Located in Gowlland Tod Provincial Park, the hike to Holmes Peak climbs steeply from the Caleb Point area to the Ridge Trail, providing incredible views of Saanich Arm on a clear day. While the route can be steep, the trail is well defined and not as challenging as some of the longer hikes nearby. The time it takes to complete this entire hike may vary from 1-3 hours, depending on your level of fitness.
From the wooden map board at the end of the parking lot at Caleb Pike, walk along the gravel trail and immediately go right, down a narrow trail into the forest. Within minutes, go right again at another sign-post and follow the forest trail as it weaves its way amongst the trees before beginning to climb. The trail widens, heading uphill on a steep climb, before leveling and continuing.
The trail exits the forest and passes underneath hydro lines. There is a sign at a junction for the Ridge Trail and a connector trail that bypasses Holmes Peak. Make sure to go left and stay on the wide, well-worn route as it continues under the power lines and climbs steeply before narrowing and entering the forest again.
The trail eventually begins to level and when you reach a grove of arbutus trees, the view from Holmes Peak opens up to your left. On a clear summer’s day, the views down towards Saanich Arm and across towards the Malahat are incredible. Take your time enjoying this spot before heading back.
There are two options to return, you can either go back the way you came or, continue hiking along the trail until you come to a junction and go right at the junction to take the connector trail back to the Ridge Trail. There are no spectacular views or anything special with the second option but it allows you to do a small loop and extend your hike slightly.
Pass under the power lines, returning to the forest as you descend quickly. Go left at the junction and within minutes you’re back at the Caleb Pike parking lot where you began.
The best route to drive to the south end of Gowlland Tod Provincial Park at Caleb Pike is via Millstream Road. From downtown Victoria, follow Douglas Road northbound as it turns into Highway #1 The Trans-Canada Highway as it heads out of the city. Take Exit #14 (Langford / Highlands) and stay in the right lane, turning right onto Millstream Road towards Highlands. Follow Millstream Road past the busy shopping malls and continue on the single lane road as it winds its way through the Highlands neighbourhood for the next 6km or so. Watch for signs to Gowlland Tod Provincial Park and turn left onto Caleb Pike Road. Drive to the end of the road and park in the gravel parking lot.
Note: During the off season, the gravel parking lot is usually blocked off but you can park in the overflow parking lot up, to the left of Caleb Pike, then walk through the main gravel parking lot to the start of the trail.
Dogs are allowed in Gowlland Tod Provincial Park but must be kept on a leash and under control at all times. Keep in mind there is plenty of wildlife within the park, including cougars and other animals that can pose a threat to you and your dog. Please ensure to pick up after your dog and remove all excrement from the park.
Outhouses are located near the gravel parking lot at the Caleb Pike access to Gowlland Tod Provincial Park. No other facilities are located along the trail.