The Malahat Skywalk
The Malahat Skywalk is one of Vancouver Island’s newest attractions, located about 30 minutes from downtown Victoria near the summit of the Malahat Drive.
Is it worth a visit?
When we first heard about the Malahat SkyWalk we were somewhat apathetic. There are already a couple of lookouts with great views of the Saanich Inlet near the Malahat summit. However, after our first visit, we both had to admit it’s a pretty amazing attraction and well worth a visit.
The Welcome Centre
Our first surprise was that we expected to arrive at a parking lot at the base of the Spiral Tower. This is not the case and interestingly, the Spiral Tower isn’t even visible from the Welcome Centre.
A short walk from the parking area takes you to the Welcome Centre, a beautiful building set on the edge of the forest where you purchase your entrance tickets. You will also find a nice cafe with barista-style coffee and tea and a good selection of cold drinks and snacks. You will be able to enjoy that on the beautiful outdoor patio. There is also lovely gift shop with a good selection of gifts, clothing and souvenirs.
From the Welcome Centre you begin your adventure on a beautiful forest path. This leads you to the TreeWalk, an elevated boardwalk. This is not your ordinary boardwalk! It is 600 m (1,968 ft) of elevated wooden walkway built on a substantial steel structure taking you for a magical trek through the tops of the Douglas-fir forest and stands of Arbutus. Along the way you will pass informational placards talking about local wildlife you may see and the features of the walkway.
The Spiral Tower
After a leisurely 15-20 minute walk you will come to the Spiral Tower, an impressive wood and steel structure rising from the forest floor right on the edge of the Saanich Inlet. The tower splays outward from the bottom getting wider and wider as it reaches the top looking like a giant badminton birdie. The spiral pathway winds round and round the perimeter leading you up to the top of this impressive 10 storey structure with stunning 360 degree views of the inlet and surrounding mountains. Both the TreeWalk and the Spiral Tower are accessible with low grades suitable for wheelchairs.
The Amazing Views
The Spiral Tower is strategically located on a point at a bend in the inlet, so you can look northwest all the way up the inlet towards Saltspring Island and look south you can see Goldstream Park and Mount Finlayson with Olympic Peninsula of Washington state, rising behind. On clear days you will see right across the Saanich Peninsula at Mount Baker and the Coastal Mountains.
The Adventure Net
Once on top, you can walk out onto the 84 square meter Adventure Net, or not depending on you comfort with heights. The Adventure Net is suspended above the centre of the tower with uninterrupted views of the surrounding mountains and inlet while the structure spirals away beneath your feet.
The Spiral Slide
Once you’ve had your fill of the stunning views, you can either walk back down the spiral pathway or if you want a quick way down, try the enclosed Spiral Slide, you won’t be disappointed! If you’re over 5-years of age and 42″ (107 cm) tall you can fly down this 19.5 metre (64 ft) slide. You can reach speeds up to 25 km an hour and feel like you’re pulling some G’s during the 8-9 second decent!
You can walk back up and slide down again or sit back in some of the comfortable Adirondack Chairs and enjoy some more of the view or take a break at the concession/picnic area. Once you’re done, head back to the Welcome Centre along the TreeWalk or for a different view of things, the gravel path which begins at the picnic area.
Plan to spend at least a couple of hours at the SkyWalk, there is lots to see. Plan more time if you want to ride the slide more than once and consider taking a break for lunch at the cafe or grabbing some food for a lunch and enjoy the picnic spot at the base of the Spiral Tower.
Hours and Admission
The Malahat Skywalk is a partnership of BC-based Malahat SkyWalk Corp and the Malahat First Nation. For more information and hours of operation and admission fees click this link to their website: Malahat SkyWalk