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post #1 of (permalink) Old 10-19-2021, 04:39 AM Thread Starter
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Default Victoria Trails

This on-going thread will aggregate trip reports of various walking and hiking trails in and around Victoria on Van Island. The inspiration and main reference is Victoria Trails website; each individual post will also include TR link back to this site that provides all kind of logistics beta you will ever need so I will not replicate here, only post my own pics and personal experience


These TR's will be different from grand alpine posts I make in Rockies forum, but hopefully no less interesting. And if you know of some trail not listed on Victoria Trails please post here. Enjoy!


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[Spectacular Waterfall on Mystic Beach, Juan De Fuca region]


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[Sunset over Strait of Juan de Fuca from China Beach]
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 10-19-2021, 08:25 PM Thread Starter
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Trail #1: Mystic Beach

Victoria Trails Report Link

This is just first part of Juan De Fuca Marine Trail; short 2km gradual drop through second growth coastal forest to very beautiful beach that also has campsite, along with tidal charts and food cache. Despite being very docile it still has some muddy sections and parts are rooty and rocky, it will take almost an hour. Final drop to the beach is on a flight of stairs. JDF continues at far (west) side & it was closed on this day (Oct 18 '21). Beyond there are some caverns worth exploring. On the east side is beautiful waterfall dropping right into the tide - whole trip is more than worth just because of this. Photo story:


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[Suspension bridge ~900m into the hike; very solid & doesn't sway at all]


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[One of campsites; for someone used to Rockies campgrounds this is very different, small pebbles for floor, sheltered with driftwood. Tide line is something to watch for when picking up tent site]


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[Interesting Note; not sure why there is Canada logo instead of BC Parks as this is not National Park]


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[Mystic Beach from the west end looking back at point when JDF climbs back up in the forest]


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[Neat caverns at west end, probably submerged at high tide]




Finally couple of shots of that waterfall; First time I was here couple of years ago in June it was just a trickle, much different in October

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Scenic coastal hike & very nicely combined with short China Beach trail on the other side. GPS based map and elevation profile:

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Full trip report on personal site here

Last edited by zeljkok; 10-22-2021 at 02:11 AM.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 10-22-2021, 02:08 AM Thread Starter
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Trail #2 : China Beach

Victoria Trails Report Link

This is a short walk only about 1km, often combined with Mystic Beach (Trail #1 ). If doing so suggested order is Mystic first, China last. Upper part of the trail descends through second growth forest and is wheelchair accessible, then narrows to single track reaching the platform overlooking the beach. Final drop to the surf is on a flight of wooden stairs. Beach is easier to walk on than Mystic and I went for at least a km east, before wide creek that would need taking shoes off stopped me. Sunsets are fabulous and if you can hit it right make sure you bring the tripod. Think it is possible to link with trails descending from front-country China Beach campground, but I haven't verified. Pics:


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[Initial Part descending through second growth forest is wheelchair accessible]


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[Surf on China Beach looking NW across Strait of Juan De Fuca]


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[Freshwater source on the Beach - walk on log, or simply jump over]


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[Rocky Part on the south side, just before sizeable creek that would require taking shoes off if continuing further]


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[Wide Sunset Panorama from south part of China Beach]


Full trip report on personal site here
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 10-25-2021, 01:56 AM Thread Starter
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Default Thetis Lake

Trail #3: Thetis Lake Loop

Victoria Trails Report Link

There are several lakes in Victoria vicinity but Thetis is probably nicest. It is the Regional Park and one of most visited. No wonder - there are two lakes (lower and upper), network of hiking/walking/running trails, couple of beaches and in summer I've seen divers too. Main parking by South Beach is free after Oct 1, paid in summer season. There are also several smaller roads through the park people leave their cars but I won't go into details. It is a bit convoluted getting here - exit 10 coming from downtown Vic, then Island Highway and right onto Six Mile Road. There is any number of possible hiking routes and it is easy to orient because junctions are marked. I did CCW around lower and upper lakes, with brief diversion right at the start to "Seymour Hill" - a bluff with open views, and only real bit of elevation gain. On the other side followed several smaller trails to open bluffs with nice views; too bad weather was not clear for better pics. Pics:


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[South Beach pano. Very popular family spot, reminded me of main beach on Buntzen Lake]

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["Aerial" view of lower Thetis lake from Seymour Hill]

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[Couple of girls enjoying Seymour Hill panorama]

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[Lots of nice forest walking along the way]

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[One of junction markers, again very easy to orient yourself; there are also maps at couple of spots]

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[Lovely Autumn colors while crossing one of several wood bridges at upper Lake trail]

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[Plenty of Fungus as well]

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[Water is calm and reflects well the foliage]

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[View of Seymour Hill from little bluff on other side of lower Lake, near closing of the loop]



Stats came to 8.5km and 250m elevation, but if you are just going to loop around both lakes on main trail it will be ~5km with under 100m.
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Full trip report on personal site here
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Last edited by zeljkok; 10-26-2021 at 02:28 AM.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 10-25-2021, 04:23 PM
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Thetis Lake was one of my favorite places when I lived in the area. I also liked Roche Cove and Matheson Lake trails.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 10-25-2021, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solo75 View Post
Thetis Lake was one of my favorite places when I lived in the area. I also liked Roche Cove and Matheson Lake trails.

I thought nobody was reading this ;=)

Ya, Thetis is nice. Too bad weather sucks for nicer photos. Roche Cove / Matheson is on the list as well as Sooke if I can get bluebird day
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 10-26-2021, 02:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zeljkok View Post
I thought nobody was reading this ;=)
I'm reading! May have opportunity to visit Van Island in August 2022.
Beautiful photos; thanks!
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 10-30-2021, 02:14 AM Thread Starter
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Trail #4: Witty's Lagoon

Victoria Trails has it as 2 separate trails: Tower Point and Witty's Lagoon, but both are in Witty's Regional Park and easily done together - although they don't connect directly. This is the area map:

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[Tower Point bottom right, while main Witty network of trail is center - center/left. I moved the car but one could connect via residential Olympic street if wanted]

Sometimes best things happen when you expect little. I thought it would be quick "beach park hike", but it it turned out much more. Basically it is Stanley Park on steroids. Tower Point is quick stroll to beautiful bluff with far reaching views across Strait of Juan De Fuca, but main Witty area has it all -- major waterfall, great forest trails with autumn colors, lagoon views and finally classic Pacific coast beach. I did Tower first, but if coming here in the afternoon it is probably better to save it for the end as Sunset is better enjoyed from there. Pics:


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[Tower Point - great to have lunch here!]

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[Creek Cascades - I thought this was "Sitting Lady Waterfall", but it was just a prelude - waterfall is further down, and very beautiful. When you get to junction (marked), go left first for great views of the falls, then return to main beach trail]

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[Sitting Lady Falls - there are wood platforms with railings, and above is also amphitheater - Learning Center. Continuing one can hike for quite awhile above the lagoon and connect with Tower Point via residential]

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[Nice views of Witty's Lagoon from Beach trail (1.5km from parking to the beach)]

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[Witty's Beach - there was picnic area with restrooms, it is probably popular with families on weekend, but I had it to myself]

There are all kinds of birds here because it is freshwater meeting the ocean. If you are in the area it is well worth spending the afternoon for undemanding but very scenic outing.


Detail report with more photos on personal site here
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Last edited by zeljkok; 11-04-2021 at 07:13 PM.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 10-31-2021, 07:51 PM
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This area looks very refreshing for the spirit.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 11-01-2021, 02:34 AM Thread Starter
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Trail 5: East Sooke Coast Trail / Mount Maguire



Most Vic trails are casual walks in the park, but there is some real hiking here too. Enter East Sooke Regional Park. This was pointed to me some years ago by solo75 in this Forum, and it is a special place. Coast Trail is ~11km rugged route between Pike Road in the west and Aylard Farm to the east. It leads itself naturally to 1-way traverse, but it is a full day & it leaves transport problem. This is not the only trail in the park -- interior has network of forest trails that are well marked and allow for different strategies. This is Parks Trail Map PDF, which I strongly recommend you download to your phone from here before heading over:
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Coast Trail is beautiful; I have no other words to describe it. Sweeping views across Strait of Juan De Fuca over to Olympic Peninsula are just part of it; there are small bays, coves, bluffs, forest etc. It is not an easy trail - there is constant up/down, scrambling over bluffs that can be tricky when wet after rain. In the past I've hiked from both ends, but not the central part. Eventually I wish to present entire trail as single Unit on personal website; so on this day I thought I'd cover with GPS west half. On return, instead of returning the same way I explored interior trails including scramble up highest point in the park - "Mount" Maguire (270m elevation). This is the map of my itinerary:
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Due to constant up/down elevation gain for the day came to ~750m with 17km, most of reasonably demanding terrain. Maguire is nice viewpoint & I timed whole day to be there for sunset, but descent with headlamp was quite tricky. Here is the pictorial, including side-diversion to Pike Point near the start:


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[East Sooke Park from Pike Point - one could easily spend entire day here gawking at scenery. Coast Trail follows bluffs center-left to distant Cabin Point which I've hiked to from the east before]


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[Iron Mine Bay - this is where Coast Trail begins. It is an easy 30min walk from Pike Road parking to get here]


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[Bit of Mining History at Coast Trail start]


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[Classic bit of Coast Trail - top on open bluff, scramble down on other side, cross creek, then back up - real hodge-podge and great fun]


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[One of many open viewpoints on Coast Trail - this is reason why going is slow, because you are constantly reaching for the camera or doing short side trips "Let me just see what is over there"]


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[Spotted couple of divers!]


Upon reaching Parkheights junction, followed this trail inland to Interior Trail then linked with Copper Mine / Anderson Cove & dashed up Maguire:


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[Park bench at Maguire "summit". It is still too low & basically opening in the woods, but still feels great. Was here too late, having underestimated nature and length of Interior Trail between Parkheights and Copper Mine]


Victoria Trails made several entries for this -- Mount Maguire, Iron Mine Bay, Aylard Farm to Beechey Head so coupled with this report this should be enough to do your own planning. For the end I will just say - Coast Trail in East Sooke is special. I've hiked much more than my fair share in this lifetime and standards are high as I have plenty to choose from, but it would easily make it inside top 20. Check it for yourself if you get a chance.
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Last edited by zeljkok; 11-01-2021 at 02:40 AM.
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 11-01-2021, 10:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zeljkok View Post
Coast Trail in East Sooke is special. I've hiked much more than my fair share in this lifetime and standards are high as I have plenty to choose from, but it would easily make it inside top 20.
I agree. I especially like the starting point from Becher Bay Rd as the coastline is quite rugged there. I normally find that walking along the ocean is more refreshing than in the forest so its a special place for sure.
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post #12 of (permalink) Old 11-03-2021, 08:44 PM
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Very cool - East Sooke looks like Lighthouse Park on steroids!
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post #13 of (permalink) Old 11-03-2021, 11:49 PM Thread Starter
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;=) There are certainly similarities with Lighthouse Park, but East Sooke is considerably bigger & coast is more wild


Speaking of steroids, there is rain on steroids. Maybe I conveniently forgot certain things, but getting piece of blue sky is premium & it was only October.
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post #14 of (permalink) Old 11-06-2021, 02:03 AM Thread Starter
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Trail #6: Matheson Lake - Roche Cove

Metchosin / Sooke trip that reminded me of lower parts of Golden Ears in Maple Ridge. Victoria Trails has it as 2 separate entries (Matheson Lake and Roche Cove), but distances are short and both can easily be done OnB in half-day. Link between the two is famous Galloping Goose cycling trail. Several years ago I cycled Galloping Goose from downtown Vic to Sooke Potholes and remembered serene scenery with network of easy trail begging to be explored. Park is very well maintained with marked junctions and trail maps at several places:
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Starting at Matheson Lake parking lot ("Gate closed after Sunset") I followed right (north) side trail around the lake to Intersection with Galloping Goose, then continued on GG to Roche Cove. Crossed Gillespie Road to viewpoint of Sooke Bay, then on the way back took Matheson Creek Trail and looped on the south side back to Matheson Parking. It goes like this:
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There are some possible extensions, namely Cedar Grove on Roche Cove side and "Mount" Matheson on Matheson Lake side, but I left that for next time. Photo Story:

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[Matheson Lake Trail Sign at beach ~100m from Parking Lot]

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[View back of Matheson Lake from little bluff on north side of the lake]

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[Galloping Goose junction; 33km is from downtown Vic (I think)]

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[Galloping Goose - easy, but very enjoyable cycling. If you are curious about this trail but don't know much about it, here is good link]

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[Typical Pacific Northwest scenery along GG]

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[Amanita Muscaria - don't eat these!]

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[Interesting Forest details]


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[View of Roche Cove from GG, nearing Gillespie Road Parking lot]

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[Roche Cove Park Table at Gillespie Parking]

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[Sooke Bay pano at other side of Gillespie Road; there was nice bench here & I had lunch watching seals slapping around]


This is a nice park well worth visiting & I enjoyed it quite a bit.
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Last edited by zeljkok; 11-06-2021 at 02:07 AM.
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post #15 of (permalink) Old 11-08-2021, 01:12 AM Thread Starter
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Trail #7: Mount Tolmie

It is hard to call Tolmie a mountain as it is just a small hill near UVic, and even harder to designate this as hiking trail as it is possible to drive all the way to the top. But as this series is inspired by Victoria Trails site and they have entry for Mt. Tolmie, I include it here as well. Drove to parking on top on windy Mayfair drive coming from south, waited out showers in the car then got out for 20min stroll. Views are rather good as you are a bit elevated and can see all the way to Sooke and across Juan De Fuca to Olympic Peninsula. When clear one can probably see Mt. Baker to the east. Followed some wide paths on north side then loop returned over some rather slippery slabs. On a crisp day I'd recommend driving up here for the views. Some pics:


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[Direction Marker on top]

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[Looking north below the "summit"; that hill is Mt. Douglas in Saanich where I went next]

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[Hiking back up to parking lot via some short bluffs]

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["Summit" pano looking SW across Victoria towards cloudy and rainy Sooke]
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