Massive trees, majestic waterfalls, a meandering river that meets
the sea, flowers, birds, animals and fascinating fish are a few of
the attractions that draw people to Goldstream Provincial Park, just
16 km from downtown Victoria on southern Vancouver Island.
Finlayson viewed from the railway line marking the park's
world that seems far removed from the urban adventures of British
Columbia's capital city. Goldstream's numerous trails criss-cross through the dramatically
different terrain of two distinct vegetation zones.
The park is
home to 600-year-old Douglas fir trees and western red cedar, mixed
with western yew and hemlock, red alder, big leaf maple and black
cottonwood. On the drier ridges visitors can find flowering dogwood,
lodgepole pine and arbutus. The arbutus, with its thick leathery
evergreen leaves, red-dish trunk and peeling bark, is Canada's only
broad-leafed evergreen and is found exclusively on Vancouver Island
and the southwest coast of BC. In spring and early summer, Goldstream
overflows with colourful wildflowers.
The park is also the site of an annual chum salmon spawning run,
which draws thousands of salmon – and visitors - every year. Riverside
trails and observation platforms provide extraordinary opportunities
to view this natural phenomenon, which also attracts Bald eagles,
who swoop down to devour the bodies of the spawned out salmon.
The annual salmon
run starts from late October through December, with thousands of salmon
making the arduous journey from the Pacific Ocean to the Finlayson
Arm of the Saanich Inlet. The salmon draw people, bears and Bald Eagles
to the park as they struggle up the Goldstream River to spawn in the
streams in which they were born three to four years earlier. From
the riverside trails in this forested park you have an extraordinary
opportunity to view the miraculous event of chum, chinook and coho
Chum Salmon in Goldstream Park
deck is an excellent place for viewing numerous Bald Eagles during
December and January. Look for them as they survey the waters below
from their vantage points high in the tall trees adjacent to the
estuary. These majestic raptors devour the carcasses of spawned-out
The Freeman King
Visitor Centre at the north end of the park has several displays that
enhance the understanding of the area's natural and human history.
The Visitor Centre schedules seasonal interpretative programs, with
naturalists and volunteers conducting informative lecture tours throughout
the summer and fall. A viewing platform located at the estuary near
the Visitor Center provides visitors with great views of the eagle
feeding frenzy in the winter.
Freeman King Visitor Centre with Mount Finlayson rising in
watch Salmon heading upstream to spawn
Park offers an extensive network of interconnected nature walks
and hiking and walking trails. Trails track along creeks, through
forested upland, amongst some of the oldest and largest trees in
the park, and past abandoned gold diggings from the gold rush days.
The park also protects various reptiles and amphibians and a number
of red and blue listed species of flora and fauna, including rare
wildflowers and plant species such as the Dense Spike Primrose and
the Pacific Waterleaf.
Just east of
the Goldstream River is the start of Mount Finlayson Trail. Take
this mountain trail seriously, as people have lost their lives on
Mount Finlayson. For ambitious hikers, the trail is steep and rugged.
Hiking time to the summit is little more than an hour. Keep to the
trails and follow the same route down.
Goldstream Park is home to black bears, cougars and deer, as well
as numerous small animals like raccoons, minks, beavers, otters
and Gray and Douglas squirrels. Migratory and resident birds such
as hummingbirds, Bald eagles, turkey vultures, ducks and gulls can
be spotted throughout the park.
of Goldstream is Niagara Falls, a 47.5-metre cascade down a rock cliff
to a crystal-clear canyon pool. A five minute walk along the south
bank of Niagara Creek on the Lower Falls trail provides access to
the base of the falls.
Falls in Goldstream Park
Park has 167 campsites located in the campground on the western
side of Highway 1. Reservations are accepted. There are pit and
flush toilets, showers, a sani-station and wheelchair access. Swimming
and fishing are possible within the park. There are two yurts available
and can be reserved by phone only through Discover Camping.
There is so
much to see and do in Goldstream - it's all yours to savour and
explore. Goldstream Provincial Park is open all year. Fees for full
services collected from March 15 to October 31. There is a winter
fee with minimal services provided charged from November 1 to March
14; campers must be self-sufficient.
parks nearby are Bamberton Provincial Park
and McDonald Provincial Park.
The Trans Canada
Highway (Route 1) provides direct and easy access from Victoria
and from up-island. Access to the campground is via Sooke Lane Road
from the highway at the southern boundary of the park. The entrance
to the day use area is near the junction of the Highway 1 and Finlayson