Mount Finlayson is situated in Langford
Provincial Park about 18 km (11 miles) north-west of downtown
Victoria on the Trans-Canada Hwy 1.
Mount Finlayson is southern Vancouver Island's answer to North Vancouver's
Grouse Grind and,
probably, the most popular hike in the Capital Regional District
(CRD). The hike up to the 419-metre (1,375-feet) high summit takes
around 45 minutes to walk for an average person. But as you ascend,
you'll bump into a variety of people; some who can do it in 22 minutes
and other people whose goal is to do it 1,000 times in a year.
Not Recommended for Children
The 'at your own risk' trail is steep, in a rugged mountain environment,
can be extremely slippery in any condition and, by a couple of warning
signs posted by BC Parks, is not recommended for small children.
At times the trail can be busy and you really need to watch your
balance plus if you do take a dog please have the courtesy to pick
up after them and keep them under control by using a leash.
The parking lot for Mount Finlayson is located at Finlayson Arm
Road and the Trans-Canada Hwy 1. Be cautious when arriving from
the highway; it can be very dangerous, especially during busy times
or inclement weather. There is paid parking right near the entrance
to the park on Finlayson Arm Road or free parking along Trans-Canada
Hwy 1, just north of the entrance at the start of the drive up the
The trail starts off 200 meters (660 feet) from the parking area
in a heavy forested area that has grown up around Goldstream River
on Finlayson Arm Road. Here you'll find an information kiosk complete
with a map of the hike and advice for the trail. At the start there
are two routes either by taking a set of step stairs or by going
up along a trail. Large Cedar and Douglas fir trees border both
trails as well as going through a thick canopy with eventually the
two routes meeting up.
From here the route is very steep going through sections of roots
and gnarly rock areas with loose boulders. At about the halfway
point up Mount Finlayson the trail comes out of the trees and enters
an area where you'll criss-cross an open rock area. From here there
are great views across to the south of Bear Mountain, a resort complex
complete with a golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus and his son
Steve, which was unveiled in August 2003.
The trail continues up through a steep and rocky environment similar
to what you might find at the Mount
Tzouhalem trail near Duncan.
This rocky section of the trail about two-thirds the way up requires
proper walking shoes especially when coming down.
The trail is marked with orange markers attached to the rock face
with directional arrows placed at the switchbacks. Please do not
venture off the trail as the environment is extremely sensitive
and dangerous and do not transverse the trail alone. Eventually,
near the top, the trail levels off more and goes through a small
meadow of Garry Oaks.
Once at the top of Mount Finlayson, you can enjoy a variety of views
in a number of directions within the CRD. From here you can see
other viewpoints and landmarks such as the Malahat, Bear Mountain
Resort including large sections of the golf course, Mount Douglas
plus Mount Tolmie, Mount Work, Mount Wells and Lone Tree Hill Regional
Vancouver Island Rangers
Also situated at the top is a small brass monument donated by Smith
Bros. Foundry & Machine Works of Victoria thanking the South
Vancouver Island Rangers for building and maintaining the trail
for safe recreational enjoyment throughout the years, especially
for the people living in the CRD.
When you have finished hiking Mount Finlayson, there are more hikes
located in Goldstream
Provincial Park including a short walk up to see 47.5 metres
(156 feet) high Niagara Falls situated on the other side of the
Trans-Canada Hwy 1. Goldstream
Provincial Park also has a nature walk along the estuary of
Finlayson Arm where you can watch migrating salmon and birds of
prey, especially bald eagles.
Provincial Park also has a large campground located off Trans-Canada
Hwy on the way to Victoria 1 at Langford Parkway after turning onto
Sooke Lake Road. Situated nearby to the campground is Humpback Road
and Sooke Lake Road and Ma Miller's Pub which was built in 1864
offering food and refreshments.
Other places to eat in Langford
include the Loghouse Pub and the Chequered Flag Restaurant both
located near the corner of Treanor Avenue and Millstream Road, plus
A&W and Tim Hortons situated near Future Shop and the Home Depot
on Millstream Road.