Gowlland Tod Provincial Park is located in the District
of Highlands, approximately 24 km (15 miles) north-west of Victoria
on Vancouver Island.
Gowlland Tod Provincial Park is comprised of a number of west coast
features, including rocky outcroppings, and stands of timber comprised
mostly of Arbutus, Douglas fir, Garry oak and Western hemlock. The
trail system that goes into the park meanders through the Gowlland
Range, offering outstanding panoramic ocean views of Finlayson Arm,
Saanich Inlet, and Bamberton in the westerly background.
You can access Gowlland Tod Provincial Park from a number of trail
locations, including: Caleb Pike Road, near Tod Inlet, and at the
end of Mark Lane at Willis Point.
To get to the main entrance off Caleb Pike Road, travel on Hwy 1
and take exit # 14; drive approximately 7 km (4.4 miles) on Millstream
Road in the Highlands. There is a parking lot at the entrance to
the park along with an information kiosk, picnic tables, a wheelchair-accessible
trail, and pit-toilets. The trail system, which goes in a few directions,
has a number of viewpoints of Finlayson Arm and the Malahat Range
in the distance.
For gaining access to the Tod Inlet section of the park, travel
north on West Saanich Road in Saanich,
then turn left onto Wallace Drive and continue to the parking area
at Quarry Lake right before Benvenuto Avenue (near the entrance
to Butchart Gardens in Central
Saanich). There is lots of room to park on Wallace Drive with
signs pointing towards the trail entrance which takes you to the
waterfront along Tod Inlet.
Portland Cement Company
The wide trail which takes you to Tod Inlet is fairly level all
the way to the waterfront. Once at the waterfront you can find some
pit-toilets, picnic tables, a wharf for access to Tod Inlet and
some old concrete remnants of the Vancouver Portland Cement Company.
There is also a gentle walk that follows along side of Tod Creek
and takes around 20 minutes to get to the same area.
The entrance to the park off Mark Lane has very little parking available
and is generally used by the locals who live in the area who can
walk directly to the trailhead from their homes. It is not recommended
for people who are driving RVs or large vehicles as there is no
room to park or turn around. From here the trail meanders along
the scenic waterfront to Mackenzie Bight.
To access the Mackenzie Bight section of the park, travel on West
Saanich Road onto Wallace Drive, then turn onto Willis Point Road
and travel approximately 4 km (2.5 miles) to Ross Durance Road,
then go approximately 150 metres (500 feet) to the parking lot.
The start of the trail is here along with an information kiosk and
map of the park.
There are other trails within Gowlland Tod Provincial Park that
connect with each other, joining the north and south end of the
park. One favorite is called the Timberman Trail which takes you
to a couple of viewpoints where there are some impressive views
of the Malahat Range, Saanich Inlet, and Squally Reach.
Work Regional Park
From the parking lot of Mackenzie Bight there is also access for
another park in the Capital Regional District called Mount Work
Regional Park. Look for the trailhead signs at the information kiosk.
This moderate-to-challenging trail takes you to the top of the 449
metre (1,473 feet) high Mount Work.
Just remember if you are enjoying the provincial parks and the countryside
around British Columbia, please remember there could be encounters
with cougars, bears or wolves. There has been numerous sightings
of cougars in Gowlland Tod Provincial Park so please play it safe
and take the usual precautions.