If you’re visiting Victoria, B.C., heading out for a hike is a good way to explore the region’s natural beauty, get some fresh air and burn off excess energy.

hiking trails in victoria - Along the shoreline - Photo by Ryan LeBlanc, The Natural Connection

Hikes in Victoria – Along the shoreline – Photo by Ryan LeBlanc, The Natural Connection

“You could get anything – beach, lake or forest, for any level, from easy to advanced hiking,” says art blogger Jessica Ruth Freedman, mother of two young children, whose family hikes regularly in the Victoria area.

Here are a few family-friendly hiking areas and picnic spots to check out when you’re visiting Victoria and the Capital Regional District:

Francis/King Regional Park

Hiking trails in Victoria - Francis King Park - Photo by Ryan LeBlanc, The Natural Connection

Francis /King Park – Photo by Ryan LeBlanc, The Natural Connection

Francis/King Regional Park, an approximately half an hour’s drive from downtown Victoria, offers a network of trails for all abilities and ages, says Ryan LeBlanc of the Natural Connection – Personalized Guided Adventure. Stop in at the nature centre for information about the park and trails.

Swan Lake Nature Preserve

Walking at the nature preserve is flat and easy, and you can follow a good trail around the lake. “One neat feature that kids get a kick out of, is that part of the trail goes on a floating bridge across the lake,” says LeBlanc. And you can check out the nature programs for kids while you’re here.

Goldstream Provincial Park

Goldstream Provincial Park, 16 km from downtown Victoria, offers good hiking “super close to the city,” says Tourism Victoria business ambassador Jordan Ray, a parent of three young children. “For little kids, it’s nice, because it’s flat.”  The park’s interpretive centre is a fabulous place to learn more about the area, where you can watch salmon spawning in the fall.

Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park

Hiking trails in Victoria  Wittys Lagoon - Photo by Ryan LeBlanc, The Natural Connection

Wittys Lagoon – Photo by Ryan LeBlanc, The Natural Connection

A 20-minute drive west of Victoria in Metchosin, Witty’s Lagoon features a long sandbar and beach with great spots for building sand castles and picnicking. This is also a wonderful place for bird watching. Look for birds such as kingfishers, warblers, juncos, Canada geese, great blue heron, western sandpipers and others. Stop at the Nature Information Centre to find out more.

Durrance Lake

At Durrance Lake, the largest lake in Mount Work Regional Park, the walking is short, flat and easy. There are beaches along the lake’s north shore, and a variety of places to stop for a picnic. This would be a nice walk for grandparents, too, Freedman says. An approximately 40-minute drive from Victoria.

Hikes in Victoria - Photo by Ryan LeBlanc, The Natural Connection

Photo by Ryan LeBlanc, The Natural Connection

Sooke Potholes Regional Park

An approximately 45-minute drive from Victoria, Sooke Potholes Regional Park is situated along the Sooke River, southern Vancouver Island’s second largest river. You can hike on forest trails, and cool off in the water. When autumn comes, the Sooke River is home to a salmon run.

Be prepared!

When heading out on a hike, LeBlanc always recommends bringing plenty of water, plus lunch and snacks. “You can always convince kids to keep moving and they’ll enjoy the day more if they’re hydrated and have been fed something.”

If your family enjoys learning together, LeBlanc also suggests getting a guidebook on Vancouver Island’s flora and fauna. Indigo Chapters in downtown Victoria is a good resource, he says. Then, “head on out and do your best to identify things.”


The Natural Connection provides visitors and newcomers to Victoria with a carefree day out in nature with guided hikes (typically two to three hours). The Natural Connection’s Ryan LeBlanc will provide transportation, a plan tailored to your schedule and preferences, as well as water, lunch and snacks. Your hike with the Natural Connection will start with a few warm-up stretches. Your day out in nature could also include a brief guided meditation for those who wish, with a nod to the benefits of ‘forest bathing,’ the Japanese practice of Shinrin-yoku, ‘taking in the forest atmosphere.’