Bear Hill Regional Park

Bear Hill Regional Park lies within the area that forms the District of Saanich, one of the thirteen districts within the Capital Regional District of British Columbia. Bear Hill Park is a Capital Regional District (CRD) park that is located near the border of Saanich and Central Saanich. The view from Bear Hill varies with the forest cover so from some viewpoints, you can see Beaver and Elk Lakes and from other lookouts, there is a view of Haro Strait or Saanich Inlet, both waterways in the Salish Sea.  As well, there are different vistas there are great views of the Saanich Peninsula. At only two hundred and twenty meters elevation, this park has some wonderful viewpoints on the Saanich Peninsula.

This hilltop park is about 49 hectares and encompasses a hill that shows signs of glaciation, about 15,000 years ago. Such hills, called monadnocks, are rocky peaks that are scratched, polished or grooved by glacial ice and the debris it carried. This monadnock is composed of quartz and feldspar, rocks formed from heat and pressure with various crystal textures; dark lichens and green mosses cover the light and dark alternating bands of these hard rocks of the Westcoast Crystalline Complex on Bear Hill. Look for glacial striations on the rocks in the park where the rock is polished. These indicate that you are looking at some of oldest geological features in the area.

The single-track trails in Bear Hill Park are steep and rocky. There are several places where the trail follows a ridgeline that allows for a quicker pace. The footpath meanders through Garry Oak, Western red cedar, Douglas fir and arbutus trees and grasslands. Along the trail are snowberries, salmon berries Oregon grape and ocean spray bushes. Stoll in this park in the springtime to understand the importance of following the trails, there are many wildflowers including camas. Both equestrians and hikers use this park since its’ formation in 1970. Look to sky to spot ravens, turkey vultures eagles and gulls. The first three birds like to ride the thermals that form around Bear Hill. The nearby Mt Newton and Mt Doug with elevations of 333 meters and 225 meters, respectively have survey markers as both are used for coastal navigation. This is a good place for a walk in your backyard.

Geographical Location 48°32’ 46”N 123°24’ 46”W

You can get to Bear Hill Park from the TransCanada Highway. Exit off Highway 1 on to Highway 17, Pat Bay Highway, and head northeast past Elk and Beaver Lake (also a parkland). Turn left at Sayward Road followed by a left turn immediately onto Hamsterly Road. After a couple of car lengths take a right turn on to Brookleigh Road. Follow Brookleigh Road to reach Oldfield Road. Turn right and continue along Oldfield Road until you reach Bear Hill Road.  Turn right on to Bear Hill Road, a narrow and windy road, to reach to the park entrance and a small parking area near the end.  Alternatively there is a trail near house 541 on Brookleigh Road (48°32.185’N 123°24.236’W) and another trail near house 5905 on Bear Hill Road (48°32.538’N 123°24.570’W).   There is limited parking at either of these two trailheads points.

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