5 South Island Hikes For Enjoying the Outdoors this Winter
My resolution 2021 was to spend more time with my feet in the dirt, to interact with nature's elements on a daily basis. And as someone who's a homebody in every sense of the word, I've gotta say, I've been killing it! Every weekend we've struck out on another adventure, exploring the muddy trails around the Peninsula and Westshore, and as far as Shawnigan. Here are 5 of our favourites so far for this year! These are all considered easy hikes for anyone who's like me - let's say... not athletic, but energetic!
Gold Mine Trail - Malahat
This is a lesser-known trail in Goldstream park, you can take it right up to the trestle if you like. It passes by a large cave marked with the goldming history. I love this adventure because we chose to do it on a rainy day which made the trail especially great for puddle-jumping; perfect for powering through in your boots. There's many beautiful spots along the way to stop and admire including a few streams, a little waterfall and some beautifully banking green portions of the trail. And of course the train tracks at the end make for a great rewarding view at the top, especially on a misty day.
Horth Hill - Saanich
Yup, The trail made popular by Royalty last Christmas. I really enjoyed the easy nature of this hike, it allowed you to really wander and take in all the ferny goodness. it's actually more of a nature stroll. It's full of smaller trail off shoots as well so you can wander this one a few different ways.
Old Baldy Mountain - Shawnigan
Let me warn you, this one comes with a steep service road to begin. But once you reach the trail oh boy, is it worth it. A stunning rocky climb along the side of the mountain means the amazing view of Shawnigan lake never leaves your sight, it just gets wider and wider as you reach the top. And once you get there your welcomed with the tree swing that sways you right into the open air!
Holmes Peak - Highlands
So many parts of this trail give off that fairy-garden feel: ultra-mossy, lush and narrow. It feels like there's a little bit of magic around you. And like Mount Baldy you're rewarded with a tree swing at the top. This is a great hike for those who are just beginning to get into hiking as it's very well marked and somewhat busy. You won't fee like you're out in the woods completely alone. It finishes off with a beauty view of the valley, and then you're able to turn around and head downhill all the way back home.
Mount Wells Summit - Langford
This has become a more popular trail this past year, for good reason. We loved this one because it's kind of a two-parter. Start with a muddier trail hike that you can take at a more leisurely pace until you face a steep scramble up some rocks. After that it's chording, and chain rails the rest of the way to the top! It was icy the day we hiked up and watching the streams run under the ice and seeing the ice formations that spring from the loose rocks was absolutely fascinating! It's not a difficult climb but we did see a couple small dogs struggling. I've also heard people mention it's a tricky one for kids however we saw plenty of little ones over 8 or so. Once you reach the top, there's plenty of open space to enjoy a lunch, watch the view, and rest before you take the trail back down.
I hope one of these trails peaked your interest, See you on the mountain!