Goldstream Park

posted on Aug 06

One of my favourite spots to visit at almost any time of the year is Goldstream Park, a 388 hectare area located 16 km northwest of Victoria.

The area of the park was given to the people of British Columbia by the Greater Victoria Water Board in 1958. Additional lands were designated in 1994 and 1996 through the Commonwealth Nature Legacy and Crown Land additions.

The flora and fauna diversity within the area makes Goldstream Provincial Park a marvel of nature. With two distinct vegetation zones, the park offers views of 600-year-old Douglas-fir and western red cedar as well the arbutus tree, found exclusively on Vancouver Island and the southwest coast of BC. Goldstream River, site of an annual Chum salmon spawning run, also adds to the park’s natural values. Flowers, trees and shrubs are part of the park’s natural heritage, please don’t damage or remove them.

From late October through December of each year, the Goldstream River is the scene of one of nature’s spectacles as chum, coho and chinook salmon enter the river via Finlayson Arm from the Pacific Ocean. Three to four years previously, these same salmon were born here before traveling to the sea to grow and mature. Their return to spawn and die in their ancestral spawning beds is fascinating and the Freeman King Visitor Centre features special programs to help visitors appreciate this miraculous event.

The Goldstream River estuary is closed to the public (including all boaters). This closure has resulted in a resurgence of wildlife using the estuary throughout the year. Due to the closure, once rarely seen bald eagles now abound during the salmon run and nest during the summer. Park users should always be aware of bears and other wildlife in our park environment. Never feed or approach bears or other wildlife.

Goldstream is located on traditional fishing grounds of local First Nations. Old mining shafts and tunnels are all that remains of the gold rush that Goldstream River experienced during the mid-19th century.

To reach the park, follow the Trans Canada Highway #1 northwest, about 16 km from Victoria. Just before the highway winds down the hill into the park area look for the Ice Cream Mountain take-out restaurant on the right hand side of the highway. Keep going on down the hill about another 2 km and you will see the entrance to the park on the right hand side of the highway at the junction of Hwy 1 and Finlayson Arm Road.

Please note: Take extreme care when exiting the park as the highway can be busy and you need to cross over it to get into the south-bound lane. There is usually a constant stream of traffic so you will have to wait for a break and then make a quick exit across the road.