Back in 2013 when Debbie and I were super fit and fast, we started mapping some of the best trails to run on Southern Vancouver Island in a series we called “7 Trails to Run Before You Die, Vancouver Island Edition“. Although we’ve been hiking more than running lately (I haven’t run since September 2018 for reasons I’m sure you are aware of), we still map trails and take photos of our adventures.
Yesterday we did a short hike at Devonian Regional Park in Metchosin, located about a 40-minute drive from Victoria. Debbie, being a Metchosinite, has been here many times before but for some reason I’ve never been (well, at least that I can remember) to this little gem of a park.
There are a few trails you can take in the park, but we took the main one down to Taylor Beach. It’s not a very big park, so any route you go I’m sure you’d end up at the beach.
There’s a good-sized parking lot at the trailhead with bathrooms, which is always appreciated. The trails were very well kept, with some steeper sections near the end. The route passed the Indy test (meaning Indy could make it the whole way without me having to pick him up and carry him over obstacles!), so I would consider this an easy hike.
It only took us about 15 minutes to get down to the beach from the parking lot, and about 40 minutes for the entire round trip (we had to stop to enjoy the views and to Instagram, obviously). The route we took was less than a kilometre in distance one way, so this would be the perfect hike for your whole family. Once you reach Taylor Beach, head to the right and climb up on the rocky outcrop for some excellent beach and mountain views.
Trail Rating (out of four stars)
Overall: Although this is a very short hike, it’s a beautiful park and worth a visit. The beach was quiet and would be the perfect spot to pack in a picnic and hang out for the day.
The Best Trails to Run Before You Die – Vancouver Island Edition Series:
- Gowlland Todd
- Trestle Run in Goldstream Park
- Thetis Lake to Stewart Mountain
- Mount Quimper in Sooke
- Coast Trail in East Sooke Park
- Mount Doug Park in Saanich
- Matheson Lake
- John Dean Park
- Broom Hill
My criteria for the best trails to run: Everyone has their own preference when it comes to trails — some like them to be hilly, others don’t. Some prefer roots and rocks, others feel they are too clumsy to navigate that kind of terrain and might prefer flat chip trails. I think we can all collectively agree, though, that the more scenic the trails are, the better.
Terrain: I like single-track trails that have a variety of terrain — moss, rocks, mud, dirt forest floor and roots. But not so mangled that you need to walk to navigate it. It must be about 85% runable.
Elevation: I like hills when running trails. Too many long, flat stretches bore the hell out of me. I like trails that undulate, twist and turn through the forest, then climb up steeply before dropping back down again. Nothing beats running downhill after an epic climb up in my opinion.
Accessibility: As much as I’d love to go on a day trip to run a trail, I don’t usually have time for that on the weekends. If I can get to a trail from my place in Saanich in under an hour, bonus. If there’s free parking, two points. If there are water fountains and a bathroom at the trail head, wicked.
Distance: I usually go by time when running trails, not distance. I like an hour to two hours for a trail run (so anywhere between 6 – 12 km, depending on terrain). Short enough that you don’t need to pack a lot of water or food, but long enough to get a good workout in.
Vistas: I love running to a destination with a lookout or point of interest. The more epic view points along the way, the better.
Scenery: I love running near the ocean, or in a forest with lost of ferns and moss. Anywhere away from civilization, really.
Do you have any suggestions of trails to hike we haven’t explored yet? Le us know in the comment below!