Exploring Bear Hill Regional Park

Bear Hill Regional Park is located on the Saanich Peninsula just north of Elk Lake. It is a small park covering approximately 49 hectares with an elevation of 220m (720’). However, despite its small size this small park offers some interesting hiking with great views of the Saanich Peninsula and beyond especially towards Haro Strait! On clear days you can see Mount Baker, the spectacular snow covered volcano in Washington.

Looking northwest along the Saanich Peninsula at Mount Newton & Saltspring Island

View along the way to the summit looking west over the farmlands along Old Field Rd

Forest trails climb up through Douglas fir and western red cedar forests to the dry exposed slopes of the summit with Garry Oak and Arbutus. Springtime is a great time to explore parks like these as wildflowers abound. You will find sea blush, camas, fawn lilies, shooting stars and more!

For birders you should see lots of birds like spotted towhees, gold crowned sparrows, fox sparrows, white crowned sparrows, downey woodpeckers, northern flickers and many more. Soaring overhead you may spot bald eagles, red-tailed hawks, ravens and turkey vultures.

There are great hiking opportunities and some equestrian trails in the park.  Mountain biking is not permitted.

Accessing Bear Hill Regional Park

There are 3 quite different access points if you are planning a visit to Bear Hill Regional Park.

Bear Hill Rd

This is the main access and parking area for the park. The trail to the summit from the parking area is a relatively easy about 2 kms (1.2 miles), taking about 20-30 minutes. There are some steep, rocky sections.

This is a combined hiking and equestrian trail.

The Bear Hill Rd access to the park

Starting up through Douglas Fir forests

Hikers passing through a Gary Oak meadow

If you would like to extend your hike or ride there is a trail connecting Bear Hill to Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park.  There is a trail marker just below the summit which will lead you south toward Brookleigh Rd and Elk Lake.  Shortly before Brookleigh Rd you will see another trail marker leading to the Elk Lake Brookleigh boat ramp which will connect you to the trails running around Elk and Beaver Lakes. Optionally you can continue strait ahead to Brookleigh Rd and cross over to the Elk Lake trails there. (see the CRD’s Park Map below).

Douglas Fir and Cedar forest on the trail to Elk Lake

Central Saanich Rd

There is access to Bear Hill from the end of Central Saanich Rd.  While there isn’t a parking lot, there is good road side parking for a number of vehicles here. The route to the summit is shorter, but it is a much steeper climb than the Bear Hill Rd or Elk Lake access.

This trail is hiking only, horses are not permitted.

Central Saanich Rd access to Bear Hill

There are a couple of routes to the summit from here, so you can make this a loop hike. The most direct route has some very rough and very steep gully washed sections. From the summit you can follow the trail signs pointing to Brookleigh Rd and you will join up with the trail leading around the east side of the summit which heads back to Central Saanich Rd.  There are a some gnarly sections along here as well.

Steep, gully washed section of trail to the summit from Central Saanich Rd

Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park

You can also access Bear Hill from Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park following trails leading from the north end of Elk Lake at the Brookleigh Boat Ramp. The trail is just across Brookleigh Rd near the entrance to parking area at the boat ramp. If you leave the parking area and turn right on Brookleigh Rd, you will see the trail marker on the left just a short distance down the road. There is room for 2 to 3 vehicles on the side of the road here as well.

Trail leading from summit to Elk/Beaver Lake Park – All the trails are well marked

This is a combined hiking and equestrian trail.

Brookleigh Boat Ramp, Elk Lake


The CRD’s park map shows the access points and the trails at Bear Hill. You can download a PDF copy of the map here: Bear Hill Park Map

Getting There 

More Photos

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