Blue Grouse Plateau Park

Blue Grouse Plateau Park 11 Blue Grouse Plateau Park 9

Blue Grouse Plateau Park is in the Bear Mountain neighborhood of Langford, BC. The park is about one and half hectares in size with steep terrain. The trail into the park is accessed along the gravel trail near the storm water collection ponds. The trail continues into the park which is formed and protects part of the gully of Gardner Creek. The collection ponds drain through a series of gravel filtration beds and wetlands before reaching Gardner Creek, a tributary of Mill Stream. Mill Stream, or Millstream Creek as it is often called, is the main waterway in a watershed that starts in the Gowlland Tod range of the Highlands and includes seven lakes and numerous ponds. Mill Stream supports many organisms in its riparian and wetland areas as well as in the creek water such as salmon, trout, frogs and turtles. Blue grouse (Dendragapus obscurus) and sooty grouse (D. fuliginosus) may dwell in the second growth forests that line the gully of Gardner Creek; it also appears that the names are synonymous. Blue Grouse Plateau has a rough trail that slopes down through the second growth forest. Douglas fir and cedar trees are found along the slopes with several large weathered tree stumps. The footpath exits the parkland and continues to Bear Mountain Parkway to reach the road near the BMP Green Space. Players Drive Park is across the road. This is a great play to walk in your backyard.

Geographic location N48° 28’15” W123°31’4”

Blue Grouse Plateau Park can be reached from the Trans Canada Highway also called Hwy1. Turn at Millstream Road and turn left onto Bear Mountain Parkway. Continue along BMP to reach Players Drive. Turn left onto Players Drive then left onto Blue Grouse Drive. The park is near the split cedar fencing that forms a partial border for the gravel collection ponds. There is limited parking along Blue Grouse Drive.

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Dunsmuir Lodge Green Space, North Saanich

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.

Kanishay Road Park, North Saanich

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.

Sumac Park

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.

Readings Drive Park, North Saanich

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.

 

Hedgerow Drive Green Spaces

Hedgerow Drive Horth Hill

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.

Lands End Road Green Space

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.