The 1219-hectare parkland in the Highlands was created from the 1994 Commonwealth Nature Legacy to protect these natural areas of the CRD. The Gowlland – Tod Provincial Park shelters a significant part of the Gowlland Range with the rare, dry, coastal Douglas Fir habitat and areas of old-growth forest, wildflowers, and stands of arbutus and manzanita are abundant. It includes the shoreline and uplands in Tod Inlet, which adjoins the Saanich Inlet south of Brentwood Bay. Forty km of hiking trails network over the old mining and logging roads in the park. The trails lead to some spectacular areas like McKenzie Bight, Jocelyn Hill, and Holmes Peak. These areas and access points into the park are described from north to south. Many of the access points have signposts with maps of the park trails. Through out the park are pit toilets, benches, and picnic tables. Plan a short excursion or extent your walk to several hours.
When you enter the park from the north, you can visit Tod Inlet, Partridge Hills, and McKenzie Bight. The wide trail to Tod Inlet follows along the creek bank part of the way. The wheelchair accessible 2km trail takes about 30 minutes to return. Tod Inlet is a quiet and protected saltwater inlet frequented by yachts and kayakers. At the inlet shore, there is large grassy area with steep shore access, as well as, picnic tables and toilets. The water fountain in Butchart Gardens provides a soothing background noise. This trail is accessed off Wallace Drive near the fenced Quarry Lake.
The trail to the viewpoint in the Partridge Hills is steep and rough, and not maintained. The view at the summit is worth the effort as you can see over the Saanich Peninsula and distant ocean waters. The trail to Partridge Hills is off Wallace Road near the fenced Quarry Lake.
Several trails lead down to the seaside of McKenzie Bight, on Saanich Inlet. The main trail from Ross-Durance Road is wide and moderately sloped. The stroll down takes about 20 minutes from parking lot. There is large sign posted near the road. This trail follows the ridge of Pease Creek. If you want to see the cascading waterfall of Pease Creek, you will need to take Timberman Trail to Cascade Trail. Timberman Trail head is about 100m further down Ross-Durance Road. An alternatively access to McKenzie Bight is along the shoreline of Saanich Inlet from Mark Lane. This relatively flat trail also takes about 20 minutes to reach the Bight.
Gowlland Tod Park southern entrance can be reached from the Trans Canada Highway. Exit onto Millstream Road north from Hwy 1 to Caleb Pike Road, then a short distance west to the trailhead. Trails lead to Holmes Peak and Jocelyn Hill. Jocelyn Hill connects to McKenzie Bight along Timberman Trail. Another trail access connects to Jocelyn Hill. This trail labeled the Emma Dixon Trail is entered near the junction of Emma Dixon Road with Millstream Road.
Geographical location N48°30’32” W123°31’50”
Gowlland Tod Park northern entrance can be reached from the Trans Canada Highway. Exit onto Mckenzie Avenue and continue along a short distance to exit to Pat Bay Highway (Hwy17). Follow Hwy17 to reach Royal Oak Drive. Exit the Hwy17 to turn left using the overpass onto Royal Oak Drive. Turn right onto Royal Oak Drive and continue along to reach Wallace Drive. The trailhead at the north end of the park is located on the west side of Wallis Road opposite Quarry Lake. This trail head provides access to Tod Inlet and Partridge Hills. Alternatively take a second trailhead that is located on Willis Point Road west of Wallace Drive. This trailhead and gravel parking area is shared with Mount Work Regional Park and provides access to McKenzie Bight. You can also access McKenzie Bight from Willis Point Road to the western end of Mark Lane. The main areas of Gowlland-Tod Park are best accessed from the Millstream Road exit off the Trans Canada Highway. Follow Millstream Road to turn left onto Caleb Pike Road. There is parking in a gravel area at the end of the road.
For a map of the hiking trails in Gowlland – Tod Park, see the BC Parks website.