Exploring Thetis Lake Regional Park

Victoria, British Columbia

Hiking the Thetis Lake Trail - Victoria, BC

Thetis Lake Regional Park is a large, natural park with lakes, hills, forests and marshes set within the city boundary of suburban Victoria, BC, Canada. Hiking is popular along the scenic pathways that wind around lakes, up hills and across creeks. The park is made up of two lakes, joined together by a natural dam and surrounded by forest covered hills. Hiking, swimming and even fishing are popular activities in this urban oasis. Visitors to Thetis Lake don't have to travel far to experience the natural beauty of southern Vancouver Island.

Located in View Royal and Langford, BC, the park is 834 hectare and 20 minutes from downtown Victoria. If you have the time, a visit to Thetis Lake is well worth it - the placid lakes, towering trees and meandering hiking trails offers stunning and quiet beauty, in huge contrast to city just outside the park boundary. The Lower and Upper Thetis Lake trails are both popular and you'll often meet up with other hikers and their dogs exploring the trails.

Lower Thetis Lake Trail

Rating - Easy to moderate, with some ups & downs
Distance - Approximately 4 kilometers
Elvation Gain - 20 meters
Duration - 1.5 hours round trip
When to Go - Year-round, but the trail can be a bit wet and muddy in sections from November to March.

The trail starts at the main parking lot and winds around the lake. The path is wide and well groomed in most sections, but can be a bit muddy and slippery when wet. It's well-maintained. Barricades are in place around the rocky sections where steep drop-offs lead to water. There are some ups and downs; the trail ranges from easy to moderate.

 

There are plenty of viewpoints along Lower Thetis Lake where people can take a break on benches and watch swimmers enjoy the fresh water, kayakers glide through the water, anglers patiently cast for trout and even crazy teenagers jump from shoreline cliffs (this is not recommended by authorities, but you know kids...).

 

Follow the trail to the far side to a junction near the small foot bridge, where the trail meets with the Upper Thetis Lake Trail. To return to the parking lot, take the forest path along Trillium Trail that leads back to the parking lots. Along the way, you may see wildlife including owl and deer. Even though the city surrounds the park, cougars and black bears are occasionally spotted within this natural refuge. Solo hiking is not recommended, especially at dawn or dusk.

Near the parking lot are washrooms and change rooms for swimmers and sunbathers. The sandy beach is popular in the summer but life-guards are not always on duty. At the end of the hike, you can wade in the cool, fresh water or hop in a canoe and discover the lake from a floating vantage point.


View Lower Thetis Lake Hike (Victoria, BC) in a larger map

Upper Thetis Lake

Rating - Moderate to challenging, with slippery sections
Distance - Approximately 4 kilometers
Elevation Gain - 10 meters
Duration - 1.5 hours round trip
When to Go - Year-round, but the trail can get wet and muddy in sections, particularly from November to March
Where to Park - Park in the upper parking lot to get closer to the trail head. Space is limited.

 

The Upper Thetis Lake Trail curves around the freshwater lake and swampy shorelines where birdwatchers enjoy a visual feast. There are scenic viewpoints on the surrounding cliffs and the elevation gain is small. Benches perched along the trail allow for viewing of the placid Thetis Lake. Watch swimmers frolic in the warm waters, anglers quietly casting their line and on the rare occasion, cliff jumpers hurtling from a top of rocky crags.

The trail narrows in sections as it winds beneath towering Douglas firs, arbutus and maple trees. The trail gets a bit muddy in sections close to the water but the surrounding shores are mainly rocky. A good pair of shoes with grip is required as the rocks can get slippery when wet.


View Upper Thetis Lake (Victoria, BC) in a larger map

 

Things To Do At Thetis Lake

  • Swim in the warm fresh water and sun on the small sand beach. Life guards are not always on duty so never swim alone.

  • Hike! There are over 45 kilometers of hiking trails in the park.

  • Fishing for freshwater trout is always fun.

  • Kayaking and canoeing are popular water sports. Boats with gasoline engines are not allowed on the water but boats with electric motors are permitted.

  • Walk the dog. Please clean up after your pet & keep them under control.

  • Explore more! The neighbouring Francis/King Regional Park features amazing old-growth trees.

Thetis Lake Park is a gem, a tranquil and peaceful escape back to nature but still close to the city. The sounds and sights of the city quickly disappear behind a thick forest veil. Hikers, bikers, swimmers, kayakers & nature lovers will find a scenic refuge in this beautiful urban park.

 

Check out other outdoor adventures and hikes in BC, or visit scenic stops and viewpoints, or roadside attractions in beautiful British Columbia!