The trail to Mount Work from the McKenzie Bight area near Gowlland Tod Provincial Park is a popular hike that climbs steeply before reaching a scenic views overlooking the park and Saanich areas. The top of Mount Work can also be reached via the trail from the Munn Road area.
From the map board at the McKenzie Bight parking lot, follow the wide trail as it immediately heads uphill. The first section of trail is a multi-use trail shared with mountain bikers and sometimes horseback riders. At a junction, go right and follow the hiking trail that heads to Mount Work as it heads deeper into the forest.
At first the trail climb gradually but then reaches a section where it becomes much steeper as you quickly gain elevation. Watch you step as you make your way up over loose rocky sections while the trail zigs and zags to help with the uphill climb. As the trail levels, you pass through a section which is relatively flat, picking up the pace in the process. Make sure to follow the trail markers and watch your step over some of the larger rocks as they can be slippery when they are wet.
The trail again begins to climb steeply as you have to use your hands through a couple of sections for balance when pulling yourself up hill. The steep section is intense but short as the route again levels briefly before heading uphill again at a much less steep incline.
When you reach a rocky bluff to your right, walk off the trail and out onto the rock for the first viewpoint looking west towards Gowlland Tod Provincial Park. There is no view from the peak of Mount Work and the best viewpoint is actually on the other side of the mountain, a few minutes beyond the peak.
To see the second viewpoint, continue following the trail as it pass through a lightly forested area amongst the rocky terrain and arrives at a rock with a plaque marking the peak of Mount Work. Pass this landmark as the trail begins to descend. When it reaches a section that leaves the trees and pass down over several large rocks with an incredible view of Saanich, you have reached the best viewpoint on Mount Work. This is the best place to stop for a snack to take in the view before returning.
Return to the McKenzie Bight area by walking back up the trail over the rocks, passing the peak of Mount Work, then descending back down the north side of the mountain. Watch your step as you carefully make your way down some of the rock faces and loose rock sections. The vegetation changes the further down you get, becoming thicker forest and less rocks. Eventually the trail meets with the wide multi-use trail and it’s just a short walk to your left before you return to the parking lot.
The trail to Mount Work from the McKenzie Bight area begins right from the small gravel parking lot for that area of Gowlland Tod Provincial Park. From downtown Victoria, follow 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 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 limited on the weekends when the area is very busy.
Dogs are allowed off-leash on the trails to Mount Work but must be under control at all times. Please ensure to pickup after your dog and remove excrement from the park.
There are no pit toilets at the McKenzie Bight parking lot or on the trail to Mount Work from the McKenzie Bight side. However, there are toilets a short walk from the parking lot, across the street and along the gravel trail to McKenzie Bight.