Explore Victoria: Gowlland Tod

 Gowlland Tod Provincial Park

This park protects a large wilderness area on the border of Saanich Inlet’s Squally Reach including most of Tod Inlet, a cozy anchorage. Within the park is the Gowlland Range, a set of low mountains that runs along the park and reaches an elevation of 430 metres. About 150 species, ranging from hawk and mink to the rare phantom orchid, have been recorded in the park's dry coastal Douglas-fir ecosystem.
Two First Nations village sites used more than 1,500 years ago are among the six archaeological sites within the park. Another is the industrial town created by the Vancouver Portland Cement Company on the east shore of Tod Inlet. Hiking trails to Tod Inlet use the town’s old roads and railroad right-of-way. Another historic reminder is a pioneer copper mine; near it is the Caleb Pike homestead.
Horseback riding: Gowlland Tod is one of the few provincial parks that allow horseback riding, thanks to horse trails created by the Garden City Horse Club that predate the park. Many of the original routes follow old logging roads.
Cycling: Bicycles are allowed on the Tod Inlet Trail, the Mackenzie Bight Trail and the Roundtree Loop.
Picnic areas and day use: Gowlland Tod has day-use facilities at Tod Inlet, Mackenzie Bight and Caleb Pike. Picnic tables are at Tod Inlet and Caleb Pike; the tables at Caleb Pike are convenient to the parking lot.
Short walks: The simplest trail in the park is off Wallace Drive and leads to Tod Inlet. The trail passes through the former Portland Cement Company townsite, with interesting ruins including old barracks, and ends at a picnic area alongside Tod Inlet.
Hiking: About 25 km of trails criss-cross the park. Popular destinations are the Partridge Hills viewpoints and the waterfront at Mackenzie Bight. The trails at Partridge Hills are not marked or maintained. Other workouts are to viewpoints at Jocelyn Hill and Holmes Peak. A trail connects with adjacent Mount Work Regional Park, while an extended hike is possible to Goldstream Provincial Park and Mount Finlayson via Rountree Road and Finlayson Arm Road.
Mount Work Regional Park: Mount Work Regional Park is one of the largest in the Capital Regional District, dominated by the namesake peak that reaches 449 metres. As well as a selection of hiking trails, it offers the opportunity for recreation and fishing in Durrance Lake and a designated mountain biking area – the only official one on Vancouver Island. Off the Hartland Avenue entrance, parking, toilets and a bike-washing facility are available. Mountain bikers can use the park trails or the Hartland Surplus Lands designated for bike use to the north of the parking lot. Established trails are augmented with user-created trails, most of which require technical skills involving roots, rocks and drops. The South Island Mountain Bike Society has created trail maps that can be found at local stores. A good, moderately difficult trail leads to the viewpoint atop Mount Work. The trail is accessible from two ends. From the parking lot at Ross-Durrance Road it is 2.5 km to the peak; from the Munn Road parking lot it is 1.8 km to the peak.