Nature Challenge
Goldstream Provincial Park
 
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  Path Goldstream Park   Goldstream is a park for all seasons. Spring sees the bird migration and the return of the rufous hummingbirds, along with a wonderful display of wild flowers. Summer is the season for campers who descend on the park in droves. Fall, of course,  brings the annual salmon run which the park is famous for and winter is prime time for eagle viewing. The park is also one of the most accessible places to get a close up view of BC's famous big trees. This is an excellent nature park which will make you forget it's only 16km from the bustling provincial capital of Victoria. Located along Highway 1 (the Trans-Canada or Malahat) heading north from the city the park is easily accessible and a great kick off spot for exploring Victoria and the surrounding region.  
 
  Along with exceptional nature viewing the park is a great place to take a hike with over 16km of  trails which make their way through a variety of habitat. Hike in to see the parks waterfalls or if you're in shape, hike up to one of the south islands best viewpoints at the top of Mount Findlayson.  
 
  Spawned Out Salmon   With all that the park has to offer it's still the fall salmon migration that stands out. Watching as the salmon return to their original birthplace to spawn after three or four years at sea is fascinating. The circle of life is laid out before you in all its wonder and the spectacle mesmerizes both adults and children. The park provides an excellent opportunity to observe all of this close up, with riverside pathways and bridges that straddle the rapids.  
 

Camping

The park has 159 campsites accessible by car. You can reserve your site (highly recommended in high season) or see what you can get on a first come, first serve, basis. The campground is located in a largely shaded forested area. The campground is a distance from the day use area and the Nature Centre. The main campground has a cooking shelter, flush toilets, showers and a sani-station. For those who qualify (contact the park for details) there is a group camping area not too far from the main campground. There are no backcountry campsites in the park. A large picnic area is nicely located by the river. Discover Camping - campsite reservations.

 

Hiking

The park has a number of hiking and nature trails, ranging from easy walks to challenging climbs. Some of the trails follow along side the parks rivers and streams, making for excellent viewing in spawning season.

Lower Goldstream Trail - Easy The trail follows the Goldstream River through the day use area and is the key trail for watching the spawning salmon in the fall.

Upper Goldstream Trail - Easy From the base of Goldstream falls, the trail follows the river below the campgrounds and provides access to some of the parks biggest trees.

Prospectors Trail - Easy to Moderate The trail begins near the main camping area and will connect you in short order to the network of Arbutus Trails. The trail then follows the Goldstream River before crossing the highway into the east of the park where you'll find a link to the group camping area and a connecting trail to a viewpoint. Before terminating at Finlayson Arm Road in the day use area the trail connects into the challenging Mount Finlayson Trail.

Gold Mine Trail - The trail head is located at the parking area below the day use turn off. The trail heads north winding it's way through the west sector of the park to Niagara Creek and eventually Niagara Falls. Just as you get to the creek their is a spur that takes you to the railway trestle.

Gold Mine Trail North - An extension of the Gold Mine Trail that will take you back across the highway into the day use area and the Nature Centre.

Arbutus Ridge and Arbutus Loop - The trails start from the main campground on the outer northern loop. They connect into the Prospectors Trail and the Gold Mine Trail.

Mount Finlayson Trail - The parks most challenging trail it climbs steeply in sections. The trail head is found a short distance from the day use area on Finlayson Arm Road. From here you'll climb a set of steep stairs and continue climbing passed an exposed section along the mountain. Continuing on you'll be rewarded by 360 degree views of the region including the City of Victoria, the Olympic Mountains and Finlayson Arm. The trail shouldn't be attempted if the winds are up or the footing is bad due to wet weather.

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Nature

The parks key attraction is the salmon spawning which is in full swing in October-November each year (inquire with the park for specific dates). In the winter months you'll can observe one of the highest concentrations of bald eagles in Canada as they feast on the spawned out salmon carcases (check with the park for the best time to visit). The park is home to many big trees, some of which are over 600 years old. Wildflowers and water falls are best observed in the Spring along the parks trails or nature walks. The Freeman King Nature Centre has a wealth of information, exhibits and resources and shouldn't be missed. Inquire with the park about its extensive nature programs.

Note: Vancouver Island is bear and cougar habitat, inquire with the park for more information.

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Cycling and Mountain Biking

Cycling is very limited in the park. Cyclists can use the trail to the nature centre in the day use area and the park roads. Since the highway separates the three main areas of the park, it's not advisable to cycle from one to another. Access points for the Galloping Goose Trail are only a short drive from the park. There are no trails for mountain biking in the park but the Highlands and Mount Works/Harland have excellent trails nearby. For more information have a look at the South Island Mountain Biking Society website.

 

Paddling

There are no opportunities for paddlers in the park but for a few hours on the water Beaver Lake is nearby. Access points for the kayaking the Gulf Islands, and the Gulf Islands National Park are within an hours drive of Goldstream.

 

Winter Sports

The park sees little or no snow, particularly at the lower elevations, so winter activities are largely limited to hiking and nature observation. Always inquire with the park about conditions before setting out and be sure to have rain gear and sturdy foot ware.

Note: Be very careful of bridges and boardwalks in damp, wet or snowy weather.

Goldstream is open year round and camping is permitted (fee) in the winter but facilities and services are limited. Contact the park for details.

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Interactive Map of Goldstream Park


View Larger Map

 
 
 

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Resources

  Goldstream Hiking Trail  

Getting Here

The park is located about 16km from Victoria. From Victoria follow Highway 1 (Trans Canada Hwy.) north. For the campground entrance take Westshore Parkway then Amy Road. For the group camping go passed the parkway intersection and Sooke Lake Road (which is now closed) and watch for the access road on your right. The entrance to the day use area is further along on your right at Finlayson Arm Road. Note: Entering and leaving the park is along a busy highway which limits access so contact the park for specific information before you visit.

 
 

Resources

Victoria

Out-There's Victoria

Pacific Rim

Out-There's Pacific Rim, Tofino, Ucluelet

Gulf Islands

Out-There's Gulf Islands

Vancouver Island and British Columbia

Out-There's Vancouver Island
Out-There's British Columbia

Victoria Tourism
British Columbia Tourism

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Rentals, Tours and Attractions in the Surrounding Region

Some of the companies listed are a good distance from the park.

 

Related Links

Hancock Wildlife Foundation - Eagle Cams
Eagles of Hornby Island
Goldstream Nature Centre

 

Links of Interest

Canadian Geographic
Conde Nast Traveler

Islands Magazine
National Geographic
National Geographic Adventure
National Geographic Traveler
Outside Magazine
Sunset Magazine
Travel and Leisure Magazine
Wavelength Magazine

 

Out-There's Destinations

 

For current conditions, along with definitive information on the park, contact the park authorities. For regional information check with the local chambers of commerce and tourism offices. Outdoor shops, outfitters and clubs in the vicinity of the park may be other excellent sources of information. Have a look at our resources section for more. We highly recommend a visit to the Freeman King Nature Centre which has a wealth of information and a knowledgable staff.

 

 

Goldstream Provincial Park
Trans Canada Highway

 

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