The largest park in the Saanich area, Mount Douglas offers a spectacular 360-degree view of the area around Victoria, including east to Haro Strait, north and west through Saanich, and south towards downtown Victoria.
Mount Douglas has a network of trails along its slopes and down to the beach area across Cedar Hill Road. It is very common to drive to the small parking lot at the top of the mountain along Churchill Drive and park there before doing the short walk to one of the two peaks to enjoy the view. However, the route below will describe a hike that begins from the parking lot near the beach area and follows the Irvine Trail to the top of Mount Douglas, returning via the same route.
From the parking lot near the beach area, walk towards the washrooms and look for a sign that marks the start of the Irvine Trail. Follow the trail past the tennis courts up towards the road and carefully cross Cordova Bay Road. Immediately after entering the forest, go left onto the Whittaker Trail.
A short distance later at the trail junction, go right and follow the Irvine Trail. Pass straight through a junction with the Norn Trail and right after at a 4-way junction, go right continuing to follow the Irvine route. The trail begins to climb a bit more steeply as you pass through the beautiful forest.
The trail reaches Churchill Drive, the road that goes to the top of Mount Douglas. Carefully cross the road, watching for traffic and resume hiking up the trail by the sign on the other side. The next section of trail is the most challenging as it climbs steeply, making its way up the side of Mount Doug. At a junction go left and keep following the small white markers that lead you along the Irvine Trail as it hugs the side of the steep hill.
As the trail climbs up over some rocks and into a clearing, there is a bit of a view looking southeast. Keep going as you make your way up the final steep section to the top.
Once at the parking lot, there are two options for seeing the best view, both are worth checking out. First, you can climb up the rock towards the top near the radio tower as it provides scenic views looking south to downtown Victoria and east towards Haro Strait. Afterwards, walk to the other side of the parking lot and follow the paved path uphill as it makes its way to the highest point on Mount Douglas. The views from the top are incredible as you can see in all directions and for many miles on a clear, sunny day.
After soaking in all the views, return to the Irvine Trail on the other side of the parking lot and begin your descent by following the white trail markers downhill. Make sure to go right at the junction, watch your step down the steep hill before crossing over Churchill Drive and resuming your hike on the other side. At the junction go left and then pass straight through the next junction following the Irvine Trail through the forest. Go left onto the Whittaker Trail and looking for the street crossing to your right a short distance later. Walk down the trail and past the tennis courts as you return to the parking lot area where you began.
Mount Douglas is located on the east side of Saanich. There are many routes that can be taken through the city streets to Mount Douglas, however the easiest route from downtown Victoria is to follow the one-way street, Johnston Street. As you leave the downtown area, Johnston becomes Begbie Street. Continue driving as Begbie veers north and becomes Shelbourne Street.
Follow Shelbourne Street north until you pass the Mount Douglas road that goes up the hill to your left. About 400-meters beyond, turn right into a small access road and drive down towards the parking area for the beach area. The Irvine Trail that goes to the top of Mount Douglas starts from this area.
Alternatively, if you are looking to drive to the top instead of hiking to the top, you can turn left at Chuchhill Drive, which is the turn off about 400-meters before the beach parking lot on the other side of the street.
You can take the bus from downtown to Mount Douglas but you will have a roughly 15-minute walk from the bus stop to the beach parking lot area where the Irvine Trail begins. The bus ride takes roughly 1-hour.
To take public transit from downtown to Mount Douglas, you will need to take Bus #28: Majestic / Downtown from the area near Douglas and Johnston Street. Take this bus all the way to the end of its route at Tyndall Avenue and El Sareno Drive.
After existing the bus at Tyndall Avenue and El Sareno Drive, walk 1-block northeast along Tyndall Avenue and go left at the first intersection onto Ash Road. Walk along Ash Road until you reach the main road called Cedar Hill Road. Just to the right, a small roadway heads down towards the parking lot area. Walk down towards the parking lot area and the Irvine Trail begins to the left.
Dogs are allowed on the trails on Mount Douglas but must be kept under control at all times. Please ensure to pick up after your dog and dispose of their excrement. Dogs are NOT allowed on the beach or playground around the lower beach parking lot.
Toilets are located at the lower beach area, near the start of the Irvine Trail. There are no toilets at the top of Mount Douglas or along the trails.