Nestled in an old growth forest less than 17 kilometres from downtown Victoria is Goldstream Provincial Park, a crown jewel in the British Columbia park system. Goldstream is home to dozens of hiking trails, waterfalls, an abandoned gold mine, a world-famous annual salmon run, black bears, bald eagles, spring wildflower displays and endless vistas to soothe the soul.
Since there is such an abundance of things to see and do in this 477- hectare park, first-time visitors should begin their day at the park’s Freeman King Visitor Centre. Join an individual or group tour or one of the many interpretive programs and lectures that discuss Goldstream’s rich natural history. An introductory tour might start with a hike through a forest canopy formed by 600-year old Douglas fir trees. Several moderate hikes will take you to viewing platforms for the park’s wildlife and waterfalls, including Niagara Falls, cascading 47 metres into a canyon pool. Adventurous hikers visiting the area will want to embark on the steep and challenging climb to the summit of Mt. Finlayson, a 419-metre mountain offering magnificent views of the Olympic Mountain range and Greater Victoria area.
While Goldstream offers year-round activity, the park bursts at the seams every year from mid-October thru late December when tourists and bald eagles from all over Canada come to observe the natural spectacle of streams of salmon traveling to the Goldstream River to spawn and then die in the very spot they were born four years earlier. Tourists come to see Mother Nature’s circle of life on full display and the eagles come to feed on the salmon.
Due to the park’s proximity to Victoria, Goldstream is a perfect day trip for the city’s residents and visitors. For those looking to explore the park in-depth, there are campsites, picnic areas and children’s playgrounds. Since Goldstream is located on the traditional fishing grounds of local First Nation tribes, recreational fishing is restricted to members of these indigenous cultures.
Whether you are an advanced hiker, mountain biker or just a nature lover yearning to find comfort in the embrace of an old growth forest, Goldstream Provincial Park has what you are looking for. For residents of Victoria who already enjoy a plethora of natural and man-made beauty, having Goldstream Provincial Park as a neighbour is just another bonus.
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