The short walk along forested trails takes you to the scenic Coles Bay, with a scenic view of the Saanich Inlet. Coles Bay Regional Park is a great place to take the family as there are picnic tables and the beach area with its calm water is great for children to play.
There are 2 trails that lead from the parking lot area to Coles Bay. The first is the most commonly traveled route that begins next to map of the park and is called the Beach Trail. The second begins several meters to the right of the map from the grassy area and is called the Nature Trail. This description will take the common Beach Trail route to Coles Bay and then return via the Nature Trail.
From the map, follow the gravel trail into the forest as you quickly leave the parking lot and are surrounded by beautiful western red cedar trees. Within minutes, you reach a trail with a wooden bridge to your right. The short trail to the right joins the other route that we will return along.
Continue along the trail as it reaches a clearing with picnic tables. Pass the picnic area and not much further along the gravel path, the trail reaches the beach.
The beach area is beautiful and can be fairly busy during the summer months. It's a popular area to swim and for kids to play along the calm waters and sandy shore. During the off-season, the area is a great location for bird watchers.
To return via the other trail, walk back to where the trail you arrived meets the beach and go left up the steps. There will be a view from the top of the trail todays the beach. Follow the trail as it veers right and heads back towards the parking lot along the park boundary. There are two junctions on your right, which take you back to the main trail, however just continue walking along this route going straight and you will arrive back at the park entrance, this time on the grassy area off to the side of the parking lot.
To get to Coles Bay Regional Park from downtown Victoria, drive to Blanshard Street and head northbound as you leave the city and the road becomes Highway #17 heading towards the ferries. After driving about 24km, take Exit #26 to McTavish Road. After exiting, you will need to go through 3 roundabouts before heading directly west on McTavish Road. Go through the first roundabout so that you go left and across the highway. Go through the 2nd roundabout so that you go left afterwards. The 3rd roundabout, go straight and you should find yourself on McTavish Road.
Continue to drive along McTavish Road and eventually turn right onto West Saanich Road (at the end of McTavish). Turn left onto the first street, which is called Ardmore Drive. Then turn left onto the 2nd street, called Inverness Road and drive a short distance to the gravel parking lot on the right.
The bus can be taken to Coles Bay Regional Park from downtown Victoria but the trip will take about 1 hour and 30 minutes and require a transfer.
Walk to the corner of Douglas and Yates in downtown Victoria and take bus #21: Glenrosa northbound. Exit the bus at Camosun Interurban and look for bus #83: Sidney / Brentwood / Royal Oak. Take bus #83 northbound and get off the bus at 9190 block West Saanich, which is near Coles Bay Regional Park (also near the Glen Meadows Golf and Country Club). Ask the bus driver if you are unsure.
After exiting the bus, walk back to McTavish Road and cross the street, and follow a small trail that heads westbound. At the end of the trail, go right on Inverness Road and look for a gravel parking lot to the park on the left.
Dogs are allowed off-leash and under control on the short trails to Coles Bay. However, from June 1 - September 15th, dogs must be on-leash at the beach and are only allowed to pass through (ie. they cannot stay). Please be aware of wildlife, including seals and birds, and ensure your dog does not interfere with their habitat.
There is a pit toilet at the parking lot next to the start of the trail and another one next to picnic tables along the Beach Trail.