Victoria Hiking Trails Rating for Witty's LagoonWitty’s Lagoon Regional Park is a wonderful coastal park overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  Located in Metchosin, a scenic and largely rural community that is part of the Western Communities. If you are driving from downtown Victoria, you are just a 30 minute drive away and much of that drive is quite nice.  Fort Rodd Hill and Esquimalt Lagoon are definitely worth visiting on the way to Witty’s Lagoon.

  • Pro's Victoria Hiking TrailsNice, hidden beach
  • Pro's Victoria Hiking TrailsStunning Arbutus trees
  • Pro's Victoria Hiking TrailsNice trails & boardwalks
  • Pro's Victoria Hiking TrailsLots of trail variation
  • Pro's Victoria Hiking TrailsGreat little waterfall
  • Pro's Victoria Hiking TrailsKids love exploring the beach
  • Pro's Victoria Hiking TrailsNice drive out of the city
  • Victoria Hiking Con'sNot as scenic as other beaches
  • Victoria Hiking Con'sA bit ugly when the tide is out
  • Victoria Hiking Con'sBeach smells at low tide

Victoria Hiking Trails

  Victoria Hiking TrailAvatar Grove Victoria Hiking TrailBear Hill Victoria Hiking TrailEast Sooke Park Victoria Hiking TrailElk/Beaver Lake Victoria Hiking TrailEsquimalt Lagoon Victoria Hiking TrailFrancis/King Victoria Hiking TrailGalloping Goose Victoria Hiking TrailGoldstream Park Victoria Hiking TrailGowlland Tod Victoria Hiking TrailGrass Lake Victoria Hiking TrailJohn Dean Park Victoria Hiking TrailJuan de Fuca Trail Victoria Hiking TrailLone Tree Hill Victoria Hiking TrailMill Hill Victoria Hiking TrailMount Doug Victoria Hiking TrailMount Tolmie Victoria Hiking TrailSooke Potholes Victoria Hiking TrailSpectacle Lake Victoria Hiking TrailThetis Lake Victoria Hiking TrailWitty's Lagoon

Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park is a very family friendly park with its large beach, Nature Centre and over 5 kilometres of forest hiking trails. With the tide out a huge salt marsh is revealed, teeming with life. Over 160 species of birds have been documented in the park.  This sand dune ecosystem is fun to explore and attracts bird watchers as well as frolicking dogs.

The cute little Nature Centre is located at the main parking area for Witty’s Lagoon. Here you will find helpful CRD Regional Parks staff and volunteer naturalists ready to answer questions and help introduce you to the park. The Nature Centre is only open weekends and holidays from 12pm to 4pm.

Past the Nature Centre you become immersed in a forest unexpectedly large Douglas-fir trees. The nice, wide trail sloped downward slightly as you walk along Bilston Creek and past Sitting Lady Falls. These falls are not terribly large or impressive, but marvelously scenic in this deep, dark forest. As Victoria hiking trails go, Witty’s Lagoon is not overly exciting. The Thetis Lake trails, for example are much more scenic as they skirt the lake, often from high above. What makes Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park a wonderful place to visit is because of a variety of nice features. The first great feature is its location. Metchosin is a rural, coastal escape from the big city. When you visit the park, you often find longtime locals who evidently visit the park frequently.

The lagoon is a somewhat sheltered oasis overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Whether you are throwing a Frisbee for your dog or relaxing in the sun and looking across the strait to the not so distant United States, Witty’s Lagoon has something for everyone.  If you like to hike beyond the main beach you will encounter a forest trail that skirts the shoreline. The forest is home to some stunning arbutus trees. Massive, bright orange arms stretch out to the ocean. These large trees jut out in the most bizarre directions and often extending parallel to the ground in massive trunks. They seem to entice you to crawl out on one until you find yourself looking down an abrupt cliff to the beach a dozen metres below you.

Witty's Lagoon Regional Park Hike in Victoria

The thickness of these arbutus arms is astounding. Hugging the tree as you shimmy out, you find your arms barely reach halfway around! The boring by comparison Douglas-fir trees rise straight from the ground and disappear into the canopy above. Arbutus trees among the Douglas-firs at Witty’s Lagoon look like giant orange octopus tentacles that follow every direction except up(and straight). It may seem like an odd thing to be impressed by, but the arbutus trees at Witty’s Lagoon are like a massive art exhibit that gets more extraordinary the further you hike. You will find other stunning arbutus trees on other hiking trails in Victoria, but none as wildly beautiful and expansive as the ones at Witty’s Lagoon!

Like most other Victoria parks and hiking trails, Witty’s Lagoon is something special anytime of the year and in any weather. Ideal, sunny summer weather is always nice, but visiting a Victoria park on a rainy mid-week day with often give you the whole park to yourself. Staring out at the Strait of Juan de Fuca on a rainy, winter day reminds you that this is part of the body of ocean known as the Graveyard of the Pacific. A notorious patch of ocean that is so treacherous that it led to the West Coast Trail being formed to facilitate the rescue of shipwreck survivors!

Witty's Lagoon Hike in Victoria

The Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park Trail

Witty's Lagoon Hiking TrailsMost visitors to Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park enter via the main trailhead/parking area. Just steps from your car you will see the nice little Nature Centre. If you are there on the weekend 12pm to 4pm, you will find it open and find some interesting displays about Witty’s Lagoon. Continuing past the Nature Centre you immediately enter a lovely, deep forest of beautifully huge Douglas fir trees and Bigleaf maples. The trails descends gradually down along Bilston Creek and over one of the nice sights in the park, Sitty Lady Falls. These striking falls cascade down onto a large, smooth surface of volcanic rock. The best time to view Sitty Lady Falls is in the winter months when the volume of water is a crashing torrent of water. In the summer it is far less impressive, but still wonderfully idyllic, nestled as it is in the deep, dark forest around Witty’s Lagoon.

Past Sitting Lady Falls the trail descends further until you reach Witty’s Lagoon. The calm water of the lagoon is high on nutrients, relatively warm and shallow. This combination entices a staggering array of wildlife that tolerate both salt water and fresh water. A trail runs through the salt marsh(tidal zone bordering the lagoon). Many of the plants that grow here are devoured by birds that return here yearly to feed.

You can hike along Witty’s Lagoon to reach Tower Point or park at the dedicated Tower Point trailhead parking area for the park. This is the best access point to get you to the wonderful Tower Point area with stunning ocean views as well as the spot to view the geologically significant pillow lava basalt formations. Formed 50 million years ago, these interesting features are well known to geologists. The forest that stretches from Tower Point around Witty’s Lagoon is home to some remarkable arbutus trees. Tremendous, orange trunk sized branches stretch out to the ocean, around other large trees, and evidently wherever they want. These monster trees jut out in the improbable directions and often extending parallel to the ground for a considerable distance. They snake over the cliffs around Witty’s Lagoon and if you are not well acquainted with arbutus trees, cause you to stare in wonder, forgetting about the rest of the park.

Witty's Lagoon Arbutus Tree

Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park Trail Map

Map of Witty's LagoonWitty’s Lagoon Regional Park is easy to navigate through once you are there, but there are a couple access trailheads to consider. The main trailhead is of course the busier of the two. The Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park Tower Point trailhead/parking area has some benefits. First it is at the end of a quiet street, Olympic View Drive, with dedicated parking and a nice trailhead mapboard. If you are using your cars GPS the address is 3934 Olympic View Drive, Victoria. The trail from here is down a green tunnel for a few metres before emerging in an idyllice meadow. Beyond the meadow you reach the forest at the edge of the beach. This is the best place to find the extraordinary arbutus trees mentioned above! Picking a trailhead is not terribly important as the park is fairly small and you can see it all from either trailhead. This trailhead is quite nice owing to how nice the 5 minute trail to the edge of the beach is. Very wild with overgrown, thorny berry bushes. Then a great meadow. Very serene and beautiful way to enter the park. The main entrance to Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park is also nice, however it is not as picturesque and serene!

Witty's Lagoon Regional Park Map

History of Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park

History of Witty's LagoonWitty’s Lagoon Regional Park was established in 1966, but the lagoon’s history can be traced back quite a lot further. About a thousand years ago the Straits Salish people had a settlement here. Several closely related tribes inhabited many areas on both sides of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the Strait of Georgia and much of the San Juan Islands. Some estimates put the first arrival of people to the area at shortly after the last ice age 10,000 years ago. Some traces of village sites have been found in Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park and other parts of Metchosin. Burial mounds, village sites and other signs of First Nations people inhabiting the area for centuries. The first European contact came in 1790 when Spanish explorer Manual Quimper entered nearby Pedder Bay and encountered a group of native people. Other European explorers landed in the area for decades, but it wasn’t until James Douglas and the Hudson Bay Company arrived that Europeans entered the area permanently. In 1842 Douglas looked at Metchosin as the site for their new outpost, before settling on Fort Victoria.

The Hudson’s Bay Company established several farms stretching from Victoria to Metchosin. One of the earliest of these farms was the Bilston Farm, along what would soon become known as Witty’s Lagoon. John Witty was the early settler that farmed the patch of land that surrounded the lagoon. The farms quickly grew in the area and soon herds of sheep and cattle could be seen in the newly cleared farmland. An inland trail existed to Victoria, however most travelled and traded via the much more direct ocean route. The inland route took nearly a day to Victoria, whereas by ship you could get there in a couple hours.

Geology of Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park

Geology of Witty's LagoonWitty’s Lagoon Regional Park is well known to local geologists because of the park’s stunning basalt pillow lava formations. In the excellent book, Geology of British Columbia, the geology of Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park focusses on this remarkable formations in the park.  Under water, molten lava can form into large pillow rock formations.  A wonderful example of pillow basalt is on full display, visible from Tower Beach at the far end of Witty’s Lagoon. These pillows range from less than a metre to several metres wide!  These stunning rocks formed 50 million years ago and knowing that makes the already stunning view from Tower Beach, that much more impressive!

Camping Near Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park

Camping Not Allowed at Witty's LagoonCamping is not allowed in Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park. There is quite a good RV Park/Campground just 7 kilometres past Witty’s Lagoon. It has nice sandy beach and beautiful ocean view. The beach and ocean view are arguably nicer than at Witty’s Lagoon. Weir’s Beach RV Resort is family oriented and you will likely find a lot more RV’s than you will find tents. They are evidently on the RV map as you will likely find this very hidden and remote feeling beach lined with huge and expensive RV’s. The campsite boasts magnificent sunrises, moon glow on the water and twinkling city lights from Victoria. The long sandy beach is wonderful to relax in the sun, throw a Frisbee, go for a walk, dig clams, watch for otters, sea lions, eagles and whales. The sunsets are often extraordinary and the beach looks across to Mount Baker in the United States. Mt Baker is a very conspicuous, snow covered mountain easily visible from Vancouver and Victoria. It is ranked as the second most thermally active crater in the Cascade Range after Mount Saint Helens. Mount Saint Helens, you might recall, famously erupted in 1980, becoming the most deadliest and economically destructive volcanic event in the history of the United States! You can reserve a campsite at Weir’s Beach RV Resort online at their excellent website weirsbeachrvresort.bc.ca.

Facilities at Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park

Nature Centre Witty's LagoonWitty's Lagoon Washroom FacilitiesWitty's Lagoon Has Several Nice ViewpointsWitty's Lagoon Has Several Picnic TablesThere are some nice amenities at Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park. The Nature Centre is a great place to learn about the area’s wildlife and geology. It is manned by CRD Regional Parks staff 12pm-4pm on weekends and holidays. Located at the main trailhead/parking lot and a great place to start your hike. There are nice information kiosks at a few locations in the park. There are wonderfully idyllic picnic areas near the Nature Centre, at Tower Point and down at the beach. Toilets are located at the Nature Centre, Tower Point and down at the beach.

Restrictions and Concerns at Witty’s Lagoon

Witty's Lagoon Prohibits FiresNo Camping Allowed at Witty's LagoonNo Bikes Allowed at Witty's LagoonNo Motorized Vehicles Allowed at Witty's LagoonWitty’s Lagoon Regional Park is very dog friendly as you will quickly discover. In the winter months you don’t have to bother with a leash for your dog. In the summer months, June 1st to Sept 15 dogs are not welcome on the beach, except passing through via the trail. Dogs at this time also must be on a leash and be prepared to pick up after him, no matter where he goes.  As Witty's Lagoon is a day-use park, camping is prohibited as well as beach fires.  No motorized vehicles are permitted and though there are bike racks at the main parking area, bikes are not allowed on the trails in the park.

Wildlife at Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park

Wildlife at Witty's LagoonThere is a wonderful array of wildlife in Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park. At low tide you will encounter hermit crabs and large purple starfish. If you are lucky you will spot seals lurking in the kelp beds. Sea lions are occasionally spotted as well. The variety of birds on display include Canada Geese, Great Blue Herons, Orange Crowned Warblers and quite a lot more! Migrating birds such as Ospreys use the park seasonally as a rest stop before crossing the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Metchosin, the wider area that surrounds Witty’s Lagoon is visited by deer fairly regularly, as well as occasional visits by bears, cougars and elk.  Along with the stunning array of animal life, Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park also has some interesting trees. The lagoon is edged by Garry oaks and arbutus trees. The arbutus trees are marvelously beautiful with their striking orange colour and their impressively huge size. They grow enormous trunk-like branches like giant octopus tentacles through the forest and over the shoreline cliffs. They are hypnotizing in their size, colour and extraordinarily random seeming angles. Several of these impressive monsters hang out over the cliffs near the Tower Point trailhead.

Trailhead & Parking Directions to Witty’s Lagoon

There are two trailheads with parking for Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park.  If you are using your cars GPS, punch in the address 4100 Metchosin Rd which will get you to the main trailhead.  If you want to go to the more serene Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park, Tower Point parking, enter into your GPS this address: 3934 Olympic View Drive.  Driving from downtown Victoria takes about 30 minutes for the 20 kilometre drive, however heavy traffic, usually between 4pm-6pm, can double the driving time to the park.  From downtown Victoria, take Government Street to the Trans-Canada Highway/BC-1 North. In about 15 minutes or 10 kilometres take Exit 10 toward View Royal/Colwood. In about 5 minutes you will pass West Shore Parks & Recreation on your left, look for Ocean Blvd just past it, on your left.  This is an amazing scenic route to Witty’s Lagoon, that barely takes longer than continuing along the highway. Turn left onto Ocean Blvd as if driving to Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Park. Fort Rodd Hill is an amazing, and very inexpensive park, well worth seeing!  If you don’t want to stop at Fort Rodd Hill, continue past the park, staying on Ocean Blvd.  Moments later you will drive past the Lagoon.  Another gorgeous place, well worth visiting, even for 5 minutes.  Beautiful ocean views and beautiful long Canadian beach.  Ocean Blvd cuts through along a narrow strip of land with Esquimalt Lagoon on your right and the open ocean on your left.  At the far end of The Lagoon, take your first right up Lagoon Road.  At Metchosin Road turn left.  Follow Metchosin Road for 5.4 kilometres until you see Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park, main parking lot on your left.

Witty's Lagoon Trailheads & Parking

Biking Directions to Witty’s Lagoon

Walking to Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park from downtown Victoria is a bit unrealistic as it is over 20 kilometres away.  Biking, however, is an unexpectedly amazing way to get there.  In downtown Victoria the wonderful Galloping Goose Trail starts(or ends).  Ride along this beautiful multi-use trail which follows the old train route and rarely encounters cars!  From the start of the trail off Harbour Rd, ride 11.6 kilometres until you come to Six Mile Road.  If you want to check out a beautiful and historic pub, turn left here and follow Six Mile Road down to the pub.  If you don’t want to check out the pub, continue on the Galloping Goose Trail until you come to an abrupt end at Sooke Road/Island Highway 1A(14 kilometres from the start of the Galloping Goose Trail.  The Galloping Goose Trail continues directly across the highway, but it veers away toward Sooke and away from where you want to go. Instead, you want to get onto Ocean Blvd which is just across the highway on the right.  You can cross the highway here, then follow a paved route to Ocean Blvd.  Or you can not cross the highway, and turn left and cross at the first intersection, which is Ocean Blvd.  Bike along Ocean Blvd as if you were heading toward Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Park. Fort Rodd Hill is an amazing, and very inexpensive park, well worth seeing!  If you don’t want to stop at Fort Rodd Hill, continue past the park, staying on Ocean Blvd.  Moments later you will drive past the Lagoon.  Another gorgeous place, well worth visiting, even for 5 minutes.  Beautiful ocean views and beautiful long Canadian beach.  Ocean Blvd cuts through along a narrow strip of land with Esquimalt Lagoon on your right and the open ocean on your left.  At the far end of The Lagoon, take your first right up Lagoon Road.  At Metchosin Road turn left.  Follow Metchosin Road for 5.4 kilometres until you see Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park, main parking lot on your left.

Public Transit Directions to Witty’s Lagoon

Victoria is a very public transit friendly city and getting to Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park is surprisingly easy.  From downtown Victoria you just have to take two buses. The #50 bus and the #54 bus.  You can catch the #50: Langford bus from Douglas Street.  You will be getting off 40 minutes later at the Westshore Shopping Mall.  Get on the #54 Metchosin bus here and let the driver know you would like to go to Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park.  He will then know to stop at the bus stop at Witty’s Lagoon about 20 minutes from Westshore Shopping Mall.

Hike in Victoria

  Victoria Hiking TrailAvatar Grove Victoria Hiking TrailBear Hill Victoria Hiking TrailEast Sooke Park Victoria Hiking TrailElk/Beaver Lake Victoria Hiking TrailEsquimalt Lagoon Easy Pay Hiking Trail VictoriaFort Rodd Hill Victoria Hiking TrailFrancis/King Victoria Hiking TrailGalloping Goose Victoria Hiking TrailGoldstream Park Victoria Hiking TrailGowlland Tod Victoria Hiking TrailGrass Lake Victoria Hiking TrailJohn Dean Park Victoria Hiking TrailJuan de Fuca Trail Victoria Hiking TrailLone Tree Hill Victoria Hiking TrailMill Hill Victoria Hiking TrailMount Doug Victoria Hiking TrailMount Tolmie Victoria Hiking TrailSooke Potholes Victoria Hiking TrailSpectacle Lake Victoria Hiking TrailThetis Lake Victoria Hiking TrailWitty's Lagoon VictoriaVictoria VictoriaAttractions VictoriaAttractions VictoriaEasy Hiking Trails VictoriaModerate Trails VictoriaChallenging Trails 

Victoria Hiking Trails

Mount Tolmie is another beautiful, easily accessed mountain in Victoria with 360 degree ocean and city views.  On a clear day you can spot Mount Baker far ...
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Spectacle Lake Provincial Park is popular with hiking, fishing, canoeing and swimming.  Located north of Victoria, the drive to get there is very beautiful and ...
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Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park is a wonderful coastal park overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  Located in Metchosin, a scenic and largely rural ...
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The Juan de Fuca Trail is a beautiful wilderness trail that hugs the west coast of Vancouver Island between Jordan River(north of Sooke) and Port Renfrew.  ...
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Goldstream Provincial Park and Mount Finlayson are beautiful places that are definitely a must-see on any visit to Victoria.  Huge coastal rainforest trees ...
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Clayoquot Hiking Trails

Radar Hill is absolutely one of the Tofino area sights not to be missed.  It's a quick and easy walk to the top and the views are beautiful.   Definitely one ...
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Meares Island was the centre of dispute in the 80's when the Nuu-chah-nulth protested Macmillan Bloedel's intent to log the island.  The Nuu-chah-nulth ...
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Radar Beach is one of the countless places that makes this part of the world so amazing.  It is difficult to get to due to it having an unmarked trailhead, ...
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Hot Springs Cove is a wonderful day trip from Tofino.  Lots of whale watching companies offer whale watching/hot springs tours for very reasonable prices.  The ...
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At 53 metres, Virgin Falls is quite an impressive sight.  You walk through the short, two minute forest trail to reach it and it fills your view.  It is ...
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The West Coast Trail

When shipping in and out of Juan de Fuca Strait rapidly increased in the mid 1800's and alarming and costly number of ships were lost, the need for a ...
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The West Coast Trail is incredible. Everything about it is amazing. From the wildly, incomprehensibly enormous trees to endless jaw dropping views. And ...
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The West Coast Trail hiking season is confined to just five months due to the dangerously stormy weather during the winter months. In the winter the days ...
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There are three entry/exit points for the West Coast Trail, however the midway entry/exit point at Nitinaht Narrows is for hikers only hiking part of the trail. ...
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There are lots of options to getting to the West Coast Trail. The trail is linear so you have to arrange to get to the trailhead as well as from your exit ...
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The West Coast Trail is a very tough hike. About one out of one hundred hikers don't make it, they need to be rescued. That's why there are so many fees. ...
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