This post is updated here.
The Dunsmuir Lodge and its surroundings lands form a unique coastal Douglas-fir forest on the north slope of Mount Newton border on John Dean Provincial Park. This forty hectare area was gifted, in 1985, to the University of Victoria, a public institution, by the late George Poole, a Canadian construction entrepreneur. The lodge, a former treatment center called Gillian Manor, was refit as a educational conference center fortunately only portions of the property have been selectively logged. Thus the second and old growth forests on the property are unique to explore. A trail from the road up to the lodge leads into John Dean Park. This trail is called the Barret Montfont Trail West and it connects with the Slektain Trail in John Dean Park. An easy area to visit since it is very close to Sidney and the Victoria International Airport, the green space is frequented by hikers, dog walkers and running groups. Apparently the lodge and lands are also available for purchase pending change of the deed on the property.
Geographic coordinates N48° 37′ 48″ W123° 27′ 57″
You can get to Dunsmuir Lodge Green Space from Pat Bay Highway. Turn at Exit 26, the McTavish Interchange, an unique and confusing series of roundabouts that make a multi-circle roadway overpass. Take the third exit onto McTavish Road then take the second exit to stay on McTavish Road. Continue through intersection with East Saanich Road and look for the access road at 1515 McTavish, just past the fire hall and Cresswell Road, on the left. The access road is guarded by a gate and concrete pillars. There is parking along this access road and in the parking lot near the top of the road, to the left. The lodge is to the right.
This lovely cedar, Douglas-fir and cottonwood forest has multi-use trails that are frequently used by equestrians as well as hikers, dog walkers and cyclists. The one hundred and fifty meter trail connects West Saanich Road, Woodcreek Drive and Lands End Road. Within the two hectares of parkland there are wetlands and second growth forests to explore. The park borders on an impressive horse training estate.
Geographic coordinates N48° 41′ 30″ W123° 27′ 37″ from end of Kanishay Road
You can get to Kanishay Road Park from Pat Bay Highway. Before you reach ferry terminal follow the signs that lead to Lands End Road. Cross over the overpass and continue on Lands End to turn left onto West Sannich Road. Take the next left onto Kanishay Road to find parking and look for the trail near the end of the road.
A second growth forested parkland covering four hectares is a must visit to enjoy cedar, Douglas-fir and broad leaf maple trees. The thick canopy of the trees has limited the growth of ground vegetation. The park has several trails to enjoy over its rolling and rocky terrain. The trails connect with both the Eugene Bailin Memorial Trail, to the east, and to Reading Drive Park, to the south.
Geographic coordinates N48° 41′ 26″ W123° 26′ 35″
You can get to the Sumac Park from Pat Bay Highway. Before you reach ferry terminal follow the signs that lead to Lands End Road. Cross over the overpass and continue along Lands End to Oceanspray Drive. Follow Oceanspray Drive to the junction with Sumac Drive. Turn left to park along the forested side of Sumac Drive near the trailhead located near this intersection.
Located on a relatively steep slope with views to the north and east, Readings Drive Park is a lovely natural parkland of about a hectare. Between Cloake and Horth Hills of North Saanich’s Lands End neighborhood, visit this park to enjoy the arbutus and cedar forest and the peaceful ambiance of a rural community. The trails of the park are frequented by dog-walkers and hikers. It is also easy to extend beyond the 200meters of trails and continue along trails from Alder Road, to the south, and to the Eugene Bailin Memorial Trails, to the north.
Geographic coordinates N48° 41′ 23″ W123° 26′ 42”
You can get to the Reading Drive Park from Pat Bay Highway. Before you reach ferry terminal follow the signs that lead to Lands End Road. Cross over the overpass and continue along Lands End to West Saanich Road. Turn left onto West Saanich Road and then immediately left again onto Readings Drive. Enjoy the glimpses of lovely homes and the Salish Sea on the uphill section Readings Drive. Continue over the rise and down slightly keeping a keen eye out for the forested section to the left. Look for the rather limited roadside parking and trail marker on the downslope. The park is before Hillgrove Road which, of course, is alternative route to Reading Drive Park.
The quiet neighborhood of Lands End in North Saanich has many excellent pathways that connect to non-thoroughfare roads. Many of these green spaces, like the four accessible from Hedgerow Drive, contain a peaceful natural trail through this forested area. This neighborhood on northern region of the Saanich Peninsula has some steep hills with excellent views that make it worth the efforts. You may find walkers, runner, hikers, cyclists and equestrians enjoying the Douglas-fir, Arbutus, cedar and maple trees in the second growth forest green spaces. The view points from Hedgerow are mainly toward the waters of Cowichan Bay and Satellite Channel in the Salish Sea as well as Mount Tuam on Saltspring Island.
Geographic coordinates for first trail marker N48° 41’ 22” W123° 25’ 60”
You can get to Hedgerow Drive Green Space from Pat Bay Highway. As you near the ferry terminal in Swartz Bay, stay to the right to exit the highway. At the light turn left and follow the signs to Lands End Road. Travel along Lands End Road until you reach Hedgerow Drive. Turn left onto Hedgerow Drive then look for the small yellow hiking markers on the left side of the drive. There is trail access from two sites along Hedgerow that connect via Cascara Crescent. Further up Hedgerow Drive, again on the left is another green space with a wide pathway to Elderberry Way. And near the top of Hedgerow Drive is the footpath that connects to Horth Hill Park, a 300 meter walk, as well as to Tanager Road. There is limited road side parking near all access points.
This green space contains a well used natural trail and secondary growth forest. The Douglas-fir, yew, maple, Arbutus and cottonwood trees provide a varied canopy overhead while walking, running and cycling along the trail from Lands End Road. This green space is near the Swartz Bay BC Ferry terminal. It can be located by looking for the pair of concrete barriers, on the left of the road, shortly after you pass the ferry terminal. The trail is part of the roadside trail of Lands End Road. From this green space additional areas of North Saanich can be reached. The trail connects uphill to Cardinal Close, Salal Place, Lockspur Lane. These trails continue to Green Park and Horth Hill Park. Another trail continues to Swartz Bay Road and is parallel to the Pat Bay Highway.
Geographic coordinates N48° 41’ 2” W123° 24’ 53”
You can get to this green space from Pat Bay Highway. As you near the ferry terminal in Swartz Bay, stay to the right to exit the highway. At the light turn left and follow the signs to Lands End Road. After you pass the passenger turn off for the ferry terminal, look for roadside parking. The trail is about only a few meters past the merge lane on the left side of the road. It can be difficult to locate.