Hiking is a great exercise because it’s easy to adjust to any level of fitness. You’ll lose weight, encourage healthy bone structure and be exposed to more vitamin D. It’s a cardiovascular activity so it may help you reduce the risk of heart disease. It’s also great for muscle tone as your body, and especially your legs, will work harder on rough terrain.
We’re fortunate to have many beautiful trails on southern Vancouver Island. We thought we’d introduce you to a few of the most popular ones. Go at your own pace and enjoy the outing.
This hugely popular trail is only 2 km but it’s challenging. It’s very steep and will provide you with quite the workout. The views are well worth the climb. From the top you’ll overlook the Bear Mountain Golf Resort and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. You access the trail from the Trans Canada Highway, north of Victoria at Goldstream Provincial Park, in the day-use area.
This trail is 5 km but it can be hiked in smaller sections. It’ll take you a couple of hours. There have been over 160 birds identified in the park. There’s a beautiful beach at the end of the trail where you can enjoy a picnic and soak up some sun. To access the trail take exit 10 north of Victoria, off the Trans Canada highway, and turn left onto Metchosin Road. The entrance to the regional park is well marked.
Coast Trail - East Sooke Park
Hiking the entire trail one-way takes 8 hours so if you plan on doing the whole thing vehicles should be left at either end of the trail. The park contains over 50 km of trails, of which 12 are along the coast. There are several loops that can be done within the trail so you can make your hike as short or long as you wish. The most popular starting point is from Aylard Farms.
The park contains petroglyphs left by the Coast Salish that are hundreds of years old. The coastal views are stunning. To access the trail take exit 14 off the Trans Canada highway north of Victoria and drive towards Sooke.
This trail was developed from a railway line which is no longer in use. It starts in downtown Victoria at the Johnson Street Bridge and goes in two directions. In one direction the trail heads towards Swartz Bay (35 km) and, in the other direction, you’ll go through the Western Communities, ending near the ghost town of Leechtown. This is an even trail with many access points so that residents throughout the region can easily enjoy it. The trail is very popular with cyclists and hikers.
This is just a small sampling of what southern Vancouver Island hikers can explore and enjoy. Get your boots on and visit a trail. Your fitness level will improve.