Hike, Bike, Walk, Run or even Drive! Just get yourself to the top of this mountain! See the ocean, all of downtown Victoria, the Olympic and Cascade Mountains, as well as the Gulf and San Juan Islands.
Written By: Guest Blogger (Victoria, BC)
Interested in making a trip to Mount Douglas Park (Mount Doug)? Google Map directions
Hike, Bike, Walk, Run or even Drive! Just get yourself to the top of Mount Douglas! See the ocean, all of downtown Victoria, the Olympic and Cascade Mountains, as well as the Gulf and San Juan Islands.
This mountain exists as a prime location for a hike, a walk, a romantic date, a gathering with friends, or a picnic spot with kids.
I promise the view will make your picnic taste more delicious and your conversations more inspired.
Mount Douglas Park is both dog-friendly and kid-friendly so bring both along, but don’t forget your leash for your dog. Kid leashes are optional.
I have found this park is the perfect place for every fitness level and age because there are so many ways to experience the park: trails, viewpoints, beach, and picnic areas. But the hiking trails are my favourite. Located in Saanich right near the water it’s 30 minutes from the Swartz Bay ferry terminal, 20 minutes from downtown Victoria, and 7 minutes off Highway 17.
Here’s the quick low down on all the ways to get to the top of Mount Doug:
Perfect For A Quick Hike
For a quick hike, it’s my husband (Dan) and my go-to spot. On a recent trek, we passed a white-haired gentleman who greeted us and commented that, “A summit a day, keeps the doctor away!” His mother imparted that wisdom to him and he felt it was his duty to inform people he passed by. He may or may not have hiked faster than us with his well-worn hiking boots and fancy walking sticks. All the paths to the park are marked and it typically takes less than 30 minutes to reach the peak.
Run to the top! But no bragging allowed.
If you want to add a higher degree of difficulty you can run up the mountain. When Dan did Tough Mudder last year with a bunch of friends, his team trained on Mount Douglas. They would run up a trail then complete circuit training in the open viewing area. Feeling adventurous I did join them once, but let’s just say that running uphill is not my thing!
Want the easy way up? Take Your Car!
Yup, you read correctly…you can drive up the paved road all the way to the summit. Three things to know: you may be unfairly labeled as lazy, it’s only open to vehicles after 12pm, and there’s limited parking at the top. But it’s still a fast, easy way to scale the mountain with picnic supplies or with someone who likes to take a beautiful photo but doesn’t want to move their legs too far. Who says Grandma can’t hike to the top of a mountain? This is one where Grandma can strut herself right to the top.
Walking or Cycling
You can walk or bike up the 1.5 km road to the lookout area. Since the road is closed to vehicles in the morning, pedestrians and cyclists can use it without having to worry about passing vehicles since the road is quite slender. Once you walk up the fairly steep hill, you can stroll a little further to one of the two peaks on either side. From here you can see all the way around this viewpoint.
The View From The Top Is Amazing
That’s half the reason I hike. Overlooking the city of Saanich, you can also see the ocean, all of downtown Victoria, the Olympic and Cascade Mountains in the United States, as well as the Gulf and San Juan Islands. Assuming it’s a clear sky that is.
It’s also a wonderful place to watch the sunset or star gaze. There are no tall trees at the top so the sky is free and open. From the peak, I’ve seen a meteor shower with some friends; we grabbed blankets and snacks and headed to Mount Douglas once it was dark so we could clearly see the sky. While you gaze out from the summit, you’ll inhale the crisp air as you take in the city lights as they flicker in the moonlight.
If you visit Mount Douglas at night, you’ll want to remember to bring a flashlight or phone with a light, and wear a jacket or sweater. Even in the summer, it gets chilly if there’s wind.
How did Mount Douglas Park get it’s name?
Mount Douglas Park (or as the locals call it: Mt. Doug) in Victoria, BC was named way back in 1889 after the guy who declared it a Government Reserve, his name was Governor James Douglas. In fact you can still find his name at the base of the mountain where it is inscribed into a giant rock along with the Park Charter.