Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Malahat Drive Scenic Tour

If you drive north of Victoria towards Duncan, you will have to travel over the Malahat Drive. It starts just on the outskirts of Langford, a city in and on the Western Shore of greater Victoria. The first place you come to is Goldstream Provincial Park. It is a right turn and well signed. It is a beautiful park. In the summer it is green and lush. The Goldstream River runs into Saanich Inlet a large fjord that lies between the Saanich Peninsula north of Victoria and the Malahat. There is a large estuary at the end of Saanich Inlet. There is a nature house on the estuary that tells much about the Park and the great salmon runs that occur in October and November each year. As the salmon start to die after they spawn, the eagles and gulls move in for the feast. It is not uncommon to see 40 or more eagles in one visit. There is an eagle cam in the nature house that you can manipulate to view the eagles.

When you drive further up the Malahat there are a few viewpoints worth visiting. The best one is at "split rock" at the top of the Malahat. The highway was cut through the rocks and a large chunk of rock is between the highway and the lookover. It is beautiful as you will see from the attached video.

If you are going back into Victoria, you can pull off the highway to the right as you get back to Goldstream and take the short trail into Little Niagara Falls. It is especially spectacular in the winter when the water is really running, or the falls are frozen. You can also access the falls by walking through the tunnel under the highway from the Park, if the water flow is not too significant.

The fall colors in October are incredible. This park also has some significant old growth trees some of which are located in the parking lot.

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