Glenairlie Park, View Royal, B.C.

Glenairlie Park grass Glenaire Park sign

Glenairlie Park lies along a low ridge that overlooks the estuary of Craigflower Creek that is where it meets Portage Inlet in View Royal, B.C. The E&N Railway and Rail Trail lies between the park and the water. Located in a quiet residential neighborhood, Glenairlie Park is a sloped twelve hundred square meters of grass. There is road access to the railway berm along the east side of the park although there is limited access to the water from this park. A well located bench provides a good vantage point to view the waterway. A few small trees complete this landscaped area. View Royal Elementary School Green Space is to the west, while Suzanne Place Green Space is to the south along Glenairlie Drive.

 

Geographical location N48° 27’ 18” W123° 25’ 54”

 

Glenairlie Park can be reached from the Trans Canada Highway (Hwy 1) onto Helmcken Road and turn south. Continue past two traffic circles and turn left onto Rudyard Road beside View Royal Elementary School. Continue along Rudyard Road to reach Stormont Road. Turn left onto Stormont Road and continue as it merges with Glenairlie Drive. The park is on the left between homes numbered 305 and 277. There is limited road side parking along Glenairlie Drive. City buses travel along Helmcken Road and the Old Island Highway.

 

Note: The E&N Rail Trail may be accessible from this park once construction is completed.

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View Royal Elementary School Green Space

Located near Craigflower Creek and Portage Inlet, View Royal Elementary School Green Space is a terrific area to enjoy outside of school hours. The school grounds are just under three hectares. The area at the front of this fifty year old building is a tri-level area. The lower area is a paved parking space for teachers, staff and parents. A dozen concrete stairs lead up to the basketball court, a ball toss basket and circles painted on the asphalt for fox and hound outdoor games. There is a chain-link fence surrounding this raised area. The concrete retaining wall around the basketball court depicts colorful images of children at play. The upper level has a playground with a wood chip base and is bordered by a grass covered area. This playground has various climbing apparatus that connect to a platform with a slide. A cedar hedge fence forms a partial barrier along Helmcken Road while the chain-link fence is decorated with fish in a colorful display. A map of North America is painted on the asphalt near this playground. A small sloped grass covered area provides a natural play area along Rudyard Road and Glenairlie Drive. Several spruce and big leaf maple trees as well as several shrubs grow in this area. Near the entrance to the school are six raised garden beds near the school.

Two other playground areas are shared with the preschool and out-of-school care facilities that are part of the school campus. A playground area, around the back of the school building, has swings, metal monkey bars and climbing apparatus. There are two squares painted into quarters and a painted spiral for hopscotch on the asphalt near this playground. A large grass covered sports field lies along the E&N Railway track and rail trail. This north side of the school grounds is framed by a row of deciduous trees. A footpath connects the green space to both Rudyard Road, via these series of multi-step concrete staircases, and to Glenairlie Drive along a paved sloped pathway that is bordered by a black berry bushes and a row of trees. The green space and building that forms the elementary school grounds are part of the school district of Victoria number sixty one. Helmcken Park, Glenairlie Park, Portage Park and View Royal Municipal Park are nearby.

Geographical location N48° 27’ 27” W123° 26’ 13”

 

View Royal Elementary School Green Space can be reached from the Trans Canada Highway (Hwy 1). Exit onto Helmcken Road and turn south. Continue past the first traffic circle to the second one, near Craigflower Creek, and exit into the school parking lot. City buses travel along Helmcken Road.

E &N Rail Trail – View Royal

E&N Rail Trail Portage Park E&N Rail Trail Portage Inlet

This three kilometer regional trail parallels the E&N railway track from Halloway Road to Atkins Avenue in View Royal, B.C. While there is typically a footpath on or along railbeds, the E&N Rail Trail – View Royal is being developed into a paved multi-user trail that lies beside the functional railway track. The rail trail hooks up with the Galloping Goose Trail and Trans Canada Trail at Atkins Avenue.

 

From Halloway Road, the Rail Trail passes through the Douglas fir and Garry oak forest of Portage Park. There are several footpaths into the park including one that leads to a tunnel that passes under the railway. The pedestrian bridge over the Island Highway is at about seven hundred meters from Halloway Road. From the bridge there are views of the waters of Portage Inlet and the hills to the north. The trail also ties in with the cyclist route beside the Island Highway with a paved curved ramp. The Rail Trail continues to bend along the waters of Portage Inlet and is bordered by private properties on the south side. The trail curves to head westward along the estuary and shore of Craigflower Creek. There are red alder and willow trees that form the riparian area which is the habitat for many local and migratory birds. The grass coverd slope of Glenairlie Park can be seen to the south. As the rail trail reaches the bridge over Helmcken Road, View Royal Elementary School Green Space with sports fields and playground areas can be seen. Once past the bridge, the landscaped and grass covered area of View Royal Park encourage an excursion from the trail in this lovely residential area with royal views. The Rail Trail continues through residential complexes and single family homes to reach Fort Victoria. Palmer Station, an original VIA Rail stop, divides the pleasant camping and recreation vehicle grounds of the Fort Victoria RV Park. Soon the forested area of Kislingbury Road Green Space is seen to the left while the Adams Place Green Space lies further along to the right just after the storage facility with many cargo boxes. The trail eventually connects to the Atkins Avenue junction with the Galloping Goose Trail.

 

Note as of December 2014 this trail is under construction and sections are incomplete.

 

Geographical location N48° 27’ 47” W123° 25’ 50” at Halloway Road

 

The Rail Trail – View Royal can be reached from the Trans Canada Highway (Hwy 1). Since the rail trail connects with the Galloping Goose Trail-View Royal the route can be accessed from Atkins Avenue where there is a small parking area. To reach the Halloway Road section of the Rail Trail exit Hwy1 onto Admirals Road and continue passed Craigflower Bridge and Road to turn right onto Halloway Road. There is limited roadside parking near the trail head at the end of Halloway Road. City buses travel near this trail at many road crossings.

View Royal Municipal Park

View Royal Park 4

View Royal Park is beautiful landscaped park that is about six and half hectares in size. There are about a kilometer of pathways into and around the park that makes this an excellent place to head for a stroll. A large open and dog friendly area connects to MacLennan Trail with a gravel pathway that circles this area. A small bridge over an ephemeral creek connects to the concrete walkway which leads to the small parking area and the playground. Craigflower Creek skirts the east side of the park and makes a terrific area to visit year round. There are several view points along the creek. Sea run cutthroat and chum salmon reside in this creek as well as several trout. Both creeks are bordered by snow berry, Oregon grape, red alder bushes. Cedar, Douglas fir and arbutus trees area seen in this park. A giant sequoia is on private property near the Paddock Place Green Space pathway.A playground with several ways to climb to a platform with paired slides and monkey bars. It is set on a sand base. There are benches and picnic tables at several sites in the park. Four swings are also found at this park: two of them are toddler seats. Another slide is also near these swings. These two outdoor toys are set on a wood chip base. The thirty raised garden beds are used by community members and lay besides a small building. The gardens are bordered by a large grass covered field landscaped with trees and shrubs. Parkcrest Park, Paddock Place Green Space, Gull Road Green Space, Fort Victoria Green Space, Galloping Goose Trail, Trans Canada Trail, Victoria General Hospital Green Space, Chancellor Park and Helmcken Park are nearby.

 

Geographical location N48° 27’ 30” W123° 26’ 11”

 

View Royal Park can be reached from the Trans Canada Highway (Hwy 1) onto Helmcken Road and turn south. Continue past the first traffic circle to the second one, and turn right onto Pleasant Lane. Turn right immediately to access the small parking area beside Craigflower Creek. The park is near the E & N Railway crossing bridge. It can also be accessed from Burnett Road using Pleasant Lane or Paddock Place. City buses travel along Helmcken Road.

Parkcrest Park

Parkcrest Park 5 Parkcrest Park 16

Parkcrest Park is natural area along the east bank of Craigflower Creek in View Royal, B.C. At one end of the two tenth of a hectare area there is an asphalt walkway that merges with a one hundred meter long gravel trail meandering down to a site that provides a view Craigflower Creek; View Royal Park lies on the west side of the creek. This split-cedar fenced trail can also be accessed from Channery Place. The second trail is a fifty meter concrete sidewalk to the creek side. The sidewalk is has chain-link fences on both sides. Garry oak, Douglas fir and some arbutus trees as well as snow berry, Oregan grape and salal bushes are seen here. Ferns and mosses are seen along the slopes of the ravine of Craigflower Creek. The Galloping Goose Trail, MacLennan Trail, View Royal Elementary School, Caton Place Park, Gull Road Green Space as well as Helmcken Centennial Park are nearby.

 

Geographical location N48° 27’ 41” W123° 26’ 2”

 

Parkcrest Park can be reached from the Trans Canada Highway Hwy1. Exit off Hwy1 onto the Helmcken Road and turn south. At the traffic circle, exit onto Vickery Road. Turn left from Vickery Road to Viewcrest Drive and follow the road along the residential homes to Levista Place. The gravel trail can be access from Viewcrest Drive near home number 11 opposite the roadway to Levista Place. The second trail access is from between homes 23 and 25 on the end the Parkcrest Drive. There is limited roadside parking along Viewcrest Drive and Parkcrest Drive. City buses travel along Helmcken Road.

Caton Lane Park

Caton Lane Park 12 Caton Lane Park 14

Caton Lane Park is a neighborhood park along the north side of Craigflower Creek in View Royal, B.C. The narrow L-shaped parkland is about one tenth of a hectare. There is a view to the east, toward Portage Inlet, and south across to the E&N railway trail from the creekside. The pathway to the park is between homes 59 and 57. The route is a tapered grass covered area with a few fruit trees as well as evergreens. This leads to a grass covered area with a few trees and shrubs that form the riparian area along the bank of the creek. This area borders on the back yard of several homes along Caton Lane. There is no indication where the parkland lies as many property owners maintain a tidy yard to the edge of the creek. The shore is a grass covered low bank that opens to the shallow mud flats at low tides. This small estuary is a good site to observe migratory birds such as gadwalls, widgeons, wood ducks, geese, loons, plovers, terns and grebes. Gull Place Green Space, Seabird Park and View Royal Elementary School Green Space are nearby.

 

 

Geographical location N48° 27’ 26” W123° 25’ 59”

 

Caton Lane Park can be reached from the Trans Canada Highway (Hwy1). Exit off Hwy1 onto  Helmcken Road and turn south. At the traffic circle, continue along Helmcken Road to Caton Lane and look for the park sign located between homes 59 and 57. There is limited roadside parking along Caton Lane. City busses travel along Helmcken Road.

Thetis Lake Regional Park

Thetis Lake Trail trees Thetis Lake Trail barrier Thetis Lake Trail view east 3

With a mountain, several hills, three lakes connected by a couple of creeks all united by several kilometers of trails, Thetis Lake Regional Park has amenities for those who enjoy exploring outdoors. Continued protection from development since the early eighteen hundreds makes about one hundred and sixty hectares of Thetis Lake Regional Park a unique area in View Royal, B.C. as well as in the Victoria area.

 

Thetis Lake was flooded, in the late eighteen hundreds, to form one of the water reservoirs that supplied water to Victoria and Esquimalt communities. Although the reservoir was a short term solution for the growing communities, it limited human activities in and around the lake. Further safeguards of this unique area came in the form of a nature sanctuary in the late nineteen fifties. When designation as parkland happened, in the early nineteen nineties, the parkland had increased by four hundred and twenty-four hectares. Presently, Thetis Lake Regional Park is a diverse eight hundred and thirty four hectares, although only about six hundred and thirty-five hectares remains as a second growth forest. The park is sectioned by several trails, roadways and hydro line corridors.

 

Four barriers were built to enlarge the original one hectare surface area of Thetis lake into the reservoir. The main swimming beach is a near the site of an earth dam. An ephemeral creek once drained from the southern end of the lake into Esquimalt Harbour near Mill Stream. A support reservoir on the south slope of Seymour Hill was built in the mid-eighteen hundred and eighty. Named Bladderwort Pond, it contains many wetland plants and amphibians. The other two barriers include a spillway and earth dams near the north end of both the lower and upper lake where the lake now drains into McKenzie Creek and toward Prior Lake. These waters eventually flow into Mckenzie Creek then Craigflower Creek and to the ocean waters of Portage Inlet. The bridge along the Trillium Trail was added when the barrier was removed to reconnect the upper and lower lake.

 

The terrain in Thetis Lake Park includes ancient lava beds, seen as fractured rock, granite with glacial striations and some large boulders. The step like effect on the hill on the east side and the wall on the west side of the lower lake were formed when moving ice broke away the rock in large sections. Stroll along the woodland trails through the groves of arbutus, Garry Oak and Douglas-fir trees. Visit Prior Lake or McKenzie Lake on the northwestern area or take in Stewart Mountain and Scafe Hill in the upper areas of Thetis Lake Regional Park. On the west side of the park trails connect with Thomas Francis Freeman King Regional Park in Saanich. On the southern side of the park trails connect to Mill Hill Regional Park in Langford.

 

 

There are two main lake areas and two smaller ones in this park, as well as numerous wetland areas and hills that rise to over a hundred meters. The fifty-five hectare surface area of Thetis Lake is distinct with upper and lower areas. There are many indentations along the shoreline of both areas of Thetis Lake which makes it a fun place to explore by on a paddle board, kayak or canoe. The sandy main beach along the south shore of the lower lake is the main attraction for summer visitors to Thetis Lake Regional Park. This area of Lower Thetis Lake has facilities which include change rooms, toilets, benches, picnic tables and a seasonal concession booth. This beach area is also a good site to launch kayaks, canoes or paddle boards as it is accessible from the roadway. A second beach area on the lower lake doubles a boat launch and site for dogs to access the water year round. Prior Lake and McKenzie Lake are also part of Thetis Lake Regional Park. They are written about in different posts.

 

The shallow waters of Upper Thetis Lake, which lies west of the lower section, can be reached from the rocky shoreline areas near the bridge along Trillium Trail. The average depth of the water is about two and half meters. There are also many small indentations which provide addition sites to reach the water; these are mainly used by animals. A narrow channel near the north end of the lower lake connects the two areas of Thetis Lake. The bridge which crosses over the channel is along of Trillium Trail; this trail is a wide pathway that is fire access road between Highland Road and Thetis Lake Parkway.

 

Several kilometers of forested hiking trails bring hikers, runners and dog walkers to this park. Enjoy the shoreline plants like willows, alders, red-osier dogwood and hardhack trees. Further away from the riparian area of the lake are groves of Douglas fir, oak, arbutus, hemlock, cedar, lodge pole pine, grand fir, maple, yew, alder, big leaf maple and cottonwood trees. Since Thetis Lake Park has a range of high and low moisture soils the plant life is diverse.

 

The Lower Thetis Lake Trail is along the eastern side of the lower lake provides a terrific overview of the lake. This trail has long switchback hill to traverse before it connects to Trillium Trail. Trillium Trail connects with the Thetis Lake Parkway Trail on the western and southern side of the lake to complete the circuit around the lower lake shore. Much of the lake shore, while accessible by most dogs, is not used for swimming. This route is about two and a half kilometers long and can be completed in under an hour. The trail connects to the Upper Thetis Lake Trail near the junction with Trillium Trail. There are numerous desire trails throughout the park use with care so that damage to the plant and animal life is limited.

 

Upper Thetis Lake Trail is about three and half kilometers long and is relatively flat in comparison to the route around the lower lake as there are a few hills to negotiate. A stroll around both lakes is about five kilometers. Seaborn Trail, Bellamy Trail and Phelps Avenue Trail and Avery Court Connector Trail branch off of this pathway.

 

A pleasant walk is along the Trillium Trail. It lies east to west from the parking area at the dog beach to the bridge across the narrow channel connects the two halves of the lake system. This trail is wide and designed as a fire road. It is about a kilometer from the boat launch parking area to the bridge, one direction.

 

There are five other areas explore in Thetis Lake Park: Panhandle Trail, Seymour Hill, Craigflower Creek Trail, Bellamy Trail and Stewart Mountain Trail. The Panhandle Trail has its own section. Seymour Hill is the one hundred and forty one meter high rocky hill. The trail to the summit is about six hundred meters long and can be reached from either the east branch of the Lower Lake Trail, along the Old Entrance Road Trail, which connects with Watkiss Way, or from Lewis Clark Trail. Enjoy the springtime flowers such as white fawn lilies and shooting stars which can be seen along these foot paths and take in the vista of Thetis Lake from Seymour Hill. Along the trail find the plaque for Lewis Clark and the direction dial at the summit.

 

The trail along Craigflower Creek is accessed from Highland Road. This is a pleasant stroll along the riparian area of the creek for about one and a half kilometers. The north eastern section of the park connects with trails of Francis King Park by using the Panhandle Trail (see individual post).

 

Bellamy Trail is a fire road that connects into Thetis Lake Park on the west side of the park. The trail meanders northward toward Scafe Hill from Bellamy Road. Bellamy Trail connects with Upper Thetis Lake Trail should you head eastward from the first junction from Bellamy Road. Take the first trail on the left to bypass the swamp and look for signs that indicate Westoby Road Trailhead. Bellamy Trail crosses over an ephemeral creek to a junction that leads south toward the lake or north toward up Stewart Mountain. Continuing northward takes you past through Douglas fir forests and past the east side the quarry. The trail will lead it way back into the main trail that you started out on as well as onward to Phelps Road.

 

Stewart Mountain Trail is in the northwestern section of the park. This trail connect to small pathways that lead up to Scarf Hill, which is two hundred and thirty one meters high, and over Stewart Mountain, which is two hundred and seventy one meters high. This area can be accessed from Millstream Road turning onto Stewart Mountain Road or Davis Road, respectively.

Avery Court Connector Trail is a thirteen hundred meter long pathway that is beside the Trans Canada Highway yet within Thetis Lake Park. The trail is used by cyclist, dog walkers and hikers to access the dog beach parking area of the park.

 

Geographic location N48° 27’47” W123°28’3” for main parking lot

 

Thetis Lake Park can be reached from the Trans Canada Highway also called Hwy1. Turn at Six-Mile Road and continue to the main pay parking area. Thetis Lake Parkway, a tapered road, passes by this parking area and continues about a hundred meters further into a turnabout with parking for visitors with limited mobility. A further seven hundred meters along the narrow road leads to a small parking area, also payment required, with washrooms and boat ramp. Locally known as the dog beach this area is heavily used by dogs and less frequently by horses and as a boat launch site.   The park can also be reached from Highland Road from Watkiss Way. To reach the trailhead located at the very end of Bellamy Road, take Millstream Road exit and turn right on Treanor Avenue. Then turn left on Bellamy Road and continue to the turnabout where there is limited parking. There are several other streets in Langford, B.C., that border on the park and have access trails including Gourman Place, Haley Rae Place, along Phelps Avenue and Avery Court, Millstream Road and Hordon Road at Western Speedway provide access to Thetis Lake Park. City buses travel along Six Mile Road to the main entrance of the park.

 

For a map of the hiking trails in Thetis Lake Regional Park, see the CRD Parks brochure.

 

There are numerous books and reports written about this park as well as few maps.