people, lighthouse keepers, shipwreck survivors, homesteaders, prospectors and missionaries all have traveled along these trails and beaches. Today, visitors come to experience the beauty of the coastal environmental and the challenge of hiking one of the most arduous hiking trails in North America.
The West Coast Trail is one of three components of the Pacific Rim National Parks system to protect the outstanding natural features of this area, both terrestrial and marine. The beauty of craggy sea stacks; dramatic rocky headlands; wide, sandy beaches and lush rainforests all intertwined with a vibrant cultural history, are but a few special features on the West Coast Trail.
The West Coast Trail Information Centres are open daily, from 9am to 5pm during this period.
Location: Port Renfrew to Bamfield, BC
Lat/Long: 48.55472799799564 -124.49844360351562
Although not a camping area, it is a spectacular spot for family outings and day trips. A wide, gravel trail can be somewhat strenuous with some steep sections, however, it is suitable for most young children and the elderly. The 15-20 minute hike (each way) through the first-growth forest of Sitka spruce, Douglas fir and western red cedar leads visitors to the great rolling breakers of a tumultuous sea.The fine sand of China beach is ideal for picnicking, sand building, wading and relaxing - and it is a beach that is exceptional to comb after tides recede.
Location: In between Jordan River and Botanical Beach, BC
Lat/Long: 48.455602580435865 -124.19116973876953
This 59 hectare park along the spectacular Strait of Juan de Fuca offers beautiful trails, whale watching, secluded campsites and waterfront picnic areas.
Location: just before Jordan River, BC
Lat/Long: 48.3998957369899 -123.9532470703125
Sombrio Beach is a large cobble beach and an easy 10 minute (one way) walk along the trail from the parking lot. Explore the beach, camp, surf or hike eastward along the beach (30 minutes one way). Parkinson Creek is a 9 km hike from Sombrio Beach.
Location: Located before Port Renfrew, BC
Lat/Long: 48.49390579140084 -124.29433822631836
Cathedral Grove, located in MacMillan Provincial Park, is one of the most accessible stands of giant Douglas fir trees on Vancouver Island. Here visitors can stroll through a network of trails under the shadow of towering ancient Douglas-fir trees, majestic pillars untouched by the modern world – some more than 800 years old. Trails on either side of the highway lead visitors through the mighty stands of this coastal forest. On the south side you will find the largest Douglas firs - one measuring more than 9 meters in circumference. On the northern side of the road you’ll find groves of ancient Western red cedar standing sentry over nearby Cameron Lake.
Location: just before Port Alberni on your way to Long Beach, BC
Lat/Long: 49.28655200358224 -124.64057922363281
Englishman River Falls
Situated along the pristine Englishman River north of Nanaimo, Englishman River Falls Provincial Park features two stunning waterfalls cascading along the descending riverbed into a deep canyon. This picturesque destination, set amid a lush old-growth and second-growth forest of Douglas fir, cedar, hemlock and maple, is an ideal location from which to explore and appreciate the incredible diversity of south central Vancouver Island, including nearby Cathedral Grove, the Pacific Rim, and the sandy shores of Parksville and Qualicum.
Location: Located before Parksville towards Port Alberni, BC
Lat/Long: 49.24752178971797 -124.3513298034668
Little Qualicum Falls
A favourite destination on Vancouver Island is Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park, which straddles the Little Qualicum River and incorporates the entire southern shore of Cameron Lake. Impressive waterfalls cascade down a rocky gorge in a beautiful forested setting bordered by steep mountain peaks at this park, one of the most beautiful parks on central Vancouver Island. The falls, lake swimming, shaded riverside trails and picnic facilities make Little Qualicum Falls a very popular family recreation destination. A number of walking trails are available in and around the park, offering picturesque views of the river and providing access to the upper and lower falls.
Location: Located before Parksville towards Port Alberni, BC
Lat/Long: 49.30539306196818 -124.55509185791016
Long Beach/Pacific Rim National Park
Pacific Rim National Park is a thin strip of land along the southwestern coast of Vancouver Island. Its magnificent islands, beaches and dramatic seascapes divide into three geographically distinct park units: Long Beach (the most accessible), Broken Group Islands (about 100 islands in Barkley Sound), and the challenging 72 kilometre West Coast Trail. The park comprises a total area of 500 square kilometres stretching across the 125 kilometres from Tofino in the north to Port Renfrew in the south. To the east of the park is the Vancouver Island Range, to the west, the Pacific Ocean.
Location: On the west coast of Vancouver Island, BC
Lat/Long: 49.040084823921674 -125.68531036376953
If you want a few days of rugged, off-road hiking and camping, head to Strathcona Provincial Park. Located in the centre of Vancouver Island, the 250,000 hectares of designated land make up the oldest provincial park in British Columbia. Visitors can enjoy dense rainforests, alpine plateaus, rivers, lakes and one of Canada’s highest waterfalls- Della Falls. The areas of Buttle Lake and Forbidden Plateau offer a variety of visitor-oriented facilities. The rest of the park is largely undeveloped and appeals primarily to people seeking wilderness surroundings. The nearby communities of Campbell River, the Comox Valley, Gold River, Tofino and Port Alberni offer a full range of visitor services and are perfect places to ‘gear up’ for your trip.
Location: North Vancouver Island, BC
Lat/Long: 49.58195894027339 -125.62591552734375
Cape Scott Provincial Park is a truly magnificent area of rugged coastal wilderness that is located at the northwestern tip of Vancouver Island, 563 kilometers from Victoria. The park stretches from Shushartie Bay in the east, then westward around Cape Scott and south to San Josef Bay. Rocky promontories, salt marshes and jagged headlands punctuate the fine-textured, white-sand beaches. The most impressive of these beaches, Nels Bight, stretches more than 2,400 meters long and 210 meters wide at low tide, and is one of the Park’s most popular camping destinations. Other significant beaches include San Josef Bay, Guise Bay, Experiment Bight, Lowrie Bay and Nissen Bight.
Location: Northern most tip of Vancouver Island, BC
Lat/Long: 50.769340536002325 -128.41644287109375
Welcome to Mount Washington, located in central Vancouver Island, west of Courtenay. Imagine a place where everyone is smiling, the sun is shining, the snow is sparkling and you don’t have a care in the world, all you can think of is the rush of gliding down a mountainside. Known for its spectacular ocean to alpine views, Mt. Washington Ski Resort is one of British Columbia’s finest alpine and nordic winter sport resorts and summer alpine destinations.
Phone (24 Hour Recorded Message): 1-888-833-1515 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1-888-833-1515 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Lat/Long: 49.739774390705044 -125.30113220214844
"Inspiring the conservation of our marine environment, with a thrill!"