Hike in VictoriaThese are the best of the best hiking trails in and around Victoria and the reasons why they are great. In order starting from the most beautiful, most scenic, most enjoyable and most interesting. Some are steps from downtown Victoria and others a short to long drive away. The Juan de Fuca Trail is further away at over an hours drive and the world famous West Coast Trail is two hours away.

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 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 VictoriaEssential Hiking Trails VictoriaEasy Hiking Trails VictoriaModerate Trails VictoriaChallenging Trails Day 1 Pachena to Darling Day 2 Darling to Tsusiat Day 3 Tsusiat to Carmanah Day 4 Carmanah to Walbran Day 5 Walbran to Cullite Day 6 Cullite to Camper Day 7 Camper to Thrasher 

The West Coast Trail

Best Victoria Hiking Trails #1

The West Coast Trail is one of the most amazing hikes in the world and it can be found just a two hour drive from Victoria. The WCT combines several characteristics that make it thoroughly wonderful hike to do. First, the location of the West Coast Trail is along the brutally wild west coast of Vancouver Island. This relatively untouched part of the world is a tangled mess of wild, rainforest spilling over the often stormy Pacific Ocean.

The rainforest here is so wonderfully alive that the 75 kilometre route usually snakes through the jungle left and right, but also up and down. There are a bewildering number of wooden ladders, suspension bridges, and even the occasional cable car crossing over large canyons! The ladders are so numerous and stunningly long that you often can’t readily see the bottom as it disappears down into the jungle.

At the base of the ladders at Tsusiat Falls, you can’t help but stare at the complex ladder system you just came down in disbelief. It all looks so rickety and hastily built, but when you climb them, you quickly appreciate how solid and well built they are. They have to be to withstand the harsh, wet weather as well as the thousands of hiking boots hitting each rung. The decades of use have worn two gouges in each rung and exemplify the hardy age of these antique ladders. Another factor that makes the West Coast Trail an essential hiking trail to hike in Victoria is the startling array of wildly different beaches. Each time to emerge from the rainforest to a new beach, you are invariably shocked by the uniqueness and drastic change from the previous beach you saw. If you start your hike from the north you will begin your hike at the beautiful, wide, soft sandy beach of Pachena Bay. The wonderfully wide beach stretches in an arc for kilometres, edged by thick rainforest.

Further up the trail you reach Michigan Beach and then Darling River. The beach here is far less scenic, owing to its exposed rock shelf and messy, sand, rock, driftwood shoreline. There are two attributes, however, that make this beach sensational. First, you notice the remnants of the Michigan shipwreck. A hulking ships boiler wallows on the hostile rock shelf. This monster piece of the Michigan has wallowed here since January 21st, 1893. The Michigan was a 695 ton steam schooner inbound from San Francisco when she plowed into the rocks here and became a part of the Graveyard of the Pacific.

Darling River is just a couple kilometres from Michigan Beach and is yet another wonderful beach. The shipwreck of the Uzbekistan can be found here scattered along the beach. This World War II ship met its end here on April 1st, 1943. The remnants of the Uzbekistan are not impressive like the Michigan’s boiler, however you may notice a strange sound as you poke around the mouth of Darling River. Over the crashing ocean waves you might hear a faint rumbling sound that you soon realize comes from Darling Falls. Just a 5 minute walk from the mouth of Darling River, Darling Falls stays hidden from a shamefully large percentage of West Coast Trail hikers. This perfect little wilderness paradise inhabits a hidden world where a torrent of water spills through a gap in the rock face into a hypnotizingly emerald coloured pool. Though not dramatically tall, the falls are only about 5 metres, the place is an amazing little hideaway that entices you to shed your clothes and jump in.

Why should you hike the West Coast Trail?

The West Coast Trail is a continuous array of surprises, challenges, curiosities, dangers and exhilarating moments. Victoria has a lot of excellent hiking trails, but the West Coast Trail is something special. Almost everyone finds it brutally exhausting and challenging, but almost everyone longs to hike it again, and again, and again. It is just that incredible. Find out more about the West Coast Trail at HikeWCT.com. Details on the best campsites, best sights to see and the most comprehensive online guide to shipwrecks along the West Coast Trail. Find out why it is our pick for the best hiking trail in Victoria.

Juan de Fuca Provincial Park

Best Victoria Hiking Trails #2

The Juan de Fuca Trail is somewhat of a continuation of the West Coast Trail. In fact it was part of the route to Victoria that extends from the West Coast Trail. Though the Juan de Fuca Trail is not as wild and dramatically beautiful as the WCT, it is still fantastic. The 47 kilometre length is broken up by four main trailheads allowing you to hike sections conveniently or even just hike to a marvelous beach for an afternoon.

As Victoria hiking trails go, the Juan de Fuca Trail is hard to beat. Beautiful, wild, west coast sandy beaches backed by untouched wilderness. Waterfalls spill over abrupt rock faces as the ocean waves carve the sandstone cliffs. You find yourself staring at these rock walls, tracing the horizontal lines of rocks formed over millions of years. It is not unheard of to find ancient fossils embedded in the cliffs as paleontologist Gary Kaiser found in 2015. He discovered a 23 million year old fossil bone from a penguin-like bird he named Stemec suntoku.

Juan de Fuca Provincial Park is large and spread out allowing the torrent of visitors from Victoria to thin out a bit along the various trailheads. The trail is very well laid out and marked with mapboards at various spots. Despite the popularity, you may arrive at China Beach and Mystic Falls some mornings and find yourself all alone in this paradise. Certainly during weekdays and outside the warm summer months, this becomes very likely. Sombrio Beach is another trailhead which is popular for surfing and the beach there is particularly serene and beautiful.

The furthest, from Victoria, trailhead to Juan de Fuca Provincial Park is Botanical Beach in Port Renfrew. From downtown Victoria, Botanical Beach is a daunting 110 kilometres(68 miles). Though a couple hours drive away, the drive is often very scenic and there are plenty of great places to stop along the way. Fort Rodd Hill Historic Park and Esquimalt Lagoon are wonderful pit stops along the way as well as the marvelous drive along the coast from Sooke.

Why should you hike the Juan de Fuca Trail?

Juan de Fuca Provincial Park is such a beautifully spread out park that nearly every visitor visits it in parts. Each trailhead is effectively a wonderful day-hike with a huge amount to explore. Each has a uniquely different beach that never gets boring. A Victoria locals favourite place to hike and certainly one of Victoria’s nicest hiking trails. Check out more information, maps, photos and details for Juan de Fuca Provincial Park here.. See why it is one of the essential hiking trails to hike in Victoria.

Goldstream Provincial Park

Best Victoria Hiking Trails #3

Goldstream Provincial Park is an exquisitely beautiful park that has a unique variety of standalone sights within it. To start with, the forest in the park embraces you with monster trees and dense forest that blocks out much of the sky and creates a serenely wonderful world away from the world. Right from the parking lot, just off the highway, you suddenly feel dwarfed by the enormous trees all around you. The trails take you through a nice route through the forest past and sometimes through massive, fallen trees. In the fall the salmon make their yearly salmon run and the stream comes alive with shockingly large salmon thrashing their way up the stream to spawn. This yearly event is hypnotizing. Seeing so many large fish swimming past is such an unaccustomed sight that you tend to stare in amazement for minutes at a time.

Salmon spawning is just one of the marvelous wonders in Goldstream Park. If you continue along the trail past the salmon you will come to a water channel that runs under the highway. Though not an official route to the other side of the park, it is certainly the most scenic. The large tunnel often only has water running along the centre and you can easily walk along the edges where you come out at a magical valley that leads to Niagara Falls. The little valley is surrounded with thick forest and leads to Niagara Falls. Depending on the season, you may find a torrent of water or just a trickle. Either way, the short walk to reach the base of the falls is nice on its own. 

A trail extends up one side of the valley to yet another wonderful sight, the Goldstream Train Trestle. You have to backtrack towards the tunnel under the highway where you will see the trail ascend up to the top of Niagara Falls. The trail is fairly steep, though not that long and in just 15 minutes you will reach the stunning train trestle across a huge valley. This monster museum piece of art has endured the years and is a beautiful sight to see. Not only for the great views, but for a look at an ancient work of engineering art.

The park is also home to another interesting bit of Victoria history, the abandoned gold mine. The Goldstream Gold Mine is cut straight into the mountain and peering into the darkness brings out the kid in you. It's a surprisingly untouched look back in time. A large metal plaque at the entrance lets you know some details of the cave. It reads: This tunnel and nearby shaft are probably evidence of a minor gold rush in the Goldstream area during 1863.  Back across the highway you will find Mount Finlayson. A fairly steep, but short trail takes you from the Goldstream Park parking area up to the summit where you see amazing views of Victoria, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Mount Baker and the Olympic Mountains in the United States.

Why should you check out Goldstream Park?

The wonderful variety of things to see in the park is hard to beat. Mount Finlayson is good for one visit. The train trestle is another beautiful visit to the park. The gold mine is yet another standalone sight to see on another day. So many aspects of this amazing park definitely makes it one of the best and essential places in Victoria to visit and hike. For more info, maps and details for Goldstream Provincial Park click here..

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Tofino Hiking Trails Guide

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Hike WCT West Coast Trail