Vancouver Island is a natural escape for explorers. Wild waves curl for surfers, dense forests provide the perfect setting for camping trips and towering mountains beckon to eager hikers and their four-legged hiking companions. There are plenty of places near the city of Victoria to live the adventure. Here are 10 trails and parks for you and your dog to explore together!

For more information on pets in parks near Victoria, click here.

Mount Douglas

photoAndy S Flickr cc by 2.0

Length: 4 km round-trip

Off-Leash? No

This moderate hike offers stunning panoramic ocean views of Cordova Bay. Follow Irvine Trail, which begins and ends right by a beach. Hike up the mountain and finish the day relaxing by the ocean with your pup.

Read more: victoriatrails.com

Mount Wells

photoGerry Flicker cc by sa 2.0

Length: 3 km round-trip

Off-Leash? No

Mount Wells' summit is over 300 metres high, making this a steep hike and great workout for visitors and their dogs. Surrounding the mountain are beautiful views of the Sooke Hills, downtown Victoria and the Juan de Fuca Strait. There are some difficult open rock sections that are quite steep and slippery during rain so it might not be suitable for elderly pets.

Read more: crd.bc.ca 

Scafe Hill

photoAlanah Nasadyk Flickr cc by 2.0

Length: 3 km round-trip

Off-Leash? Yes

Located north of Thetis Lake Regional Park, Scafe Hill is one of the best trails to visit with your dog. Dogs can be kept off-leash on the trails as long as they are kept under control. Visitors will be able to enjoy pristine views of Saanich and Gowlland Tod Provincial Park. It’s not a long hike, but can be challenging as parts of the trail are steep and have loose rocks.

Read more: victoriatrails.com

 

MacAulay Point Park

Length: Varies

Off-Leash?: Yes

MacAulay Point Park is one of the most beautiful places to take your pup for a short stroll. Enjoy panoramic views of the Juan de Fuca Strait and even an off-leash section. Just avoid the protected part where dogs are prohibited.

Read more: visitorinvictoria.ca and vacs.ca 

  

Mount Finlayson

photoAndy S Flickr cc by 2.0

Length: 4 km round-trip

Off-Leash? No

Mount Finlayson is a popular hike for dogs and owners wanting a serious workout. On the way up, sweaty hikers and their pups will be shadowed by a large and lush forest canopy. It’s a steep mountain and certain sections may be more difficult for your dog to get up. If your dog can manage it, you'll be treated to beautiful views of the surrounding Langford area.

Read more: victoriatrails.com

 

Elk/Beaver Lake

Length: 10 km round-trip

Off-Leash? Sometimes

At Elk/Beaver Lake, dogs are required to be on leash from June 1st to September 15th and are not allowed on the beach or picnic areas. The rest of the year, dogs can be off-leash. The trail is relatively easy and loops around the lake offering remarkable views. Hikers and their furry friends can enjoy lush forested areas and a dog-friendly beach. There is even a fishing pier, perfect for Instagram photos.

Read more: victoriatrails.com and tripswithpets.com 

 

Sooke Potholes

photoa.poll_o | Flickr cc by sa 2.0

Length: 3 km round-trip

Off-Leash? No

The pools that hikers can view or swim in were formed due to glacial activity that took place over 15,000 years ago and have rightly earned their ‘pothole’ nickname. Keep in mind that dogs must be kept on leash and are not allowed to swim with their owners. Regardless, this park is extremely popular with locals who typically visit for day trips.

Read more: env.gov.bc.ca

 

Juan de Fuca Trail

photoKati Jenson | Flickr cc by 2.0

Length: 47 km one-way

Off-Leash? No

The Juan de Fuca Marine Trail traces the Pacific Ocean at the western edge of Vancouver Island. There are different trailheads, but hiking from China Beach to Botanical Beach makes for an epic multi-day trek—perfect to tire out your energetic dog. Research tidal information as there are times of day when the tide can be extremely dangerous.

Read more: env.gov.bc.ca and hikebiketravel.com

 

Centennial Trail

Francis King Regional Park

Length: 5.3 km round-trip

Off-Leash? Yes

There are many trails to choose from at Francis King Regional Park. The Centennial Trail features gurgling creeks and lush, forested areas. On this trail, dogs can be off-leash as long as they are kept under control. To complete the full 5.3 kilometres, add an extra loop along the High Ridge Trail.

Read more: victoriatrails.com

Mount Tolmie

photoAlan Sandercock Flickr cc by 2.0

Length: 1.2 km round-trip

Off-Leash? No

Mount Tolmie is a beautiful hike offering one of the best views of Victoria from the summit. There is a road that winds up the mountain leading almost all the way to the top and stopping at many different parking lots. Hikers and their furry friends can choose to start their climb from the very bottom or from various trailheads located by the parking lots at intervals up the mountain.

Read more: victoriatrails.com

 

Where do you like to hike with your pup?

Tweet us or comment below!

More BC content on explore-mag.com:

Plan your next great adventure with explore!
Off the beaten path locations, tips and tricks, interviews with intrepid explorers and more.