Matheson Lake Regional Park

Matheson Lake Regional Park is partly within the District of Metchosin, a coastal community in the Capital Regional District of British Columbia.  Matheson Lake Regional Park is 1620 square km area that became a Capital Regional District park in 1993 when it was acquired from the province of British Columbia.  The lake is surrounded by trails with some excellent views over the lake and surrounding areas.  The Galloping Goose Trail –Metchosin passes by the lake shore on its north side; there is access to the parking lot and toilet facilities near the eastern end of the lake.

Matheson Lake Park is bordered by Roche Cove Regional Park on the west border and there is a pathway that follows the course of Wildwood Creek to the ocean. Wildwood Creek forms in the wetlands of the surrounding hills and enters Matheson Lake on its eastern end. Wildwood watershed covers about seven hundred and sixty nine hectares. with about three percent of the watershed covered by impervious surfaces.

The parkland is composed of young trees as most harvestable trees were removed in the early nineteen hundreds. That said, there are several large old trees to admire for their tenacity and resilience. Hemlock, cedar, Douglas fir compose more of the main slopes of the lake shore while big leaf maples and cottonwood fill in the new growth. The lake is a pleasant paddling destination for those seeking a serene, cloistered environment. There is a small island in the land to circumnavigate. It’s a short walk from the parking area to the beach, where hand-carried boats may be launched. Launch your canoe, kayak or paddle board to explore the small indentations and island that characterize the lake. The park has wonderful excellent swimming areas and hiking trails.

A trail from the park leads rough southward up to Caines Way. This is a very steep slope route that ascends about one hundred meters along its three kilometer course. This route connects through Roche Cove Regional Park and eventually leads to Mount Matheson. With an elevation of 267 meters, Mount Matheson is located outside the perimeter of Metchosin in the community of East Sooke.

Trails along the north side of the park connect with the Galloping Goose Trail from Metchosin and include La Bonne Trail, La Bonne-Matheson Lake Trail, Wayne’s Rock Trail, Wildwood Creek Trail, Bob Mountain Park.

Geographical location N48º 21’ 37” W123º 35’ 40”

Matheson Lake Regional Park can be reached from Highway 1 when you exit at the Millstream /Veteran Memorial Parkway exit. Head south along the Veteran Memorial Parkway to reach Latoria Road. Turn right onto Latoria Road and continue along to reach Happy Valley Road. Turn left onto Happy Valley Road then right onto Rocky Point Road. Matheson Lake Road will be on the right just past the sign that indicate a parking area for the Galloping Goose Trail – Metchosin.

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Pearson College Green Space

 

Pearson College Green Space is in the District of Metchosin, a coastal community in the Capital Regional District of British Columbia. This green space is on the property of the Lester Bowles Pearson College of the Pacific. It is named after a fourteenth Prime Minister of Canada (1963 to 1968).  L.B. Pearson was recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in organizing the United Nations Emergency Force.  The college, established in nineteen seventy four from property of the Department of Defense, is a United World College and admits an International Baccalaureate degree.  The facilities are off-limits to the public yet the trails are shared. Student use the trails for cross country running as well as research purposes.

 

This area was selectively logged in the early nineteen hundreds and has some unique flora. Cedar tree stumps, mostly with an approximate 1 meter diameter, are seen along the trails. Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) and western red cedar (Thuja plicata) trees are found in this forest grove that has many rocky outcrops. Salal and ferns are the primary forest floor plants while mosses cover nearly every possible surface. Several ephemeral streams flow through the parkland while Cripple Creek forms the western perimeter.

There are two main access points to the green space. The primary pathways can be accessed from Pearson College Drive. Additional pathways are found between kilometers twenty eight and thirty of the Galloping Goose Trail – Metchosin. There are a maze of footpaths in this green space. The primary footpath that starts near the second sign that along the road into Pearson College.  This path can form a circular route that follows the perimeter of the College’s property. The route parallels the Galloping Goose Trail and provides an option to continue to the outdoor exercise and rope practice area.  Cripple Creek forms the western perimeter of the property with the locally named Pipeline Trail. This rough path skirts creek and Pedder Bay back to the College parking area.

The campus borders on Pedder Bay and glimpses of the marina can be seen as you stroll along Galloping Goose Trail – Metchosin from the Rocky Point Road site. The rough pathway into Pearson College is accessed from the Galloping Goose Trail near the 30 kilometer marker. This route lead down the slope to Cripple Creek and the Pipeline Trail.  A second trail to the green space is access from closer to the 29 kilometer maker of the GGT. This trail connects down the ravine of a small ephemeral creek and up the steep slope to the Barde Knockie or the Deep Woods Trail. A Metchosin Heritage sign marks the junction. The Deep Woods Trail was part of the original overland route from Victoria to Sooke used by early settlers. From the sign a turn to the left leads toward the Pearson College Drive while a turn to the right leads down toward Pedder Bay. Sandgate Green Space, Ron Weir Green Space, Matheson Lake Regional Park and the Galloping Goose Trail – Metchosin are nearby.

Geographical location             N48º 20’ 52” W123º 33’ 47”

Pearson College Green Space can be reached from Highway 1 when you exit at the Millstream /Veteran Memorial Parkway exit. Head south along the Veteran Memorial Parkway to reach Latoria Road. Turn left onto Latoria Road and continue along to reach Metchosin Road. Turn right onto Metchosin Road continue along as the road changes names to become William Head Road. Follow along the road to the junction with Pearson College Drive. Turn right onto Pearson College Drive and continue to the small parking area of Pearson College is at the end of Pearson College Drive. This is private property with a limited space for hikers to park their vehicles. All buildings are off limits and for continued usage of the trails in this area require respect from all users.

Ferncliff Park

ferncliff-park-trail-forest

Ferncliff Park is in the District of Metchosin, a coastal community in the Capital Regional District of British Columbia. This trail connects to the Galloping Goose Trail – Metchosin. The rough footpath is though the shaded understory of Douglas Fir trees and lies on a sloped terrain.

Geographical location N48º 24’ 16” W123º 32’ 48”

Ferncliff Park can be reached from Highway 1 when you exit at the Millstream /Veteran Memorial Parkway exit. Head south along the Veteran Memorial Parkway to reach Latoria Road. Turn right onto Latoria Road and continue along to reach Happy Valley Road. Turn left onto Happy Valley Road and continue to Winter Road. Turn left onto Winter Road and then, after crossing over the Galloping Goose Trail, turn right onto Dallimore Road. Look for the trail to access the GGT at the end of road.  A short stroll along the GGT trail leads to the junction with the trail into Ferncliff Park. Alternatively, the trail can be accessed from along Ferncliff Place between homes 1050 and 1060. City buses travel along Happy Valley Road.

Galloping Goose Trail – Metchosin

ferncliff-park-trail-ggt

The Galloping Goose Regional Trail is a multi-use trail that connects Victoria to Sooke, approximately fifty five kilometers distance. This old rail bed was initially used during the nineteen twenties for a passenger train. Although it is never far from busy streets, walking, hiking and cycling, as well as sections that include use by equestrians, thus riding along the trail removes one from the bustling cars with glimpses of squirrels, flowers, trees and beautiful lookout points. The trail starts in the Victoria West neighborhood of Victoria, B.C., and continues onto Saanich, View Royal, Colwood, Langford, Metchosin and Sooke.

Strolling or cycling along the ten and half kilometer section of the Galloping Goose Trail in Metchosin makes for a peaceful excursion. Even the roadway access points are relatively quiet compared to sections of this trail further to the east. The wide gravel Trail enters Metchosin from Langford, B.C., near the junction of Happy Valley Road and Winter Road. The Trail parallels Bilston Creek as it flows southwest toward to the ocean waters of Parry Bay. Parry Bay is along the northern shore along the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The trees and shrubs along the riparian area of the creek are mostly cedar and Douglas fir with a few big leaf maple trees, ocean spray and hardhack. The Trail lies on the east side Happy Valley Road until the junction with Glen Forest Way. There is small road side parking area near this junction along Glen Forest Way.

The Galloping Goose Trail-Metchosin continues west on the east side of Happy Valley Road and crosses over three small creeks. Cole and Hewitt creeks drain from the slopes of Mount Blinkhorn, a two hundred and fifty-nine meter hill; while Pilgrim Creeks drains the small wetlands feed by Collidge Creek. All these waterways help maintain the waterway of Bilston Creek. The Trail then traverses Kangaroo Road near Rocky Point Road, and typically the busiest intersection. As the Galloping Goose Trail continues crossing over Taylor Road and Lombard Drive as it curves around the slopes of Montreal Hill. Another small waterway, Sherwood Creek, passes under the trail. Sherwood Creek drains directly into the Pacific Ocean. After passing close to the footpaths in the private  Pearson College the Galloping Goose connects with Rocky Point Road. About a kilometer later the trail enters Matheson Lake Park where there is some refreshing swimming sites, scenic views from the picnic tables and benches. There are lavatories maintained by the Capital Regional District found near the picnic and swimming area.  Cripple Creek is paralleled by the Trail in this section. This creek flows into Pedder Bay where it forms a small estuary.

Geographical location N48º 24’ 27” W123º 32’ 24” at the junction of Winter Road and Dallimore Road

Galloping Goose Trail-Metchosin can be reached from several locations in Metchosin, B.C. Exit the Trans Canada Highway, also called Hwy1, onto Millstream/Veterans Memorial Parkway. Continue south onto Veterans Memorial Parkway to reach Sooke Road. Turn right onto Sooke Road then make a left onto Happy Valley Road.  Follow Happy Valley Road to reach Winter Road. Turn left on to Winter Road. There is limited parking along Winter Road, in Metchosin, where the Trail can be accessed. Other options, in Metchosin, for accessing the Galloping Goose Trail are from the many access points where the trail traverses the following roads: Happy Valley Road, Glen Forest Way, Lindholm Road, Bennett Road, Moreland Road, Kangaroo Road, Rocky Point Road, Taylor Road, Lombard Drive, near Pearson College Drive and at Matheson Lake Park. There is limited roadside parking at all these junctions with the exception of Matheson Lake Park which has large gravel parking area near the lake shore.

Trails BC and GGT websites as well as the 2004 Birder’s Guide: Lochside Regional and Galloping Goose Trail written by K. Taylor and published by Alabaster Publishing have further information about the Trail.