Located on the north end of the Saanich Peninsula, John Dean Provincial Park has several hiking trails that pass through beautiful forested areas and past scenic viewpoints overlooking the region. The network of hiking trails wrap around Mount Newton and there are several groves of old-growth Douglas Fir and Garry Oak trees throughout the park.
There are many trails within the park and visitors can choose to plan their own route. The description below follows a scenic loop that passes several viewpoints and other points of interest. The trails are a mix of easy to intermediate and there are some sections that have hills and stairs to hike up, so watch your footing carefully and ensure that you are in adequate physical condition.
From the parking lot, follow the trail to the right and near the map of the park into the forest as it immediately heads steeply downhill. As the trail levels go right at the first junction, then go right at a second junction onto the Skipper's Trail as it continues through the thick forest and passes over a small, wooden bridge. This area of the park passes several large, old-growth Douglas Fir trees as they tower high above with their impressive size.
At a junction, go left and continue on the Skipper's Trail (do not take the Bob Boyd's Climb) as you begin to make your way to the western portion of the Provincial Park. The trail continues to meander through the forest until it reaches a small, quiet lily pond with a small dam next to the trail. Walk up the wooden stairs and continue following the trail as it begins to climb, stopping occasionally to catch your breath and enjoy the natural forest.
As the trail begins to level, your pace quickens as you move along the well-defined route. At a 4-way junction, go straight and continue towards the West Viewpoint. When you reach a second junction, this is the one that branches off towards the West Viewpoint. Go right and follow it as it leaves the forest and the trail makes its way over large rocks until you reach the viewpoint that is partially covered by the growth of surrounding trees.
After enjoying the West Viewpoint, return to the previous junction and go right (the other direction from where you arrived), following the Surveyor's Trail as it weaves through the lush forest and crosses a small bridge over Owl Creek. At a junction with a sign on a tree marking Cy's Viewpoint, go right and walk the short distance to the viewpoint. The trees have really grown to block this view over the years, so it's not one of the better ones in the park.
Returning to your route, continue along the Surveyor's Trail until you reach another viewpoint on your right. This isn't marked but the trail opens up and there is a trail that veers off to the right into a grassy clearing. This is a beautiful area and great place to stop and enjoy the view looking southwest towards Saanich Inlet.
After enjoying the viewpoint, continue hiking the Surveyor's Trail as it enters back into the forest, briefly continuing along a relatively easy section before reaching a very steep ravine. The trail will descend very quickly, through a few switchbacks to the bottom, where it crosses a small creek over some rocks, then climbs steeply out of the ravine. This section is short but it is one of the more challenging sections in the park and hikers should watch their footing along the trail and as they cross the creek.
Not too far after the steep ravine, the trail reaches a 4-way junction and the end of the Surveyor's Trail. Go straight onto the to Thompson Trail as it gently ascends and passes several Garry Oak Trees. At a second junction, go right onto the Fern Dell Trail (not towards the Radar Tower) as you head in the direction of Pickles' Bluff. While the trail is well defined, it is not well marked in this area but continue in the direction of the Fern Dell Trail, going left at another junction on what becomes the Lauwelnew Trail (there are no markings for this trail). The path continues to climb as you make your way up, over the large smooth rocks before reaching a junction. Go right and walk down the stairs to the viewpoint at Pickles' Bluff.
Note that there are many worn trails and that you may actually arrive at Pickles' Bluff without following the Lauwelnew Trail and not having taken the stairs. It's best to stay on the official trails to prevent wear and for your own safety, however this area is not well marked and you may find yourself suddenly at the viewpoint.
Pickles' Bluff is the most scenic and popular viewpoint in John Dean Provincial Park as it looks out over farmland towards Haro Strait on a clear day. The busy Patricia Bay Highway can be seen in the distance and, if you're lucky, birds of prey can often be spotted perched on some of the nearby trees.
After enjoying the view at Pickles' Bluff, walk back up the stairs and continue along the trail, going right at the junction as you begin to make your way in the direction of the parking lot. The trail weaves and follows rock steps until it reaches a gravel road.
At the gravel road, there are three ways to go. First, walk to the right where a short path into the forest goes to a wooden viewing platform next to a Communications Tower. This platform offers a view of the area looking to the South East. Return to the gravel road and, if inclined to, walk up the gravel road to the Radar Dome. The fenced in Radar Dome at the top of Mount Newton is used to track all aircraft around Victoria International Airport.
Once you have seen these points of interest, follow the gravel road downhill. The gravel road steadily descends, returning you to where you began your hike at the parking lot of John Dean Provincial Park.
John Dean Provincial Park is located in North Saanich just south of the airport. From downtown Victoria, drive to Blanshard Street and head northbound as you leave the city and Blanshard turns into Highway #17: Patricia Bay Highway.
Just before Island View Road, from the left lane, turn left onto East Saanich Road. If you miss the left turn, simply turn left at the lights at Island View Road and drive to East Saanich Road and turn right onto East Saanich Road.
Follow East Saanich Road for about 6km and turn left onto Dean Park Road. Follow this road as it passes through a residential neighbourhood before following a narrow road uphill, through the forest and arriving at the parking lot in John Dean Provincial Park.
Dogs must be on a leash at all times within John Dean Provincial Park. Please ensure to pickup after your dog.
Outhouses are located at the parking lot for John Dean Provincial Park. There are no toilet facilities located on any of the trails throughout the park.