Salish Shores Discovery Trail


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The Salish Shores Discovery Trail begins near Sidney, BC, crosses the Saanich Peninsula to Finlayson Arm, continues south to the Juan de Fuca Straight, then west along a coastal route to Sooke Basin.  You will experience a gradual change in both landscape and local culture along the route - but you can count on welcoming hospitality at each stop.

Read a route summary and day-by-day description below. Location details are posted here. For a detailed itinerary, open this PDF document.  

Route Summary



Duration:   5 - 9 walking days
 
Accommodations: Bed & Breakfasts, Lodges. Examples

Price:  5 walking days / 4 nights: Can $1,250 per person & 5% GST.  Details and more options...

Distances:  12-20 km daily; shuttle to a point along the route available daily.

Terrain:  The geography of southern Vancouver Islands is varied. In one day, you may walk along beaches and gently rolling hills, and later be surrounded by rugged granite peaks of up to 400 metres (985 feet).  Click here for more about the geography and what to expect on the trail.  

Mulit-sport options: Please see the detailed route description and then ask us about cycling part of the way and adding kayaking to your trip.

Inn-to-Inn Hike Itinerary

 

Wilderness Parks and Multisport Options

Segment 1: Crossing the Peninsula

Meet Trek & Treats in the morning of your first hiking day and take time to become familiar with your maps and itinerary.  

Start your walking journey in John Dean Provincial Park on 300 metre high Mt Newton.  Your fist hours will take you through old-growth Douglas fir forest, Arbutus and protected Garry oak meadows and to a lookout spot with unforgettable vistas over the Saanch Peninsula, Haro Strait and snow-tipped volcanos further south: Mt. Baker can be seen, and even Mt. Rainier on a clear day.

Follow trails through Newton Valley, take a short, optional detour to a local historic site, St. Stephen's Church and cemetery or stop for refreshments in the town of Saanichton. Either take a bus for the last 5 km, or hike past farms and fields to your destination, the small town of  Brentwood Bay.

Dinner awaits at one of several waterfront restaurants or pubs.
 

Portland Island: a first or last day option

This uninhabited, protected island combines the best of the gulf islands in quiet remoteness, yet is not too isolated for a day trip. A 7.5 km hike around the permiter of the island crosses beaches, wetlands and bluffs.

This trip is ideal as an added day at the beginning or end of your trip. Visiting Portland Island requires a watertaxi.  Read more about visiting this island and ask us about adding it to your trek.

Segment 1: Extra Day in Brentwood Bay

  • Self-guided or guided kayak or canoe trip               
  • Paddleboarding
  • Yoga classes
  • Eco-cruises in Tod Inlet
  • World-renowned Butchart Garden

Segment 2 – Saanich and the Highlands

Option 1 - Along the Peninsula

On this segment, you will cross some of the oldest farm country in Western Canada or discover the little-known eastern edge of the Saanich Peninsula, the Highlands.

You may want to spend the morning in Brentwood Bay, perhaps paddling or visiting Butchard Gardens and Tod Inlet on foot. Later, join a trail which replaces a former railway line and connects a few interesting sites:

"The Centre of the Universe" is the local name for Little Saanich Mountain or Observatory Hill. Enjoy more awe-inspiring views right from this national historic site, where an early 20th century observatory houses the Plaskett Telescope.

You route then takes you to Glendale Gardens, another local gem, before a final uphill stroll takes you to your friendly B&B.


 

Segment 2

Option 2 - Gowlland Tod Provincial Park

As an alternative for ambitious hikers, this day can be spent hiking the length of Gowlland Tod Provincial Park and into McKenzie Bight. 

A morning shuttle through the Highlands takes you to the start of a demanding hike along a ridge towering 400 m above Finlayson Arm.  The views are phenomenal and we promise that you will be astonished at the wilderness so close to civilization.  You hike takes you down through silent forest into a secluded bay, part of the deepest inlet on the east coast of Vancouver Island. The bay is so protected that swimming in ocean water is possible here during the summer. 

Trek & Treats will meet you in the late afternoon and return you to your B&B.  We recommend a second night in Brentwood Bay with this option.


Segment 3 – To the West Coast

This is a day of contrasts: At the half way mark of your walking journey, you will be in–and-out of civilization en route to the increasingly remote section of this journey. ake quiet forest paths through old forest to scenic Thetis Lake, ideal for a refreshing swim.Stop at the historic roadhouse, the 6-Mile Pub, and then follow the Galloping Goose Regional Trail to Hatley Park & Castle National Historic Site, a picturesque Edwardian estate surrounded by 250-year-old trees, and the location Royal Roads University.

The Juan de Fuca Strait and Olympic Peninsula Mountain range provide a spectacular backdrop from here on.
 

Segment 3 - Extra Day: History and Nature

An additional day at this location is a treat for history buffs, birders, naturalists, garden fanatics, and those just wanting to languish on the deck or a sandy beach to enjoy the views. The B & B provides bicylcles, canoes and kayaks for guests, and wildlife tours by boat can be arranged.

Esquimalt Lagoon, Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site and Fisgard Lighthouse, as well as Hatley Park and Castle are within easy walking or cycling distance.



Segment 4:  To Metchosin 

 

Segment 4 - Extra Day

Follow the shoreline over sandy beaches, through rural neighbourhoods, past waterfall and protected lagoons to the old farming community of Metchosin.

The region’s best burgers are served at My Chosen Café at the tiny village centre. As you walk the country lanes past old farm buildings and fields with sheep and horses, notice the many sign of how much the locals care about their community.

Both, the Lodge at Weir's Beach and Wit's End Retreat on Witty's Lagoon Park, are located in an idyllic locations.  You will not want to leave again!

 
Metchosin is where bucolic farm country borders on rocky, forested hills to one side, and ecologically diverse foreshore habitat to other. Quiet trails connect the landscape, making the area ideal for cycling and walking. 

It is a perfect location for a relaxing, restful day. The accommodations are perfect for spending extra time.

Ocean kayaking from here is phenomenal of experienced paddlers.  Please ask us about the options.
 

Segment 5 – To Sooke Basin

The final lag of your walking journey leads through beautifully undisturbed forest over the historic ‘Bardie Knockie Trail” to a small observatory maintained by the Lester B. Pearson International College of the Pacific. Pause to enjoy the view.

A pleasant hike on the most scenic part of the Galloping Goose Regional Trail takes you past isolated Matheson Lake, which beckons swimmers on a hot day. Alternatively, make your way up to the parallel ridge trail and get deeper into the rugged, rocky forest landscape. Continue to the deep green waters of Roche Cove and on to your B & B on Sooke Basin.


 

 

Segment 5 - Extra Day: East Sooke Park

Hike over the coastal bluffs and inland forests of this park, covering over 1400 hectares, rivaling the Juan the Fuca trail. Over 50 km of trail include the very demanding and equally spectacular 10 km / 7 hour coastal trail, as well as shorter, but no less scenic hikes on well-maintained trails.

You will need transportation to the park, provided by Trek & Treats and possibly one way by bus (if available).  Stop at the hidden Smokin’ Tuna Café on the edge of the park before you return to your B&B for a restful evening on the bay.

 

Segment 6 - Sooke River Trail

Right from your B&B, the Galloping Goose Regional Trail continues into the hills, crossing old railway trestles over picturesque rivers and creeks and taking hikers or cycists to the Sooke River.

Famous of its 'Potholes', or rock formations in the river bed that allow for swimming in the summer, the river also flows through canyons and cascades down rock formations. 

Cyclists can continue to the end of the trail, to a location known as "Leechtown", a formerl bustling gold mining town-turned-ghosttown.

A trip into Sooke by bus or taxi is easily possibly after your hike.

 

Extra Days – Sooke and Surrounding area

You’ve come this far – make the most of your time on the West Coast.
  • Your B & B hosts will tell you about little known walking trails into the Sooke Hills.
  • Kayaking rentals and guided trips are just down the road from your B&B and take you into Sooke Basin with plenty of wildlife, bluffs and bays to explore.  We can make reservations for you or you can leave it until you are here.
  • Or visit to the town of Sooke which is only a short bike- or bus ride away and from here.
  • For an action-packed couple of days, add in a zip-lining adventure.  Again, let us make your reservations or call when you are here.