Mount Work Regional Park

Mount Work Regional Park is in the Highlands community of the Capital Regional District of British Columbia. Located on southern Vancouver Island, this very popular recreation area offers a variety of landscapes and activities in its 562 hectares. With lowlands of ferns and salal to the dry rocky conditions of hilltops where manzanita, arbutus trees and Garry oaks thrive, Mount Work has some diverse habitats. Hiking, horse riding, and mountain biking all have entry on Mt Work. The park was named after John Wark who in the 1800s was the chief factor of the Hudson Bay Company and member of the legislative assembly. The much of park lands were selectively logged and used for sheep grazing until 1969 when the Capital Regional District acquired the area for the park.

Three small freshwater lakes dot the slopes of Mount Work Regional Park. Durrance Lake has a small sand and rocky beach and is wheelchair accessible. The lake is stocked with rainbow trout which can be fished for from the small fishing wharf. There is also a boat launch and hiking loop. The two kilometer walk around the lake can take about 30 minutes.  The trail is rough along the southern section but permits some unique bird and aquatic animals watching places. People and their dogs can swim in the lake seasonally. There is a small asphalt parking area near the lake. Trails to the north of Durrance Lake lead into the Partridge Hills of Gowlland-Tod Park. Durrance Lake is flows into Durrance Creek and into Tod Creek. It is part of the Tod Creek Watershed which flows into Tod Inlet, near Brentwood Bay, and the Saanich Inlet. Its water become part of the Salish Sea and Pacific Ocean.

The second lake, Pease Lake, is on the northwestern side of the park with a couple of lake shore private properties. The lake was named after an early settler Mr Algernon Pease who purchased lots along the lake shore in the early eighteen hundreds. The Pease watershed is a three hundred and sixty eight hectares. This small lake with a perimeter of about nine hundred meters and an average depth of two and half meters is generally a tranquil water. It drains via Pease Creek to Mckenzie Bight on Saanich Inlet and into the Salish Sea. The access to the water is a rough trail from the Ross Durrance Road; bring something to float on if you want to swim as the shore line is muddy with many . While the lake is nearly easily seen from Ross-Durrance Road, the trail to the lake shore is about a kilometer from the Mount Work parking area. Roadside parking near this lake is very limited.

Fork Lake lies at the south end of the hiking trail to Mount Work summit. Once you’ve completed the hike to the top of the mountain, the clear cool waters of Fork Lake are a tranquil place take a swim or just to gaze over the shoreline and enjoy the woodland ambiance. The lake shore is soft mud and march land thus provides limited to no beach area. The trail southern end is at Munn Road.

The Summit Trail of Mount Work provides intriguing wilderness hiking through a cedar forest and craggy lookout to the summit of Mount Work, at 446 meters.  The trail also passes over striation in the rocks caused by glaciers and through meadows. This trail runs the length of the park, mostly north-south and is challenging with switchbacks and steep pathways. The panoramic views along the way and at the summit make the walk worthwhile. Provide yourself with a couple hours to hike to the Summit Trail or plan a shorter excursion when you explore Mount Work. The shorter excursion could be the Munn Loop Trail. This six hundred meter long gravel footpath that starts at the Munn Road parking area winds through the cedar, oak and fir trees. Enjoy the salal, ferns and small shrubs that form the undergrowth of the west coast forest. This access point has picnic tables and an toilet.

Geographical location N48° 31′ 1″ W123° 29″17″ alternative parking lot off Munn Rod

Mount Work Park can be reached from Highway 1, the Trans Canada Highway. Exit onto McKenzie Avenue to reach Hwy 17 or the Pat Bay Highway. Exit at Royal Oak Drive from Hwy17 to reach West Saanich Road. From the Pat Bay Highway turn onto Royal Oak Drive then right onto West Saanich Road. Follow West Saanich Road to Wallace Drive and turn left onto  Wallace Drive, then left again on Willis Point Road. Follow Willis Point Road to Ross-Durrance Road. Make a left turn onto this historical roadway and look for the parking area on the left. The main entrance for the Mount Work Summit Trail is accessed from this parking area on Ross-Durrance Road.

Alternatively you can reach the summit by starting at Fork Lake Trailhead that is off Munn Road. To get to the south access take the Helmcken Road exit of the Trans- Canada Highway. Turn left on Burnside Road West then right on Prospect Lake Road. Keep left on Munn Road, which leads past the parking area for Mount Work Park. There are signs to indicate the parking lot is on the right.

For a map of the hiking trails in Mount Work Park, see the CRD Parks brochure.

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