Your 2-day Saanich staycation: Hike, pedal and paddle!

Where will your summer travels take you? While many of us are staying closer to home for the time-being, the good news is there are few better places to be!

Mike Goldsworthy, Saanich Park Planner and Designer, shared his plan for a two-day adventure through Saanich parks that will have you hiking, biking and paddling through the district.

“With such a diverse array of amenities throughout Saanich, there really is something for all ages to enjoy!” he says.

Day 1 – Quadra-Swan Lake

Day 1 is an eight-kilometre circle route to enjoy by foot or bike, starting and finishing in the North Quadra area.

Start your day at Beckwith Park, with parking, washrooms, playground, playing fields and and a duck pond.

By bicycle or foot, head along the park trail past the duck pond, linking to the North Quadra Local Connector trail or follow Morris Drive south and turning left on Nicholson Street to the Lochside Regional Trail. Heading south on the trail and crossing McKenzie Avenue and Quadra Street, you’ll reach the Swan Trestle. An interpretive sign shares information about the Canadian Northern Pacific Railway, just before you link to the Swan Lake-Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary perimeter trail.

It’s important to note that you must walk your bike while on the sanctuary trail. Head toward the nature house, currently welcoming visitors from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday, where you can learn about the natural habitat and wildlife. (Please note as well that dogs are not permitted in the sanctuary.)

From the sanctuary, cycle to Rainbow Park for a picnic lunch and a chance for the kids to explore one of Saanich’s newer playgrounds.

Fuelled up for the rest of your adventures, head across McKenzie Avenue at the Rainbow Street pedestrian overpass to Vic Derman Park – formerly Christmas Hill Park. “Park your bikes in the racks and enjoy a hike to the top of Christmas Hill for some great views of the city, Juan de Fuca Strait and the Olympic Mountains,” Mike says.

Following the connector trail to Rogers Way, visit the Garry oak habitat of Bruce Hutchison Park, and explore a little of the region’s history with several interpretive signs – a great way to include a little learning with your day’s adventures!

Crossing Quadra Street at Tuxedo Drive, follow the connector trail back to Beckwith Park where you can cool off with a splash in the waterpark!

While the Gorge Waterway is a favourite waterfront destination for joggers and dog-walkers, it’s also popular with paddlers.

Day 2 – Gorge paddle

On the Tillicum end of Gorge Waterway Park, park near the canoe and kayak club, where the adjacent small beach is ideal for launching your kayak or canoe.

Heading right, toward Admirals Road, you’ll avoid the tidal waters and reversing falls that can be tricky under the Tillicum bridge.

Enjoy a quiet paddle to the sandy beach at Craigflower-Kosapsom Park, where you can relax, enjoy a snack and learn about local sealife and the history of the Lekwungen-speaking people. Get immersed in the Esquimalt and Songhees First Nations through the interpretive signage and the legend of Camossung. The kids can stretch their legs at the playground before paddling back, or head under the Craigflower Bridge and into Portage Inlet for more explorations.

Upon your return to the put-in beach, explore the trails around the park to find a special sculpture by Fred Dobbs of Camossung, the protector of the Songhees people’s local food resources of coho salmon, herring, oysters and ducks.

Practical matters: For Day 1, washrooms are available at Beckwith Park and near the Lochside/Blenkinsop trail junction. For Day 2, find washrooms near Craigflower-Kosapsom Park. Both routes also have grocers and cafés nearby.

To discover more in Saanich, find a park here and plan your adventure!


Just Posted

West Shore Rotary Club raises $20,000 with Golf Ball Drop fundraiser

Nearly 4,000 golf balls poured onto Olympic View golf course Saturday

Construction slows weekend traffic at Millstream overpass

West Shore RCMP recommend Leigh Road exit instead

TRAFFIC: Saanich emergency crews responding to Pat Bay Highway collision

Incident took place at Haliburton Road intersection

Saanich race car driver shifts gears as pandemic cuts U.S. season short

Bill Okell, 65, sets sights on Canadian racing circuit for 2020

Work on Sidney’s Reay Creek Dam won’t wrap until 2021

Municipality expects the pond to be ‘partially drained’ again in 2021

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

POLL: Do you agree with the decision to call a provincial election for Oct. 24?

British Columbians will put their social distancing skills to the test when… Continue reading

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Vancouver Island Tour de Rock riders roll into Parksville Qualicum Beach

Saturday’s schedule includes Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Tofino, followed by Nanaimo on Sunday

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Most Read