Willowbrae Trail 3.4 km round trip trail traces a portion of the pioneer route linking Ucluelet and Tofino. This wooded trail begins from a small gravel lane marked WIllowbrae Road, found 2 kms south of the Tofino-Ucluelet junction.
Gold Mine Trail This 3 km round trip trail leads you along Lost Shoe Creek, once a site for gold panning, to Florencia Beach. After the prospecting ceased, this area was also logged and planted as a tree farm. Trail involves no stairs but storm waves and river action have removed a bridge. The stream route changes often, so beach access may not be available at the end of the trail.
South Beach Trail 1.5km round trip trail, departs from behind the Wickaninnish Centre, and follows the moss-draped forest fringe of the shore along coves such as Lismer Beach. The trail is level until the boardwalk ascends the headlands for a vista of the coast and access to South Beach itself. This pebble beach is famous for the music of stones rolling in the surf, and dramatic high waves breaking over the rocky points. Beware the waves.
Wickaninnish Trail This 5km trail links Long Beach to Florencia Bay. Follow South Beach Trail then turn left at the sign found at the top of the first hill, for a nice rainforest walk. Hiking shoes are advised, trail can be muddy after a rain. Trail ends at a parking area near a coastal viewpoint.
Shoreline Bog Trail This 0.8 km boardwalk loop is an easy and fascinating self guided nature tour of the unique bog environment. Stunted and twisted shorepine trees, hundreds of years old, grown only metres tall. Multiple color sphagnum, or peat moss, grows in hummocks several metres deep, and tiny sundews with sticky leaves trap insects for nutrients.
Rainforest Trail Two 1 km trails explore the magical world of a pristine old growth rainforest. The boardwalk leads you through centuries of growth, where gigantic trees and ancient fallen logs are carpeted with hanging gardens of moss, ferns and young trees. Loop A uses interpretive signs to explore forest life cycles, Loop B emphasizes forest structure and inhabitants such as the salmon which spawn in the cool protective shade of sandhill creek.
Spruce Fringe Trail This 1.5 km loop trail, starting at Combers Beach parking lot, is a self guiding nature trail exploring the dramatic effect of the ocean's high winds on a Sitka spruce forest. The gentle trail leads you from the log fringe of the beach where the bent and weathered spruce take a brave hold, to the mature forest growing progressively more diverse as the ocean's salt and wind effects grow more remote.
Schooner Beach Trail This 1 km trail leads you through a lovely mature rainforest, over a moss draped stream, and down a series of stairs to a very scenic beach on Schooner Cove. This wide secluded cove is the northern end of Long Beach.
The Morrell Nature Sanctuary in Nanaimo offers 11.5km of easy walking, self-guided interpretive trails through the forest.
Easy hiking trail on Salt Spring Island is at Duck Creek, located half a kilometre along Sunset Drive, off Vesuvius Bay Road. A clearly marked two-kilometre loop trail popular for families with small children. Longer and more challenging hiking trails can be found at the south end of the island on Mount Tuam and Mount Bruce. These trails can lead to fantastic views, but if you are planning on exploring this area, a map and a compass are recommended. Salt Spring and many of the Gulf Islands offer excellent cycling trails also - see the section covering the Gulf Islands for more information.
Hiking in Mount Parke Regional Park on Mayne Island will reward you with a beautiful view across Swanson Channel and beyond. The 270-metre climb may take 45 minutes one way.
The trailhead to the popular Paradise Meadows loop trail is located at the parking lot of the Mount Washington nordic ski area, 25 km from Courtenay. The entire family can enjoy the easy 2.2 km trail and boardwalk through meadows, seasonally carpeted with lupines, heathers, paintbrush monkey-flowers and violets. Those wanting a longer hike can explore the Lake Helen McKenzie loop trail that begins in Paradise Meadows. A three to four hour walk along an easy trail that winds through forests of yellow cedar, amabalis fir and mountain hemlock.
30-minute self-guided interpretation route on the Dalrymple Creek Nature Trail in Sayward.
Cycling is an ideal way to explore Denman & Hornby
Islands as traffic is light and most roads are paved. Helliwell Provincial
Park features a 5 kilometre circle walk which includes the spectacular
Helliwell Bluffs. Mt. Geoffrey Regional Nature Park occupies the central
part of Hornby Island and is laced with a network of public hiking/cycling
trails. Cycle shops offer rentals and services as well as directions
to the various routes.
Galloping Goose Trail - 60 km
Offers hiking & cycling. Relatively flat through diverse landscapes beginning at the Johnson Street Bridge in Victoria through the communities of Colwood, Langford, Metchosin & Sooke. Dive right off the trail at Glen Lake in Langford for a cool swim or Matheson Lake. For joggers, hikers and roller bladers there are many transit routes which intersect the Galloping Goose and Peninsula Trails. Low floor buses on four suburban bus routes are bike rack equipped, each rack holding two bikes. Route 50 Goldstream, Route 70 Pat Bay Highway, Route 61 Sooke and Route 75 Central Saanich. Pick up a transit Rider's Guide or call the BUSLINE 382-6161. The Galloping Goose and Peninsula Trails Maps are available at the Provincial Capital Commission, 613 Pandora Street, Tourism Victoria Infocentre, 812 Wharf Street and CRD Parks, 490 Atkins Avenue, Victoria.
East Sooke Park
This park offers hikers all levels from casual half-hour walks to challenging full-day treks. For an easy two-hour hike, take the Coast Trail from Aylard Farm to the ancient rock carvings at Alldridge Point. On the return trip, stop for a refreshing swim at Aylard Beach. More experienced hikers may want to take the seven-hour route along the Coast Trail from Pike Road to Aylard Farm. Consult a park map before heading out and be sure to allow enough time to return to your car before dark. 478-3344 for more info.
Strathcona Provincial Park
Well equipped hikers can tackle the climb to Mt.
Becher. The trail begins at the Forbidden Plateau ski lodge and takes
about five hours for the round trip. This challenging hike provides panoramic
views of the Comox Valley, the Strait of Georgia and the snow-capped peaks
of the Coast Mount Range. For a more lengthy description of trails
in Strathcona Provincial Park, see 'Sports & Recreation' - 'Wilderness
Routes' in the directory.
Goldstream offers a visitor centre open from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, a picnic site, and a 160-site camping area. An extensive network of trails winding through ancient forests, majestic waterfalls and a fascinating diversity of plant and animal life. The park is also famous for the run of spawning salmon in the fall. To reserve a campsite call 1-800-689-9025. For information on Goldstream Park Interpretive Programs call 250-478-9414.
Arbutus Loop - Connects Arbutus Ridge and Prospectors'
Trails passing through an interesting stand of arbutus trees. - 15 minutes.
Arbutus Ridge - From Campsite 40 in the
campground to a parking lot on the Island Highway about mid-way between
the campground and day-use entrances. Passes through the drier upland
areas of the park. Colourful flowers along the way from April to June.
Side trails connect with Prospectors' Trail. - 1 1/2 hours one way.
Gold Mine - Starts at a parking lot about
mid-way between the campground and day-use entrances and leads to Niagara
Creek past abandoned gold rush days' diggings. Crosses Niagara Creek
near the brink of 47.5 metre (154 ft.) Niagara Falls. A short side trail
provides access to a spectacular railway trestle - 1 hour one way.
Gold Mine North - An extension of the Gold
Mine Trail from Niagara Creek to a parking lot where the creek passes
under the Island Highway - 15 minutes one way.
Goldstream (Lower) - From the picnic ground
the trail skirts the lower reaches of the Goldstream River and connects
with the Visitor Centre Trail. At the junction turn left to return to
the picnic ground or turn right for the Freeman King Visitor Centre.
Look for mink and river otter; spawning salmon in autumn and salmon
fry in summer. 15 minutes one way.
Goldstream (Upper) - Parallels the Goldstream
River form the campground gatehouse to Goldstream Falls (height 8 metres,
26 ft.). Passes by some of the oldest and largest trees in the park.
Access trails at Campsites 60 and 75. 1/2 hour one way.
Prospectors' - Connects the campground
at Campsite 7 with the picnic ground at Finlayson Arm Road. Along the
trail are giant Douglas-firs beside the Goldstream River contrasting
with the oak and arbutus trees of the drier upland slopes. 1 1/2 hours
Swan Lake/Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary
Two distinct ecological areas. 47 Hectares of fields and hedgerows that surround Swan Lake and 11 hectares of rocky hilltop and Garry Oak forest on Christmas Hill. 2.5 km trail circles the lake, complete with two wharfs and a floating boardwalk. Watch for river otters and muskrats during the summer and a variety of birds year round. Nature House has interpretive displays, hands-on exhibits and a library. Trail Guides are available. Minutes from downtown Victoria on Swan Lake Road, near MacKenzie Avenue and Highway 17. Call 479-0211 for more info.
For Information on West Coast Trail, Strathcona Provincial Park, Juan de Fuca Marine Trail, and others see 'Sports & Recreation' - 'Wilderness Routes' in the directory.