Camping at Goldstream Provincial Park

Goldstream Provincial Park features a campground just 25 minutes outside Victoria via Highway 1. It has what we call the “deluxe” facilities by provincial park standards: hot shower, flush toilet, deep sinks for dish washing, and even decent cellular reception.

But our first impression of the campground was less than perfect. At around 2pm, there was a huge wait to get through the gatehouse because they made everyone line up to have our photo IDs checked. We waited nearly an hour to get in. All other provincial parks we visited allowed people to drive right to their campsites, and a park employee would drop by for a visit later in the evening to check people in.

What’s even more frustrating is that they intentionally blocked off the 2nd lane for registered guests, so even people who have already checked in had to line up with the crowd to get back into the campsite! When asked about it, the gatehouse worker just laughed at us and said “yes, I hope you have good patience!”

Unnecessary traffic jam every afternoon.

The remainder of our stay at this campground was lovely, as long as we avoid coming back to the campground in the afternoon.

We spent 3 nights at this campground and explored some nearby attractions as well as the campground itself.

There were two deep dishwashing sinks outside the shower building, which was quite the luxury not seen in many other provincial campgrounds.

One of the coolest features of the Goldstream Campground is the well developed pump track. It’s separated into a beginner’s green loop and an intermediate blue loop. The loops meander through lush trees and provide a good variety of board paths, compact dirt, and some small bridges and logs to jump over.

Another must-do at this campground is the short hike to Goldstream Falls via the Upper Goldstream Trail. It’s a mere 600m from our campsite, but the trail took us through some beautiful old-growth douglas firs that made quite an impact.

Junior standing among the giants.

The trail then took us down a few flights of stairs before reaching the pool at the base of the waterfall. The water is very clean and it’s a popular dipping spot for campers.

Prepare for a few hundred steps of stairs.

The Goldstream Campground is quite isolated from the rest of the Goldstream Provincial Park. To get anywhere else in the park, we would either have to hike kilometers and cross a busy Highway 1 (very much recommended against), or have to drive. And to my surprise and dismay, there wasn’t any public access to the Saanich Inlet around here. One could launch a boat at the private Goldstream Boathouse for a fee, but having just done the Sechelt Inlet recently, we skipped this in favour of exploring some nearby attractions.

We went to Langford Lake for a quick look, which was only a 5 minute drive from the campground. A mixed use Ed Nixon trail covers about half of the lake, which is also popular for locals for kayaking and SUPing. It’s small and calm, a good lake to practice paddling in.

We visited the Royal BC Museum in Victoria, which was a blast for everyone, adults included. We learned about Indigenous languages and cultures as well as the early pioneers and settlers in BC.

The grandparents went on a leisurely bike ride along the waterfront in Victoria and we met up at Cadboro-Gyro Park. It was windy and overcast, and the troop was getting tired, so I didn’t paddle in Oak Bay this trip. The waterfront drive was quite beautiful, reminiscent of some scenic drives on the Californian coast. There were so many neat little bays and coves close to downtown Victoria in which to paddle and explore. I can’t help but think back to the linear coastline in Vancouver and envy the Victorians.

We also visited the Olympic View Golf Course, where grandpa had golfed at decades ago and saw deers on the green. Sure enough, there were still deers on the green.

Two stand-out excursions are worthy of separate blog posts: a visit to Kinsol Trestle and my paddle in the Gorge Waterway and Victoria Harbour.

All in all, the Goldstream Campground is a wonderful basecamp for visiting the Greater Victoria region. It has top of the line amenities for provincial parks to keep you comfortable while you decide whether it’s a day to explore the city (22min to BC Parliament), hike in the forest, visit the Butchart Gardens (27mins) or Hatley Castle (16mins), or paddle in Saanich Inlet or on one of the many lakes and coves in the area.

Hmmm what’s in store for today?

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