Visiting the Dallas Road Waterfront Trail is an experience that showcases the true nature of the west coast and the sometimes wild Pacific Ocean. The idyllic ocean front setting is popular with locals and tourists alike for transportation, relaxation, adventure and storm watching.
Let me explain.
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The Dallas Road Waterfront Trail extends from Fisherman’s Wharf to the Ross Bay Cemetery on the south side of the James Bay neighbourhood. On a difficulty scale, the paved path is considered easy with no major elevations. Leashed dogs are welcome on the pathway (there is one section that is leash-free).
The Breakwater District (formerly known as Ogden Point) is the location of the port that normally welcomes tens of thousands of visitors who arrive in Victoria each year by cruise ship. With four deep-sea berths, it is not uncommon to see up to three cruise ships in port at the same time during the Alaska cruising season, or see them anchored in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, waiting for their turn to berth. Hopefully things return to pre-pandemic numbers in 2022.
The 2019 cruise ship season that ran from April 16th to October 25th saw passengers from over 260 ships disembark for a memorable experience in Victoria. Due to the pandemic, the 2020 and 2021 seasons were cancelled and there is no confirmed schedule for 2022 yet. Some law-makers in Alaska are trying to permanently remove stops in Canada from the Alaska cruises. They may be successful in the requirement to stop but we believe many passengers and the cruise lines themselves will continue to want to stop in Victoria. It is pretty spectacular here!
If you’ve never been on a cruise ship, seeing these mammoth beasts up close is amazing. And that is exactly what you may see when you walk along the Dallas Road waterfront trail in Victoria BC during cruise ship season.
The breakwater is a massive concrete pier that juts out into the sea and helps calm the waters to enable ships to dock. A walk or jog along the breakwater is refreshing and scenic with beautiful mountain vistas and an abundance of marine wildlife. It is also a popular location for divers to enter and exit the waters.
Beside the Breakwater is the Camel Point Heliport, home to Helijet International Inc. who provide sightseeing helicopter tours as well as scheduled airline trips to Vancouver and Nanaimo. Seeing the region by air is incredible. I’ve been fortunate to travel to Vancouver by air for work on numerous occasions and each time I’m convinced I am going to witness the quintessential west coast scene of a swimming pod of orcas just below the ocean’s surface. No luck so far but I have fared far better on a whale watching excursion. If seeing whales in their natural habitat is on your bucket list, be sure to book a tour while you are in Victoria.
To the east of the Breakwater District, the Dallas Road Waterfront Trail continues toward Clover Point. Along this stretch are plenty of greenspaces, an off-leash dog park and access to the beaches and shoreline.
Clover Point is a popular destination for adventure seekers. Kite enthusiasts, windsurfers and sailboarders take advantage of the Pacific breezes that are perfect for these activities. Additionally, Clover Point is a great spot for just relaxing and watching sailboats, kayakers, stand-up paddleboarders, ferries and ships of all sizes.
Recently the City of Victoria made a controversial decision to greatly reduce the available parking at the point in favour of picnic tables and benches to encourage more pedestrian usage. While the concept is good, sadly many people who visit the area come from elsewhere and it simply isn't feasible to bike or walk to the area. Also, because of the weather patterns in the area, it is extremely windy (which is why the kiters and windsurfers love it so much) making a picnic far less enjoyable. Some say they fixed a problem that didn't exist. Either way, it is still a spectacular location and hopefully everyone who wants to enjoy the area and arrives by vehicle, will find suitable parking.
The Dallas Road Waterfront Trail is a delightful area to spend time enjoying the great outdoors. See you in my travels.
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