Gonzales Hill Regional Park – Oak Bay

 

Gonzales Hilll Regional Park is a park of the Capital Regional District of British Columbia. Acquired in 1992 by both Victoria and Oak Bay Municipalities and the CRD, the distinctive rounded roof of the Gonzales Observatory Weather Station overlooks Victoria, Oak Bay and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  This park hosts the heritage building, which was built in nineteen fourteen. The site was used by meteorological scientists for gathering data on atmospheric gases until the late nineteen eighties.  The view from the summit of Gonzales Park, at 200 feet above sea level, is to the southwest over the City of Victoria and the western communities of Esquimalt, Colwood and Metchosin. The rocky outcrops are mostly granodiorite with glacial striations. The rocks are covered with unique wildflowers, various mosses and lichens. Small shrubs and trees cling to the slopes of the park.  A walking pathway leads from the parking area past the observatory and toward Barkley Terrace, a road that connects to King George Terrace. This pathway is really for those who are venturesome as the route eventually leads to Gonzales Bay.  Garry oak and arbutus trees are found in this parkland as well as broom and snowberry shrubs. At Gonzales Bay, in the Municipality of Victoria, picnic tables, toilets and benches overlook the sand and pebble beach.

Geographic Location N48º 24’ 48”  W123º 19’ 28”

Gonzales Hill Regional Park can be reached from the Trans-Canada Highway. Continue along the Hwy 1 into Victoria as it becomes Douglas Street. Turn off Douglas onto Hillside Avenue to head east. Stay on Hillside Avenue as it becomes Lansdowne Road. Continue along Lansdowne Road to reach Foul Bay Road. Continue along Foul Bay Road to reach Fairfield Road. Turn left onto Fairfield Road and continue along to Denison Road. Turn right onto Denison Road and continue up the hill to the reach the parking area on the right. Access to the park is available from several areas.  Parking off Barkley is limited.  Alternatively, start at the sandy beach of Gonzales Bay, climb stairs at the eastern end of the beach onto Crescent Road, keep straight ahead on King George Terrace, turn lead onto Barkley Terrace, climb stairs to observatory.  City buses travel close to this park.

University of Victoria Trails, Oak Bay

 

Located outside Ring Road, the wood chip trails of the University of Victoria are frequented by joggers and pet owners.  These jogging trails meander through forested areas and grassy meadows.  Slightly off the beaten jogging trails, the University’s Finnerty Gardens are great place to admire the flowers and shrubs.  You can also brush up on your Latin names for the plants, as the gardeners have name cards near the plants. The campus also is a great place to stroll.

Geographical Location N49º 27’ 39” W123º 18’ 58”

You can get to the University of Victoria from Mackenzie Avenue, Gordon Head Road, or Cedar Hill Cross Road.  Turn on to Finnerty Road, University Drive, Gordon Head Road, or Henderson Road to access Ring Road.  The jogging trails can be found by walking along the Ring Road toward a trail post.  Several trail posts are also visible along Gordon Head or Cedar Hill Cross roads.  Parking is available for a fee around the campus.  Some street parking is available on Cedar Hill Cross Road and Gordon Head Road.  Walks around the University of Victoria campus can easily be extend by strolling into Henderson Park.  Finnerty Gardens are located near the chapel, which is across the parking. lot from the Fine Arts Buildings. Many buses provide service to the university area.

Blinkhorn Park

Blinkhorn Park is in the District of Metchosin, a coastal community in the Capital Regional District of British Columbia. Blinkhorn Lake forms the center of this parkland while the Mount Blinkhorn lies to the east. Mount Blinkhorn is surrounded by private property thus is not available to the public. These features recognizes the English man Mr. Thomas Blinkhorn whom arrived in the eighteen fifties. He was appointed the chief magistrate and justice of the peace for the local area. Blinkhorn Lake is feed by drainage off the two hundred and fifty nine meter hill. In the mid-eighteen hundreds the lake was marked as a potential water reservoir for the Esquimalt-Victoria area. The nature developed property has maintained its Douglas fir and red cedar forest. There is a footpath around the lake that is about seven hundred meters long. A long partially submerged log forms a pier into the lake. The parkland is surrounded by private properties. Spellman and Carlton Cosh parks are nearby.

Geographical location             N48º 23’ 8” W123º 34’ 31”

 

Blinkhorn 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 Sooke Road. Turn left onto Sooke Road and continue along to reach Kangaroo Road. Turn right onto Kangaroo Road and then left onto Lindholm Road. The park near the junction of Spellman Place and Lindholm Road. Access to Spellman Park is across the road. There is limited road side parking along Lindholm Road. A small parking area is available off Kangaroo Road.  City buses travel along Sooke Road.

Devonian Regional Park

Devonian Regional Park is in the District of Metchosin, a coastal community in the Capital Regional District of British Columbia. This ocean front park was acquired from the Devonian Foundation Alberta, formed by the lawyer, oil man and philanthropic Eric Harvie, and the provincial government in 1980. It is one hundred and thirty five square kilometers of forest area with Sherwood Pond providing a wetland oasis amongst the Douglas fir and Garry oak woodlands. The kinglet, great horned owl and pileated woodpecker might be sighted in the park. This wildlife sanctuary is tucked into the gently rolling landscape between Metchosin farms. A bridle trail lies along the southern perimeter of the park. There are parking and picnic areas. Sherwood Creek flows into the pond and acts as guide for the well-trodden footpaths. The Douglas fir and arbutus trees in the park can be explored by strolling along the gravel trails. The main trail leads through the forest about twelve hundred meters to reach the cobble and pebble Taylor Beach that lies on Parry Bay. The beach overlooks the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Olympic Mountains. Witty’s Lagoon can be reached by strolling along the water eastward along Taylor Beach. The distance is about six kilometer round trip. Taylor Green Space is about five hundred meters eastward along the waters edge. At the park entrance is a small parking area with toilets. Benches can be found in this park too.

Geographical location N48º 21’ 57” W123º 32’ 32”

Devonian 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 left onto Latoria Road and continue along to reach Metchosin Road. Turn right onto Metchosin Road and watch for the signs to Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park. Continue along Metchosin Road past the junction with Happy Valley Road. The name changes to William Head Road. Continue along until you see the signpost for the park on the left. There is small parking area. City buses travel along Metchosin Road.

Hoffman Green Space

Hoffman Green Space Park is located in the Mill Hill neighborhood of Langford, B.C. This small green space has a thirty meter long gravel footpath that connects the east and west ends of Hoffman Avenue. It borders on Cornerstone Park. Scotch broom plants and some grasses are part of this green space. Several well placed large rocks prevent vehicles from driving through the area. There is a yellow gate on the west side while the east side the green space has a couple of steel posts. Cornerstone Park, Mill Hill Regional Park, Savory Elementary School Green Space, Leggett Park and Millstream Creek South Park are nearby.

Geographic location N48° 27’1” W123° 29’ 21”

Hoffman Green Space can be reached from the Trans Canada Highway also called Hwy1. Turn at Veteran Memorial Parkway/Millstream Road and turn south. Continue along the parkway to turn left onto Hoffman Avenue. Follow Hoffman Avenue to the end of the road where the trail is found. There is limited parking along Hoffman Avenue.

Navigators Green Space

Navigators GS Navigators GS bedrock

Navigators Green Space is in the Bear Mountain neighborhood of Langford, B.C. This green space has gravel access trail that leads into Nature’s Gate Park. The trail is near the summit of Miniskirt Mountain, a peak originally about three hundred and eleven meters. The view from the summit is wonderful, although its forested area has been reduced to bedrock for house construction. Nature’s Gate Park, Deerview Park, Nicklaus Park and Spirit Ridge Park are nearby.

Geographic location N48° 28’17” W123°31’30.5”

Navigators Green Space 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 right onto Spirit Ridge Drive. Continue along Spirit Ridge Drive to reach Nature’s Gate. Navigators Place is the first roadway on the left along Nature’s Gate. The access trail is at the end of the road where there is limited parking.

Bear Mountain Bike Park

Bear Mountain Bike Park is located in the Bear Mountain area of Highlands, B.C. With set hours of business and a fee to access, the trails justify the grounds of operation for this mountain bike park. The bike park is the base for Cycling Canada Mountain Bike Team and this is one of several sites designed for cycling. Enjoy the beginners’ Teddy Bear Loop and Cub Trail with various log rides, skinnies, rollers and beams. With black diamond names like Grizzly and Kodiak trails, experienced riders have access to jumps with gaps of over two meters and steep slopes that provide challenging chances at balancing, jumping and turning. More information about this bike park is found at Bear Mountain dot ca slash bike. The Highlands Valley Trail, Canada Cup Trail and Skirt Mountain Lookout trails are also mountain cycling routes that are nearby. The Bear Finlayson Trail, Highland Valley Loop, Canada Cup Loop, Finlayson Skills Area, Hannington Park and Muirfield Place Green Space are nearby. These areas are frequented by walkers, hikers and dog walkers.

Geographic location N48° 28’51” W123°31’14”

Bear Mountain Bike 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 Country Club Way. While the mountain bike course is located along Hannington Road in the Highlands, riders collect their pass from The Hub in the North Langford Recreation Center located 1907 Country Club Way. There is parking in the village area.