Fondly nicknamed the “Garden City,” Victoria’s lush landscape is home to a wide variety of breathtaking outdoor spaces. The city’s crowning jewel is Beacon Hill Park.
It spans more than 200 acres from the Capital’s downtown to its shores along the Salish Sea. And with its close proximity to the Inner Harbour, it offers the ideal day hike for the car-free traveler.
But don’t let the word ‘hike’ scare you off. Exploring Beacon Hill Park is more a meandering stroll than back-country trek. Here, elevation gains are limited and even dirt footpaths are well manicured. Paved roads and walkways also abound, which horse-drawn carriages are known to frequent.
The park’s topography varies widely, ranging from rugged coastline and nature preserves to finely manicured flower beds and story-book esc picnic areas. A flock of peacocks call the park home.
So too do a variety of farm animals that take up residence at the Beacon Hill Children’s Farm from early spring through late fall. The furry friends range from goats, sheep and pigs to alpacas, miniature horses, and Guinea pigs. During open hours (spring 10 am – 4 pm, summer 10 am – 4 pm, fall 10 am – 4 pm), children of all ages are welcome to visit the goat petting area.
There are also art attractions in the park, like the park’s infamous Story Pole. Erected in 1956 it stands at just shy of 128 feet. The beautiful design was carved by a team lead by Mungo Martin, Kwakiutl tribal chief and renowned carver. You’ll find it near the park’s southeastern edge.
Start ‘Off the Road’
Maximize your adventure by starting at the Bridge Way entrance located at Douglas St. and Michigan St. Leave the paved road by meandering up the gentle slope to the Garry Oak Meadow. Here you’ll find the grey trunks of Garry Oaks tucked among craggy rocks and thick tufts of grass.
Follow the trail through the park’s center, the Beacon Hill Park Lakes. The man-maintained lakes are shaded by weeping willows and decorated with lily pads. Ducks and turtles alike sun themselves in the water, as everyone from stroller-wielding moms to adventuring locals make their way through the paved walkways.
Visit the Peacocks
Continue on to Sundial Garden. The lovely round floral display is frequented by strutting peacocks. Passing several more lakes, cross over Circle Drive and into the large field, which is filled with wildflowers during the late spring and early summer. Follow the field’s footpath over the small bluff to a row of towering trees. Here you’ll be treated to your first stunning view of the Salish Sea.
Soak in the Coast
To reach the parks highest point, head west to the flagstaff or continue down the field to Dallas Rd. Crossing over Dallas Rd. you’ll enter the park’s leash-optional area. You’ll also enjoy access to its multiple beach access points.
Here, your hike can either be ended by retracing your steps. Or, for more fun, you can take the Dallas Rd. Waterfront Trail west, as it curves along the coast through Holland Point Park and past the Breakwater Lighthouse.
Dogs: Permitted on-leash, accept designated off-leash zone
Tips: Pack a lunch to enjoy at one of the picnic tables. Bring a camera for the incredible vistas.
MORE VICTORIA ADVENTURES!
There’s more to Victoria than the Fairmont Empress and Parliament Buildings. While both of these iconic landmarks are certainly deserving of a visit, B.C.’s quaint capitol is loaded with Instagram-worthy destinations.
When you have just a day to soak up the majestic beauty of Victoria, B.C., don’t let a second go to waste. Hit the streets. Immerse yourself in the culture. And, don’t forget your camera. You’ll want it on this photo walk.
This 24-hour birthday fly away will give you, your friends and your family a taste of Victoria’s rich history, cutting-edge technology and rocking good time vibe.