Goldstream Provincial Park has been on my list of favourite places since I first visited more than 25 years ago. It simply never disappoints. And my love for the park seems to have worn off on my teenage son because he and his friends visit even more often than I do!
The park straddles the Trans-Canada Highway with the campground facilities on one side and the day use area and Freeman King Visitor Center on the other. Visitors are cautioned not to cross the highway. Many will travel between the two sides via a culvert located near the Visitor Centre but this is not recommended during times of heavy rain.
Because of the majestic beauty of the park – massive trees, beautiful waterfalls and a meandering river – and convenient location, it is a favourite for locals and tourists alike. Goldstream Provincial Park is the perfect escape from urban life located just 16 km from downtown Victoria.
The park is popular year-round but things really ramp up in the fall with the annual chum salmon spawning run. During this time thousands of salmon return to the place of their birth to reproduce. Salmon born here will spend 4 years in the open ocean before returning and continuing the circle of life. With all the dead fish, the “clean up crew” swoop in for their annual feed. This includes the impressive bald eagles as well as hawks, gulls, ducks and crows.
Protective measures put in place at the estuary a few years ago are proving quite beneficial with bald eagles returning to the area in record numbers. The Eagle Extravaganza is equally as popular as the salmon run, making the entire fall and early winter an active time at the park.
But not every visitor is here for the wildlife. People come to the park to:
Although outside the boundaries of Goldstream Provincial Park, many people come to the area to access the Goldstream railway trestle. The hike up to the trestle is considered difficult but the magnificent views will be worth it. You are advised against walking on the trestle bridge, because it is both dangerous and trespassing. Victoria Trails has issued a special advisory on their site, stating:
"Please do not walk on the trestle bridge as there are no safety sidings or supports and spacing between beams is inconsistent and slippery. One false step may lead to death."
From easy walks for the whole family to strenuous hikes for the more adventurous, this park has something for everyone – see you soon!
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