McKenzie Bight is a scenic beach area located along the eastern shore of Saanich Arm in Gowlland Tod Provincial Park. The hike to the beach area can be completed via a loop by walking down the steep Cascade Trail past Cascade Falls and returning via the wider McKenzie Bight Trail.
From the McKenzie Bight parking lot area, go left and walk along the paved road heading south west for about 300-meters until you reach a metal gate with a sign pointing to the Timberman Trail. Follow this beautiful, forested trail as it makes its way gradually downhill until reaching a wooden bridge.
After crossing the wooden bridge, go right at the junction and following the Cascade Trail. After rounding a corner, the trail descends very steeply. In the springtime, you can hear the rushing water of Pease Creek as it passes over the waterfall called Cascade Falls. Follow the trail next to the wooden railings and look to your right for a view of Cascade Falls.
Continue following the trail downhill as it weaves through a few narrow switchbacks before levelling and exiting to the right at the beach. Walk to the wooden bridge and cross Pease Creek where the McKenzie Bight Trail begins immediately on your right. Before returning, explore the area by walking out to the beach and enjoying the view. You can continue following the trail northward up a short hill where there are outhouses and a scenic view to the left along rocky outcrops that dot the shoreline.
Once you have enjoyed the McKenzie Bight area, return to the wooden bridge and begin hiking up the wide gravel McKenzie Bight trail towards the parking lot. This uphill trail is a bit more gradual than the Cascade Trail you walked down on but it still has moments where you will need to stop to catch your breath. As you pass the brown wooden signs, a few more steps being you back to the parking lot where you began.
The McKenzie Bight area of Gowlland Tod Provincial Park is easiest accessed via the West Saanich Road from the Victoria area. From downtown Victoria, folllow Blanshard Street northbound as it leaves the city and turns into Highway #17 heading towards the ferries. Take Exit #11: Royal Oak Drive. After exiting, turn left and cross over the highway, following Royal Oak Drive to the 4-way intersection with West Saanich Road. Turn right onto West Saanich Road and follow this road for the next 5-6km. Turn left onto Wallace Drive and Drive 0.5km. Turn left onto Willis Point Road and drive about 4km until you see signs for Gowlland Tod Provincial Park. Turn left at the signs, onto Ross Durrance Road and the gravel parking lot will be within 200 meters on your left.
Note: If the parking lot is full, you are allowed to park alongside the road, however you must park off the road so that your tires are not on the pavement. Parking can be an issue in this area on a busy weekend.
Dogs are permitted in Gowlland Tod Provincial Park but must be kept on a leash at all times. There is wildlife in the park, including several cougar sightings annually, so it is important to be extra cautious for your and your dog’s safety. Please ensure to pick up after your dog and remove all excrement from the park.
Pit toilets are located in two places. There are toilets along the McKenzie Bight trail just down from the parking lot area and also near the beach area, just north and up the small hill from the where the trails access the beach area.