Highlights: Sweeping 360 degree view of Victoria city and surroundings. My favorite place for a view so far.
Difficulty and Distance: Moderate at most – it is uphill, but distances are short, and you can walk (or drive) on a paved road (1.5km, one way) to the summit (at 228m). Trail Map …
Directions: Click for a Google Map of the park. There are 3 places to park:
- Along Cedar Hill Rd as you approach Shelbourne
- At the base of Churchill Drive at Cedar Hill Rd (or at the top, if you wish to drive up)
- As Cedar Hill Rd turns into Cordova Bay Rd, there is a turn off for a parking lot – this is the only location with washrooms – also easy beach access and playground
I parked my bicycle at the base of Chuchill Drive and walked up the paved road in search of a trail. I walked until I saw the turnoff for Irvine Trail on my left….. I found out afterward that this trail is one of the few classified as difficult by the Mount Douglas Park Society. I got lucky! It was a beautiful trail up through the woods, sometimes a little scrambling on rocks (fun!) and the views along the trail were spectacular. I wouldn’t have classified the trail as difficult, but I suppose it is all relative to the rest of the trails within the park.
The Irvine trail, like many other trails in the park – was named after a pioneer (in this case, John Irvine) who bought land in the area in 1857/58. The park itself is named after Sir James Douglas who first put the land aside as a Government reserve – and not after the abundance of Douglas Fir trees as I had erroneously, though logically, assumed.
Another interesting fact about Mount Doug, is that geographically speaking at under 1,000 ft (300m) high, it is technically only a “hill,” but apparently Douglas Hill did not have a good ring to it.
After trekking up Irvine Trail, I decided to try coming down Glendenning Trail …. well that didn’t work out quite as planned…. I turned onto a side trail and soon found myself heading back up the mountain. Because the trail soon narrowed and lead me up a cliff face, I had to follow… I love a good scramble. I followed a mixture of trails back through the woods to join Irvine again. I wish I had read the history of the park before I went – I would have found amusement knowing that this spiderweb of trails likely remains from the days sheep were herded on the hillside. I also would have loved to have known that somewhere on the hillside there is an old mining cave! Next time, I have a mission…. find that cave!
- Mount Douglas Park Society
- Trail Map
- Google Map
- A little history at VancouverIsland.com
- More of my photos