Goldstream Provincial Park | Salmon Run, Niagara Trestle + Waterfall!
Updated: Apr 20, 2019
I took one of my last opportunities to explore the island before I leave and spent the morning in Goldstream Provincial Park. I couldn't believe a place so beautiful and pristine could be located so close to a capital city! Goldstream has so much to offer - home to waterfalls, hiking trails and the fascinating annual salmon run.
Getting to Goldstream PP
Goldstream is located 16kms north west of Victoria, just off the Trans Canada Highway (#1). The easiest way to get to Goldstream is by car - the entrance to the day-use area is at the junction of Trans Canada Hwy #1 and Finlayson Arm Road. There is also a bus from downtown Victoria that stops nearby.
Goldstream is the site of an annual salmon spawning run. From October to December each year, thousands of salmon leave the Pacific Ocean and swim up the Goldstream River to return to the streams in which they were born. They return to spawn and die in their ancestral spawning beds.
Dead salmon litter the banks of the river (the smell is quite over-powering) and create a feast for bald eagles, bears and seagulls.
You can view his natural phenomenon up close from the riverside trails, just a few steps from the day use car park. It was pretty fascinating to see these massive fish struggling to swim upstream.
One of the trails was closed off due to bear activity in the area!
Niagara Trestle Hike
The hike to the Niagara Trestle Bridge is really beautiful and fairly easy. 2 hours is plenty of time to do the entire hike return and take some Instagrams along the way. The trail runs through the forest and passes the spectacular Niagara Falls along the way. However, I saw no signage for this hike on the trail so I relied on the directions from this article from Victoria Trails to navigate my way.
Goldstream PP - Mount Finlayson
The Trans-Canada highway runs through the the Park and divides it east to west. There is no pedestrian access across the highway. To get to Naigara Falls/Trestle from the day use area you have to either drive north on the highway, turnaround, then drive back to a parking area on the other side of the highway or walk through a graffitied tunnel that goes underneath. There are some times of the year where the water level in the tunnel is too high so you will be forced to cross the highway by car.
Tunnel underneath the Trans-Canada
Although smaller than the more famous waterfall of the same name, B.C's Niagara Falls is is quite spectacular. The falls cascade 47.5 metres down a cliff into a canyon pool below.
The Niagara Trestle is technically private property as it is part of the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway. However, the railway is no longer in use and there weren't any signs to say you couldn't enter...
I hiked up early on a Saturday morning and I was the only one there. It was pretty cool walking out to the centre of the trestle. Looking through the planks I could see the Niagara River running below. A walk across is not for the faint-hearted! The bridge is still in good condition - the gaps between the planks aren't wide enough to fall through, but you obviously need to be cautious close to the edges.
Goldstream Provincial Park is home to an array of wildlife - from cougars to minks to salmon and vultures. On the day I was there, the nature hut had a list of wildlife recently spotted which included a blue heron, black bear, bald eagle, kingfisher and beavers!
Wildlife in Goldstream
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You can read about all my other adventures in Canada here!