Gowlland Tod Provincial Park
provides excellent day-use recreation opportunities for hiking, nature appreciation and picnicking. More than 25 kilometres of trails, varying in degree of difficulty, offer spectacular views, as well as the chance to view animals in their natural environment. In spring and early summer, the moss-covered rocky knolls come alive with a carpet of colourful, vibrant wildflowers.
Gowlland Tod protects a significant part of the Gowlland Range, one of the last remaining natural areas in Greater Victoria, and a significant portion of the natural shoreline and uplands of Tod Inlet. The Gowlland Range is a particularly rich area of biodiversity, with more than 150 individual animal and plant species identified. The protected area preserves a rare, dry coastal Douglas fir habitat that features grassy meadows, rocky knolls and old-growth forest. The park also protects a wetland area which provides habitat for the blue-listed Northern red-legged frog and associated riparian areas habitat for the fragrant white rein orchid.
Another popular hike – accessable from the parking lot for McKenzie Bight – is the trail up to Mt. Work. See post on Mt. Work for details.
Activities Available at this Park
There are opportunities for canoeing or kayaking in this park. There are access points at Tod Inlet and Mackenzie Bight. Please be aware the Goldstream Estuary is closed to the public. No canoeists or kayakers may enter this area.
Bicycles are permitted on designated, multi-use trails accessed via all three trailheads. Consult park maps at each location for more information. Cyclists must stay on designated trails and must yield to hikers and
horseback riders. Bicycle helmets are mandatory in British Columbia.
HikingThis park has more than 25 km of hiking trails, including multi-use trails for hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking. This extensive trail system dates back to the area’s history of logging and mineral development and sections are accessible from the three trailheads.
Horseback RidingHorseback riding is permitted on designated trails accessed via all three trailheads. Consult park maps at each location for more information. Horses must stay on designated trails
Pets on LeashPets/domestic animals must be on a leash and under control all times. You are responsible for their behaviour and must dispose of their excrement. Tod Inlet is home to waterfowl nesting areas and salmon spawning streams. Visitors must keep their dogs on leash and under control at all times to ensure their pets don’t disturb these sensitive areas.
Backcountry areas are not suitable for dogs or other pets due to wildlife issues and the potential for problems with bears.
SwimmingThere are no lifeguards on duty at provincial parks. There are scuba diving and swimming opportunities at this park.
Wildlife ViewingViewing areas at various points along the trail from Mackenzie Bight to Caleb Pike offer spectacular views of Finlayson Arm, a unique fjord that only replenishes its marine waters once a year. Species that are rare elsewhere in the world flourish in this isolated and stable habitat. The Gowlland Range is a rich environment featuring old-growth Douglas fir, grassy meadows, rocky knolls, a variety of wildflowers and more than 150 species of birds. Hikers may also spot black bears, cougars and deer. Remnants of early settlements can also be seen in the park.
Difficulty: Easy to moderate. Trails can be done in sections ranging from 1 – 2 hours to 3 – 4 hours.
Be prepared! A lot of this trail is wilderness. Carry water and wear sturdy shoes/boots.
Click HERE for Map #1 – South Section
Click HERE for Map #2 – Middle Section
Click HERE for Map #3 – North Section
Click HERE for Map #4 – Entire Park