Here’s a little known fact… the Victoria area is a hikers’ paradise. There are more than 10,000 hectares of spectacular and easily accessible natural areas in 30 regional parks and trails on southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. They feature a broad range of hiking experiences, from challenging scambles over steep rocky inclines to casual recreation on flat trails.
We ourselves are avid hikers and know many Victoria hiking trails. We can provide maps of most of them and provide tips on finding trailheads and where the best views are. Check out some hiking photos here.
West Coast Trail Victoria is the jumping off point for the renowned, challenging, multi-day West Coast Trail that extends from just west of Port Renfrew to Bamfield along the southwest coast of Vancouver Island. It’s a six-to-eight-day hike that requires packing along tents and food, so prepare yourself… It has the reputation of being one of the most grueling treks in North America. It is isolated, strenuous, physically challenging and potentially hazardous. It is also extremely rewarding due to the spectacular scenery and unique setting. Only persons with a Trail Use Permit may use the trail and the number of permits is limited, so you must reserve in advance. And it is popular. You can get started at the website.
Juan de Fuca Provincial Park is newer and closer to Victoria than the West Coast Trail. It stretches from China Beach west to Port Renfrew… and because there is a road along this stretch of coast, one can access the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail at several points for shorter hikes. The whole trail is a strenuous three-day hike. The park is divided into three areas: China Beach, the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail, and Botanical Beach with several beautiful beaches in between.
The Juan de Fuca Marine Trail is 47 kilometres long and is rated as a strenuous hiking and camping trail through rugged and isolated wilderness along the shoreline. The trail can be reached from four different locations: at China Beach, Sombrio Beach, Parkinson Creek and Botanical Beach.
To download a great PDF map of the entire Juan de Fuca Marine Trail, click here.
Mount Work Regional Park This popular recreation spot offers a variety of landscapes and activities. Three lakes offer swimming, canoeing and fishing. 11 km of hiking trails lead through forest to the summit (446 m) of Mount Work. A separate area, Mount-Work Hartland, has multi-use trails open to mountain biking.
East Sooke Regional Park offers 50 km of trails through the West Coast wilderness. The trails rate from easy to challenging and take you to rocky bays and beaches with spectacular views of the Strait of Juna de Fuca and the Olympic Mountains.
Sooke Potholes Regional Park is located near Sooke. The park is accessed via Sooke River Road, 5 km north of West Coast Highway 14. The rock pools and potholes were carved naturally into the sandstone bedrock of the Sooke River during the ice age. The water is very clean, clear and cold but is nevertheless a very popular swimming hole for the locals. From here, you can access many trails into the Sooke Hills.
Goldstream Provincial Park is only 16 km northwest of Victoria with lots of hiking trails. Massive 600 year old trees, waterfalls, a river, flowers, birds and fish are the attraction. The hiking trails range from easy, wheelchair accessible to strenuous hikes… Mount Finlayson is a steep climb with parts on rocky faces. From October to December, the park is the scene of the annual salmon spawning run. The Freeman King Visitor Centre offers programs and information about the park.
Gowlland Tod Provincial Park stretches along the east side of Finlayson Arm and Saanich Inlet offering superlative views of the surrounding landscape on hikes up Jocelyn Hill or Holmes Peak. The trails can be challenging at times but the views and exercise are well worth it.
Trek and Treats provides an up-close experience of Canada's West Coast on the Salish Shores Discovery Trail, a multi-day inn-to-inn hiking route across the southern tip of Vancouver Island, near Victoria. Explore this scenic region on a 3–9 day self-guided walking or multi-sports tour. You set your own schedule, detailed maps and route information are provided, accommodations are arranged for you and your luggage is transported from inn to inn.
Elk/Beaver Lake. A very popular park and lake, shared by swimmers, windsurfers, sailors, water-skiers, fishers and rowers. The flat wide trails are designated multi-use, for hikers, cyclists and horseback riders, while others are for hiking only. The hiking trails are rated easy. There are picnic areas, playgrounds, and a fishing float with access for people with disabilities.
Mount Douglas Park features several hiking trails lush with ferns and wildflowers under towering Douglas firs and cedar trees. Trails lead to the summit with a spectacular 360 degree view of Victoria, the peninsula, the islands and the Olympic and Cascade Mountains in the State of Washington. If you don't want to hike all the way up, it is possible to drive up and walk the last few metres to the lookout, but only after 12 noon. (Mornings are reserved for walkers.)
Thetis Lake Regional Park was established as Canada's first nature sanctuary in 1958 and is the perfect place for a family picnic, a swim on a warm day or a walk through the forest. The trails rate from moderate to challenging and go through swamps, Garry oak ecosystems and Douglas-fir forest.
Witty's Lagoon Regional Park is located on the ocean near Metchosin west of Victoria. The large lagoon is a birder's paradise at any time of the year. Hiking trails take you through woodland, past the lagoon and a marsh to a beautiful sandy beach. The trail rating is moderate.
The Galloping Goose Regional Trail used to be a railway line and is now a 55-kilometre multipurpose trail that takes you through urban, rural and wilderness scenery from Victoria to Sooke. The trail is rated easy and accessible to people with disabilities. It's also used heavily by commuting cyclists.
French Beach Provincial Park has lots to offer. Situated on the Strait of Juan de Fuca there are hiking trails, lawns for picnics, a sand and pebble beach and a campground. During spring and fall, you can see whales passing by on their migration route. Otters, seals, and sea lions play in the waves and inhabit the rocks. Many seabirds, eagles and ospreys can be seen flying overhead.