Tower Point Regional Park

 

Tower Point Regional Park is in the District of Metchosin, a coastal community in the Capital Regional District of British Columbia. This park is part of the Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park that it is connected only at low tides from the sandy beach of Parry Bay. The estuary of Biltson Creek is a natural division between the two areas. There are views to the south and east ocean area called the Strait of Juan de Fuca and snow covered peaks of the Olympic Mountains in Washington State, USA. Tower Point Park has a one kilometer walking trail along its perimeter with a variety of viewpoints. The gravel and grass covered trail from the parking lot is bordered by Himalayan blackberry bushes with the occasional garter snake. The pathway leads to an open meadow field with a selection of trails to explore the area. Head to the immediate left (eastward) to take tour of the rocky shoreline of Tower Point. The pathway leads to the Douglas fir and garry oak trees that border the shoreline. The rocky shore line is formed from pillow lava exposures. These pillow basalts are echoed on the nearby islets to the east and south. Arbutus trees and smaller shrub like snow berries, oceanspray and hardhack are seen along the shoreline as well.  This section of the park has picnic tables and benches in few places. The toilets are in the forest grove.  Bradene Green Space is nearby.

Geographical Location N48º 23’ 13” W123º 30’ 29”

Tower Point Regional Park can be reached from the TransCanada Highway (Hwy 1). Exit the highway onto the Old Island Highway into Colwood. Follow the Old Island Highway as it becomes Sooke Road. Turn left onto Metchosin Road and continue along Metchosin Road to reach Duke Road. Follow Duke Road to the junction with Olympic View Drive. Turn onto Olympic View Drive and look for the parking area on the left. The trail is across the grass area. City buses travel along Metchosin Road.

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Langford Lake Park

Langford Lake Park is in Langford, B.C. It is also known as Leigh Beach Park as it can be accessed near the end of Leigh Road. This large waterfront park has a walking trail, washrooms, playground, picnic tables, benches, fishing wharves and several sections with boardwalks. The park is hosts most of the four and half kilometer long Ed Nixon Trail which circles the lake. Black cottonwood, Douglas fir, arbutus and red alder trees are seen in this park.

Langford Lake, along with Glen Lake and Florence Lake, is a natural glacial kettle formed by glacial drift during the last ice age. Inflow to Langford Lake is primarily through storm water ponds and weir located at along the southeast shoreline. The original drainage of the lake was altered when the railway berm was constructed in the nineteen thirties. Langford Lake’s outflow is through a drainage ditch with a large culvert into Langford Creek and onto Goldstream River. These waters eventually reach Saanich Inlet and the Salish Sea. Monitoring of the sixty one hectares that form Langford Lake is a combined effort of the Langford Lake Area Protection Society and British Columbia’s Lake Stewardship and Monitoring Program. Since the installation of an aerator system, Langford Lake has become a user-friendly lake for water enthusiasts. Overseen by the City of Langford under guidelines from British Columbia’s Ministry of Environment, the drainage system is set to maintain a constant water level during the summer. With an average depth of nine meters and maximum depth of sixteen meters, Langford Lake reaches its highest water level during rainy winter months. Langford Lake was once a source of domestic water supply but today its six kilometer shoreline is a source of recreation for lakeside property owners with six public access areas. Several public swimming areas may be found around Langford Lake as well as two other public beaches. Boaters, canoers and kayakers can use the boat launch found at the lake’s southeast end. To help maintain Langford Lake’s quiet and peaceful setting, outboard motors and personal water craft are not permitted. Three wheelchair accessible fishing floats are provided by the City of Langford. The lake is annually stocked with seven hundred and fifty rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) although the waters might contain native fish called peamouth minnows (Mylocheilus caurinus). Trout and other introduced fish such as small mouth bass, pumpkin seed sunfish and yellow perch are caught by local fishers.  Native fish, like M. caurinus, are rare since like many freshwater fish, these minnows are not capable of surviving in salt water to have swum to the island.  Leigh Beach Park, Le Quesne Park, Flute Lane Park, City Center Park, Westhills Park, Goudy Park, Belmont Secondary School Green Space, Glen Lake Park and Irwin Park are nearby.

 

Geographic location N48° 26’39”  W123° 31’ 34”

 

Langford Lake Park can be reached from the Trans Canada Highway also called Hwy1. Turn at Leigh Road exit and continue along to turn right onto Goldstream Avenue. Continue on Leigh Road as it curves past the lakefront homes to the west. The park is on the right near the rail way track.  There is a large gravel parking area and limited roadside parking this area. City buses travel along Goldstream Avenue and Langford Parkway.

 

Leigh Beach Park

Leigh Rd beach park Langford

Leigh Beach Park is in the Langford Lake area of Langford, B.C. This small waterfront park has washrooms, playground, picnic tables and benches. The playground has rubber matting under the climbing and swinging apparatus. A small grass covered area is on a low plateau overlooking the beach and playground where a few Douglas fir, arbutus and small shrubs remain. There is room to launch a personal watercraft like a kayak, board, or canoe from the beach area. A thirty meter boardwalk, part of the Ed Nixon Trail, lies along the road on the south side of the parkland. Seasonally a small raft is anchored off shore and used as a swimming platform. The park is right beside the Ed Nixon Trail, which lies mostly in Langford Lake Park. Langford Lake Park, Le Quesne Park, Flute Lane Park, City Center Park,  Belmont Secondary School Green Space, Glen Lake Park, Westhills Park and Irwin Park are nearby.

 

Geographic location N48° 26’39”  W123°31’34”

 

Leigh Road Beach Park can be reached from the Trans Canada Highway also called Hwy1. Turn at Leigh Road exit and continue along to turn right onto Goldstream Avenue. Continue on Leigh Road and look for a gravel parking area on the left. The park is about twenty meters further along the road. Alternatively use Langford Parkway, accessed from Jacklin Road, and park in several of the parking areas for the City Center Park and Goudy Park. There is limited roadside parking near the beach. City buses travel along Goldstream Avenue and Langford Parkway.

Mill Hill Regional Park

Mill Hill stands two hundred and two meters above sea level and has most of its parkland in City of Langford, B.C. Part of the park also lies within the Town of View Royal, B.C. This park is about seventy one hectares in size and encompasses a second growth forest of Douglas fir, arbutus and Garry oak trees. The terrain is mostly rocky and steep although Mill Stream flows through the southwestern edge of the park where its narrow flood plain lies. The Capital Regional District for British Columbia has administration over this parkland which hosts several buildings, used as headquarters, within a chain-linked fence area. There is limited access to this part of the park. The main parking area and trails are in Langford, B.C., where the formal trails, Auburn Trail and Calypso Trail, to the top of the hill skirt the south and western slopes. The Auburn Trail is the most direct route up to the summit and is about two thousand meters long. The gravel trail is wide and has several switchback sections though rocky Garry oak meadows. The meadows contain wildflowers that bloom in the spring. A minor trail, The Mill Pond Trail, is found a short distance along the Auburn Trail. This trail leads to the right and heads downward   toward a small pond and the playground at Crystalview elementary school (with separate write-ups). The Auburn Trails also passes through groves of arbutus trees near a rough rocky area just before the summit. You may notice that some rocks show signs of glacial striations. As this pathway was the original road to the fire watch tower keep an eye out for small paved sections. Near the summit the trail branches to the left and right. The left branch leads to the cairn and concrete foot posts of the fire tower while the right branch leads to a bench with a wooden platform that overlooks Esquimalt Harbour, Portage Inlet and the communities to the south. On a clear day Mount Baker in Washington State, USA, can be seen to the east and the Olympic Mountains to the south across the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Salish Sea. Flowers that are found in this park include the common camas, white fawn lilies, tiger lilies and calypso orchids.

There are benches, a privy and picnic tables found near the parking lot.

The Calypso Trail has three sections. A lower section, accessed from the parking lot, includes a route on the floodplain of Mill Stream while the upper section provides an alternative route down from the summit. This trail also continues down the northeast side of the hill with a trail access near Thetis Lake, which can be read about here (include link to page). The east side of the park is bordered by Edwards Park and several large private properties.

Geographical location N48° 27’ 10” W123° 28’ 55” parking lot; consult the CRD website for a map of the trails and facilities in the park

Mill Hill Regional Park can be accessed from the Trans Canada Highway, Hwy1. Exit onto the Island Highway and turn right onto Six Mile Road. Turn left onto Atkins Road and continue along to reach the park entrance on the right. There is a large gravel parking area near the park building’s chainlink fence. City buses travel along Atkins Road.

There are many articles and papers written about Mill Hill Regional Park.

Irwin Park

Irwin Park Irwin Park 3

Irwin Park is in the Goldstream neighborhood of Langford, B.C. As part of a former campground, this park has wide trails and recovering clearings as well as a couple of ponds, formed with a couple of dams along Parkdale Creek. A gate house, originally from the campground, lies near the western entrance to the park. The building was restored, notably with fish motifs in the cedar shingles, by students and teachers from the Westshore Center for Learning and Training. Parkdale Creek is part of the Colwood Creek watershed which flows into Esquimalt Lagoon via Glen Lake and Colwood Lake. Humpback Reservoir with a thirty one meter high concrete dam, built and filled in nineteen fifteen, are also part of the original waterway. (This reservoir was filled using the pipeline from Sooke Lake until nineteen seventy and is protected from public usage by the CRD water supply area storage lake.) The creek formed a gully which now has an ephemeral water flow due to the small ponds. These ponds are not for swimming as they are part of a reservoir system with has pump stations and were built, in nineteen seventy one, for the obsolete Humpback Valley Campground. Of the original forty six hectare campground with one hundred and twenty two sites, Irwin Park is about five and half hectares in size. The trail in Irwin Park connects to the West Shore Parkway, near the rugby, football and high school sport fields, over a distance of about a kilometer. The trail varies from concrete slabs to dirt to gravel to asphalt with various degrees of moss growth on the terrain. There is pedestrian bridge across the lower dam while the bridge over the upper dam is closed. Several benches were once strategically placed along the walk way and now provide views of the cedar and Douglas fir trees as well as the ponds. A couple of picnic tables are found near the eastern bridge in a small clearing. This park is frequented by dog walkers, hikers and walkers. It is along the proposed route, for cyclists, as part of the connector trail from the Galloping Goose Trail to the Humpback Connector of the Trans Canada Trail. Mount Wells Park, Goldstream Regional, Harlequin, Cressida and Langford Lake parks are nearby. This is a beautiful place to explore in your backyard.

Geographic location N48° 26’38” W123°32’41”

Irwin Park can be reached from the Trans Canada Highway also called Hwy1. Turn at the West Shore Parkway and make a right onto Amy Road to pass the gas station. Continue along Amy Road which merges with Sooke Lake Road. Turn left onto Humpback Road and continue along to turn left onto Irwin Road. The trailhead is just past the junction with Creekside Terrace which leads to the Raven Estate neighborhood and Lakewood Place. Another access point into the park is from the end of Lakewood Place between homes 2986 and 2987. There is limited roadside parking both areas. The third access point is Parkland Park and across the Parkdale Creek Bridge to reach the trail that parallels the creek into the park. This forested area has been significantly altered due to clear cutting and land clear for roadways and houses.

Willway Elementary School Green Space

Willway ESGS conifer grove Willway ESGS blue playground

Located within the Sooke School District #62, Willway Elementary School yard is in Goldstream neighborhood of Langford, B.C. The green space that forms the school grounds has two playground areas, several benches and picnic tables. The two and half hectare green space is available outside of school hours. The front of the shcool building has some picnic tables near the grove of pine trees, possibly white pines. Also near the parking area, at the front of the school, is a asphalt area for sports such as hockey, as well as a small monkey bar set and swing set. The second playground has swings and a climbing platform that has a slide. It lies near the asphalt basketball court and hopscotch grids around the back of the school building. A small fenced garden area hosts several edible plants. Most of the school ground is a large open grass field used for sports like soccer, field hockey, baseball or running events. The green space is surrounded by chain link fencing, that border along private homes, except at the trails for Lakehurst Green Space, Robalee Green Space and the two Santana Green Spaces. This is great place to visit in your backyard. Gold Stream Provincial Park, Mt Wells Regional Park, Harlequin Park, Goldstream Meadows Park, Langford Lake Park and several green spaces are nearby.

Geographic location N48° 27’27” W123°32’58”

Willway Elementary School Green Space can be reached from the Trans Canada Highway also called Hwy1. Turn at the Westshore Parkway and make a right onto Amy Road to pass the gas station. Continue along Amy Road which merges with Sooke Lake Road. Turn left onto Mt Wells Drive and look for the school at 2930. There is limited roadside parking this area and the school parking area is often gated.

Goldstream River Provincial Park

This post is updated here.

Goldstream River Provincial Park