Southern Vancouver Island is home to nature’s many masterpieces: green rainforests, rocky snow-capped mountains and, of course, the bodies of water surrounding the island. These provide terrains for adventurous people who love hiking and outdoor activities. And with its perfect climate, it is tempting to try one of the many trails and be fascinated by the beauty they offer. So pack your bags and start walking. Find the perfect trail to explore!
One of the popular trails in Victoria is the Galloping Goose Regional Trail. Formerly a rail trail, the route ends in Leechtown north of Sooke. It is used not only by hikers and adventurers but also by locals who commute to work or enjoy their Sunday afternoon walks, bike rides or horse rides. It is a 55 km long path through farmland, forests and past lakes. If you are looking for a more challenging trail, try the East Sooke Regional Park and experience the jagged coastlines, rocky bays and be prepared to be awed by the breathtaking view of Juan de Fuca Strait. You can also have the chance to see the spectacular Olympic Mountains, with turkey vultures, bald eagles and red-tailed hawks making the scenery more interesting. There are three entry points where you can start your exploration. The Ayland Farm, the easiest of the three, is popular for its picnic areas. The Anderson Cove and the Pike Road feature steeper and uneven grounds for more hard core hikers. Enjoy the 10 km long rough and rugged coast trail with pocket beaches and tide pools where you can watch otters or scuba dive. For swimmers, the Sooke Potholes area is the best course to take. A trail of potholes, pebbly beaches, a gorge and a hidden waterfall, it is a swimmer’s paradise. Visits in October allow you to see spawning salmons. The trek in this area will take you to two different parks: the Sooke Potholes Provincial Park and the Sooke Potholes Regional Park.
Mount Doug’s trails are challenging but one of the most exhilarating experiences you can have on Vancouver Island. The Merriman trail includes climbing a mountain to have a spectacular 360 degree vista of the surrounding areas including the majestic Mount Douglas Beach. The trail is open all year round but spring is the best season to observe blooming wildflowers.
Big 600 year old cedar trees in Goldstream Provincial Park also attract hikers. The Upper Goldstream Trail, an easy 30-minute hike, allows hikers to pass through some of the tallest and oldest trees in the park. They serve as canopy for travelers and make the trip enjoyable. It follows the Goldstream River and leads to the Goldstream River Falls. The Gold Mine Trail, on the other hand, leads to Niagara Creek and reveals a railway trestle and an old gold mine shaft. The most difficult of the trails toward this park is the Mt. Finlayson Trail. It’s a three hour trip that begins in a tree-infested forest and includes climbing the mountain’s peak.
The West Coast Trail is a world renowned trail that starts from Gordon River in Port Renfrew and ends at Pachena Bay in Bamfield. It is a 77 km trek through the wilderness. If camping is your cup of tea, this particular trail is for you. It requires an average of six days to complete. You need to make reservations for this particular trip. Another challenging and satisfying trail is the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail. A 47 km hike from China Beach to Botanical Beach, this trail requires four days to finish. Enjoy coastline views while backpacking, and if you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of whales in their natural habitat. A real sight to behold.