This trail is steep!
Goldstream Provincial Park has a variety of different trails to choose from. Some lead to beautiful waterfalls, some have opportunities to view spawning salmon, and almost all of them feature beautiful coastal rainforests, but Mount Finlayson’s appeal lies in the incredible views as well as the opportunity for some good cardio exercise. This is the Victoria equivalent of Vancouver’s Grouse Grind, or the Stawamus Chief Trail in Squamish, where the fitness-focussed crowd gathers to work up a sweat and beat their previous times.
Along the first section of the trail there are a few signs that warn visitors of the steep and rugged terrain ahead, and these signs should not be ignored. The trail climbs over 400 meters in just 2 kilometers, the steepest section being a final rocky ascent to the summit that is quite challenging and unsuitable for small children or anyone with any sort of mobility issues or a lack of sure-footedness. Follow the trail markers to the top, and keep in mind that you’ll be descending via the same route. In some places the marked trail has seen so much traffic that the rocks have become smooth and slippery, so be particularly careful in wet weather and while descending.
Dogs are permitted here, but small dogs will struggle with the climb. Additionally, leashes are required, a policy that becomes very difficult to adhere to during the steeper sections where using your hands is often necessary.
When you catch your breath at the top you’ll see that the reward is easily worth the struggle to get up there. This peak is the highest point in the area, and it offers beautiful views of the city of Victoria out toward Langford, the Strait of Juan de Fuca Strait and the Olympic Mountains across the other side, as well as majestic Mount Baker looming in the east.