Tod Inlet – Gowland Tod Provincial Park

Tod Inlet – Gowland Tod Provincial Park is in the municipality of Central Saanich, one of the thirteen, which form the Capital Regional District of British Columbia. Located on the Saanich Peninsula of Vancouver Island, this park is charming and fun with a creek, estuary and developing forests. Fresh water flows into Tod Inlet from the Tod Creek Watershed covering 2344 hectares within the District of Saanich and Central Saanich. Prospect Lake and Tod Creek Flats  as well as Durance Lake drain into Tod Creek.

The Tod Inlet Trail is in a small section of the Gowland Tod Provincial Park in Central Saanich.  Tod Inlet is a small bay near Butchart Gardens that connects to the larger Saanich Inlet and Brentwood Bay. The ocean waters are part of the Salish Sea. The trail leads to a waterfront picnic area, a small sandy beach and a dinghy dock for boaters.  The gravel pathway is wide and follows along Tod Creek as you stroll toward the inlet. A small hydroelectric dam, constructed for the 1900s cement plant is on Tod Creek has a fish ladder for coho and cutthroat was rebuilt in 2015 to permit fish to access the upper reaches of the creek. The wide trail leads past an information kiosk along a boardwalk under the cover of large Douglas fir, cedar and hemlock trees. During the springtime wild flowers such as lilies and trilliums bloom along the forest floor. Closer to the inlet are many young poplar trees growing though the concrete foundations of the cement plant.  If you want to extend your hike, this trail will also take you into Partridge Hills of Gowland Tod Provincial Park. Gowland Tod Provincial Park provides habitat for deer, cougars, black bears and 100s species of birds. Many rare indigenous plants grow here. On the western boundary of Central Saanich, Saanich Inlet is a unique, shallow-mouthed fjord. There is a sill that forms a shallow water shelf and limited the flow of water out of the fjord. This parkland is a unique backyard urban wilderness visited by deer, eagles, ospreys, minks, river otters and on occasion pods of killer whales and seals. This is a good place to walk in your backyard.

Geographical location N48º 35’ 45” W 123º 23’ 30”

Tod Inlet can be reached from the Trans Canada Highway. Exit Hwy 1 to reach Hwy 17, Pat Bay Highway, by turning off at Mackenzie Avenue. Once on Hwy 17 follow along to reach from Keating Cross Roads. Exit off  Pat Bay Hwy by turning left onto Keating Cross Road. Follow Keating Cross Road as it changes names to become Benvenuto Drive. Continue along Benvenuto Drive along to reach Wallace Drive. Turn left onto Wallace Drive look for the yellow park gate access along the roadside. There is parking and trails access from Wallace Drive near the fenced Quarry Lake. There is also trail access from the end of Benvenuto Ave before you enter Butchart Drive. Parking for this area is along Wallace Drive.

The following is an interesting ecological development that has helped to restore parts of the Tod Creek Watershed:

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