Located about 35 km from Victoria, the Malahat SkyWalk is a new Vancouver Island attraction. It has a walkway suspended in the trees and a lookout tower.
The Malahat SkyWalk
Open as of July 2021, the Malahat SkyWalk is one of British Columbia’s newest major attractions. It’s a popular destination for both locals and people from out of town.
The attraction aims to be both fun and educational. The place lets guests soak in beautiful nature from a new perspective. There is also the opportunity to learn about the local ecosystem along the way.
Planning a trip to Yoho National Park or Banff in the next little while? If you find yourself anywhere near Golden, BC, be sure to check out Golden Skybridge. That’s where you’ll find the highest suspension bridges in Canada!
Where is the Malahat SkyWalk?
Located in the Cowichan Valley, the SkyWalk is around a half-hour drive northwest of Victoria. It’s also just 8 km from the Mill Bay Ferry Terminal and an hour’s drive south of Nanaimo.
The attraction’s address is 901 Trans-Canada Highway. It’s pretty much at the top of the Malahat which is a steep section of the #1 Highway about halfway between Victoria and Duncan.
There is lots of free parking at the venue. Only on the busiest of days does it fill up.
Hours and Rates
The Malahat SkyWalk expects to be open 365 days a year. It opens at 10 am and closes at 6 pm every day (but the admission gate closes at 5 pm).
As of the summer of 2021, admission prices are the following:
- Adults (ages 18 to 64) – $31.95
- Seniors (ages 65+) – $28.95
- Youth (ages 6 to 17) – $18.95
- Children (ages 0 to 5) – Free
- Families (2 Adults and 2 Youth) – $86.00
What is the SkyWalk
The Malahat SkyWalk is Vancouver Island’s newest major tourist attraction. The two main features of the SkyWalk are its elevated walkway through the forest and the spiral lookout tower.
The attraction begins with a 700-metre “TreeWalk” walkway that stands in the middle of the forest. At 20 metres above ground, the walkway is amongst the treetops.
The lookout observation tower lies at the end of the walkway. The tower is 10 stories tall and the observation deck at the top is 250 metres above sea level.
From the top of the tower are amazing 360-degree views of the surrounding area. Visible landmarks include the Gulf Islands, Saanich Peninsula and Saanich Inlet. Visitors can even see Mt. Baker in the distance in Washington State on a clear day!
When exiting the lookout tower guests can choose to walk back down the steps they came up. There is also an option to go down a 20-metre spiral slide instead. Both methods return you to the ground.
The SkyWalk’s website suggests planning to spend around an hour and a half at the attraction. Of course, that can change depending on how long you wish to stay in the area (and how many times you want to go down the slide).
If the weather is good, the skies are clear and you take multiple trips down the slide, you might want to stay longer than a couple of hours. If it’s raining and miserable, you’ll likely stay for less.
OTHER ATTRACTIONS IN VICTORIA AND NANAIMO
If you like outdoor adventures, another place you’ll likely enjoy is WildPlay Elements Park. They have locations in Victoria, Nanaimo and the Lower Mainland.
Visitors can find bridges through the trees as well as zip lines and challenging ropes course elements at WildPlay. See the wildplay.com website to learn more. Or, for a video and details about the venue near Vancouver, see the article about WildPlay Maple Ridge on the VancouversBestPlaces.com website. For information about the location in BC’s capital city, see our article about WildPlay Victoria.
What to Expect at the SkyWalk
Visitors head toward the walkway after getting their tickets at the gate. You then get your ticket scanned and walk 700 or so metres along a network of overhead bridges. It’s a fair distance to the tower, but the view is pretty the entire way.
The tower is a very cool-looking structure. It’s made primarily of wood (as is the walkway you take to get there). The tower is over 100 feet tall.
There is a ramp that goes all the way around the edge of the structure that winds its way from the bottom to the top. On one side of the tower is the forest. The other sides offer views of Saanich Inlet.
In the middle of the structure is the slide down (as well as a circular staircase that isn’t ordinarily in use). At the top are world-class views and an “Adventure Net” that you can walk on.
The best thing about the attraction is the view. It’s amazing and highly recommended! Tied for second place is the originality of the attraction. The spiral tower is a very unique, interesting and beautiful structure. Walking along the bridge system to get there, ascending the circular ramp, admiring the views as you go, and then enjoying the scenery from the top is a memory-making experience.
Also tied for second place, and arguably in first place for some (including most children), is the slide back down.
The SkyWalk Slide
The slide goes from near the top (but not the very top) down to the very bottom. The lineup to go down the slide can take up to 45 minutes or even longer on busy days. On a normal day, however, you usually don’t have to wait long.
When you arrive at the tower, at the entrance to the structure, there is a place where you can pick up a carpet to use when going down the slide. If you plan to use the slide, you need to take a carpet.
The slide itself is a metal tube-like tunnel that goes around and around from the top of the tower to the bottom. It’s fully enclosed, so dark inside. It’s a lot of fun (unless you don’t like slides, dislike dark tunnels or are claustrophobic).
At the beginning of the SkyWalk is the welcome centre. The centre has a café and a gift shop along with ticketing areas and restrooms.
The café is convenient and focuses on Vancouver Island-produced treats. You can have lunch before beginning your journey, or you can grab something to eat on your way out.
The gift shop also has a local focus in terms of the souvenirs and artisan products it sells. Items for sale include art by members of the Malahat Nation whose traditional territory the SkyWalk stands on. The Malahat Nation has partnered with the SkyWalk on this project.
Accessibility at the Attraction
Both the SkyWalk and the lookout tower are accessible for wheelchairs and strollers. There are wheelchair-accessible restrooms and parking as well.
The one area that isn’t as accessible is an optional trail on which you can return to the welcome centre. While not an issue for most, this particular trail is challenging for wheelchairs, strollers and people with mobility issues. The rest of the attraction, however, is perfectly fine for the most part.
Malahat SkyWalk 360-Degree View
There are 360-degree views of the surrounding area from the top of the Malahat SkyWalk Tower. It’s impressive!
To give you a really good idea of what the scenery looks like from the top, check out the following 360-degree photo. Assuming your device is compatible with the technology, you can swipe the photo from side to side to see the view in all directions. Scroll up, down and from side to side to see everything. Also depending on the device you are using, you can zoom out and (on desktop devices) view in full screen.
Tips and Advice
Below are some suggestions and extra things to know to help you make the most out of your Malahat SkyWalk experience.
TIP #1: Go on a nice day with blue skies and good visibility. You’re going for the views (which aren’t so good when it’s raining, foggy or when there are low clouds obscuring the views of the mountains and water below).
TIP #2: If you need to use the washrooms, use the ones at the entrance (at the back of the main building).
TIP #3: After walking up to the top of the tower you can either walk back down the way you came or you can go down the slide. Be sure to grab a carpet at the bottom before you go up, even if you aren’t sure you’ll want to slide down. If you change your mind, you don’t have to take the slide. You can still just walk back down.
TIP #4: Because it’s long and dark, the slide isn’t for everyone. If you go down and find you have to scream, don’t worry – you won’t be the first person to do that. And if you do scream loud, everyone will hear your echoing shrieks and it’ll give folks a chuckle and put a smile on their faces.
TIP #5: When you return from the tower to the parking lot you can go the way you came, via the TreeWalk. Or you can walk back along a gravel trail. Both routes take about the same amount of time and are approximately 700 metres in length. After lots of rain, the TreeWalk route can be best though because of mud on the trails.
TIP #6: The attraction is very accessible. You need a car to get there, but it’s a fairly easy place to walk around once on site. It’s very wheelchair and stroller-accessible. There are no steps or stairs. It is a long way from the parking lot and entrance to the actual SkyWalk, however. You have to walk about 700 metres to actually get to the tower, but it’s flat pretty much the entire way.
TIP #7: If money is tight, and you just want to see the view, there are a couple of free viewpoints at the side of the highway. One is just before the Malahat SkyWalk and another one is just after. The views from the lookout spots are both beautiful and free. The view from the tourist attraction’s tower, however, is similar, but better.
For more information visit Malahat SkyWalk‘s website.
BC’s other major new attraction in 2021 is Golden Skybridge. Operated by Pursuit, the same company that operates FlyOver Canada in Vancouver, the Golden Skybridge is Canada’s highest suspension bridge. It’s located in Golden BC (which isn’t far from Yoho National Park and Banff National Park in Alberta). See the Golden Skybridge website for details about this other attraction.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
For the next time you’re in the Lower Mainland, other articles and websites you might find of interest include the following:
- Superfly Ziplines (in Whistler)
- WildPlay Element Park (in Maple Ridge)
- Lower Mainland Parks and Nature
- Metro Vancouver’s Top 100 Places
- Outdoor Recreation in Vancouver