Posted by: cherylyoung | November 1, 2013

20 minutes from the Schwarts Bay Ferry and you can walk until you drop.

Gowlland Tod Provincial Park is located on the

east shore and uplands of the picturesque Saanich

 Inlet on Vancouver Island.

 The park protects a significant part of the

Gowlland Range, one of the last remaining natural

areas in Greater Victoria, and a portion of the

natural shoreline and uplands in Tod Inlet, which

adjoins the Saanich Inlet south of Brentwood Bay

 near Butchart Gardens.

The presence of First Nations peoples is evident at

 Tod Inlet, the place of Blue Grouse.


They also utilized numerous sites within the park

 for medicinal, ceremonial and spiritual


Included in this park are representative examples

 of the rare, dry coastal Douglas-fir habitat that

features old-growth forest, wildflowers, and stands

 of arbutus and manzanita.


In the afterglow of goodwill that followed Victoria’s

hosting of the 1994 Commonwealth Games, local

and provincial governments, as well as interested

 private companies, joined together to create the

Commonwealth Nature Legacy.

The grand purpose of the project was to further

protect the remaining natural spaces that surround

the ever-expanding city of Victoria, and Gowlland

Tod Provincial Park was created as a result of

this legacy.


Tod Inlet has long been valued for its natural beauty,

ecological significance and recreational

opportunities, providing a safe and secluded

overnight anchorage, and marine access to the park.

Farther south down Saanich Inlet, MacKenzie Bight

serves as a day anchorage and provides shore

 access to the park’s trail systems, including the

trails in the adjacent Mount Work Regional Park.


The Gowlland Range is a rich area of biodiversity

where seashore, open forest and rocky outcrops

support more than 100 resident species of bird,

 in addition to cougar, Black-tailed Deer and the

occasional Black Bear.

In spring and early summer, the moss-covered

 knolls offer an abundant display of wildflowers.


The clear waters of Finlayson Arm are home to a

rare and fascinating variety of marine life, such

as cloud sponges, lamp shells, anemones, wolf eel,

Killer Whales, River Otter and seals.

Scuba diving opportunities from shore abound

along the Finlayson Arm of Saanich Inlet.


The 1,219-hectare park contains an extensive

 network of hiking trails that date back to the area’s

history of logging and mineral development.

 These old mining and logging roads in the park

now serve as hiking trails today, providing more

 than 40 kilometres of trails, with magnificent

opportunities for day trips.


There are three access points to the park, which

 shares a common boundary with Mount Work

Regional Park.


For those hikers who enjoy easygoing trails coupled

 with access to Tod Inlet’s shoreline, take Wallace

Drive from either of its two intersections with

Hwy 17A.


The trailhead at the north end of the park is

 located on the west side of Wallace Drive opposite

Quarry Lake.


A second trailhead is located on Willis Point Road

west of Wallace Drive and is shared with Mount

Work Regional Park.


Trails provide seaside access to McKenzie Bight

 and climb to spectacular viewpoints and rocky

 outcroppings on Partridge Hills and Jocelyn Hill.


The southern entrance to the park is reached by f

ollowing Millstream Road north from Hwy 1 to

Caleb Pike Road, then a short distance west to

 the trailhead.


From here trails lead to Holmes Peak, Mount

 Finlayson, and Jocelyn Hill.


Facilities in the park include an information shelter,

parking, viewpoints, toilets and picnic areas.


Gowlland Tod Provincial Park is located north of

Victoria in Saanich, with the northern end of

 Gowlland Tod being reached on Wallace Drive.


 Millstream Road and Caleb Pike Road will get you

to the southern end of the park





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