So you are on Vancouver Island and you’d like to see some more of that scenic Canadian landscape everyone gets excited about? You can’t bother to walk the whole West Coast Trail but you want to explore more than just Victoria’s parks? Then, these three recommendations are just perfect for you. All of these relatively short walks can be reached within 30 to 60 minutes from Victoria Downtown and are suitable for young and old adventurers alike!
1. Goldstream Trestle Bridge
What a gem for adventurous souls! This walk leads you right into the beautiful Goldstream Provincial Park which is a well-known tourist destination due to its conveniently close distance to Victoria. Every fall, many people come to watch the annual salmon run there. We, however, headed there for a different reason: A friend of us had heard about this huge, old train bridge one could walk over and we were immediately hooked. The Goldstream Trestle Bridge (aka “Niagara Canyon Bridge” or “Cisco Bridge”) is 160m long and was originally produced in England. It was first set up somewhere else in Canada before it got moved to the Goldstream area in 1910. Today, it remains North America’s oldest surviving cantilever truss bridge and it seemed to be a solid one since they only stopped using it in 2011 due to a light sagging.
The short scramble up there offers some nice views on the Niagara Waterfalls (no, not the ones in America…) and is not too demanding length-wise. It’s well worth it because the bridge is pretty impressive – not only for architects. And yes, you may walk over it. Trust us though, this lofty walk is not suitable for people who are afraid of heights. We also feel obliged to point out that it’s not officially open for pedestrians (although the park management has issued no pressing warnings about dereliction) so please mind your steps. Oh and if you still feel energized after this adventure, you should climb up Mt. Finlayson nearby!
2. Mt. Manuel Quimper (478m)
We did this 13km walk with a couple of friends from the Metchosin Farm and would totally recommend it on a sunny day because it offers some fairly enjoyable views over the coast. On your way up, you’ll pass beautiful old trees covered with thick curtains of moss and you can take a break in the old firehouse on the top. In summer time, you could even sleep in there although it only offers minor shelter and no woodstove or any other furniture. In former times, it was used to watch out for forest fires which occasionally happen in BC and which can have devastating consequences.
3. Mt. Wells (352m)
Mount Wells is the perfect summit if you only have 1-2h of daylight left but want to combine a decent workout with nice views! You probably don’t have to bother about bringing snacks because it’s a rather short walk but your legs will burn nicely once you’ve scrambled up the steep path!
P.S. One hike that still remains on our list for that area is the scenic Coast Trail near Sooke so do look it up if you’re around!! Personally, we used these websites to find more detailed information about trails in BC: