Mount Doug Park is a mountain and forested park near Victoria’s Gordon Head neighbourhood that features 21 km of trails, a rocky beach and beautiful views.
If you want to see a birds-eye view of Greater Victoria and the Saanich Peninsula, drive to the top of Mount Doug Park and have a look around. The scenery from the peak is spectacular.
Where is Mount Doug
Mount Doug is located in the municipality of Saanich at the edge of Cordova Bay, a body of water along the eastern coast of Greater Victoria.
The mountain top is accessed by Churchill Drive which is located by the intersection of Shelbourne Street and Cedar Hill Road. Mount Douglas Beach is at the northeast edge of the park at 4550 Cordova Bay Road. (Note: Recently the road up has been made “pedestrian only,” or at least for some periods of the year.)
About Mount Doug
Mount Doug Park is close to 188 hectares or 1.88 square kilometres in size and the mountain peak is about 213 metres or 710 feet high. It’s fairly big for an urban mountain and can be seen from far away. From the top, it offers 360 degree views of the region.
Established in 1858, the park is comprised primarily of dense forest and features 21 kilometres of hiking trails, a rocky shoreline that includes Mount Douglas Beach, and a mountain peak with spectacular views that’s conveniently accessible by car.
The Mountain Peak
Mount Doug is famous for its views from the top. Many people hike to the peak, but many more drive up, park in the small parking lot, and then walk the final short distance at a leisurely pace.
There is a wheelchair-accessible lookout area right at the parking lot near the top of the mountain with fabulous views of the surrounding area. From the parking lot there are also two trails that take you a short distance even further up the hill. In one direction there is a fairly easy gravel walking trail that most people can easily manage, although not with wheelchairs or walkers. People do manage to go up though with study strollers.
In the other direction the trail is also still quite manageable, but a bit more of a rugged climb, especially at the start over the rocks. Once you’re over the initial rock, however, exploring the rest of the way is relatively simple.
Tips and Advice
Below are some tips and useful bits of information to help you make the most out of your visit to Mount Doug Park.
TIP #1: The short treks to the peak of the mountain from the top parking lot are highly recommended and manageable by most people, young and old. There are multiple rocks from which to admire the stunning views, but there are also steep slopes and cliffs.
TIP #2: The top of Mount Doug is a wonderful place for children to explore and have fun, but keep a close eye on young folk and don’t let them get too close to the edges. Good sturdy walking shoes are also recommended.
TIP #3: The sunsets from the top of Mount Doug are spectacular. Take your camera for the 360 degree views!
TIP #4: If planning to drive up to the top of the mountain, go after 12 noon. Because of the park’s popularity and in an effort to encourage cycling, Churchill Drive – the sole road up to the top – is closed to traffic until noon seven days a week. If you arrive early and find it’s closed, (1) park at the bottom and get some exceptional exercise walking up, (2) come back later after lunch during the road’s opening times or (3) go to Mount Douglas Beach and explore that area for a while first.
TIP #5: The views from the top are worth the effort to see them and the hike from the bottom to the top is about 1.5 kilometres.
TIP #6: The best time to go to the beach at Mount Doug is on a sunny day at low tide. On a clear day, from Mount Douglas Beach you can see snow-covered Mt. Baker across the water in Washington State. Also, at low tide there’s more to explore.
TIP #7: Dogs are only allowed on the beach from September until April.
Note: Mount Doug is a popular place, but the parking area at the top isn’t big. The odds of finding a parking spot are usually pretty good, but less so on weekends and in the summer.
Mount Douglas Beach
Mount Douglas Beach is a small rocky piece of shoreline at the northeast corner of Mount Doug Park. There is a large parking area at the entrance and from there a short but slightly steep walk down to the water. Near the parking lot there is also a children’s playground.
There is a bit of sand at the beach, but it’s mostly rocky and rugged. Don’t expect to see people swimming, but do expect washed up logs at the high tide line, occasional marine life and birds, and beautiful views on sunny days.