Hiking Lower Thetis Lake Trail - Victoria, BC, Vancouver Island
Thetis Lake Regional Park is a large natural park with lakes, hills, forests and marshes set within the city boundary of suburban Victoria, BC, Canada. Hiking is popular along the scenic pathways that wind around lakes, up hills and across creeks. The Lower Thetis Lake hike is one of the more popular and scenic trails in the park and has plenty of things to do for people who love the outdoors.
Located in View Royal and Langford, BC, the park is 834 hectare and 20 minutes from downtown Victoria, BC. Lower Thetis Lake is popular with hikers, kayakers, anglers and nature lovers. The loop hike around the lake takes hikers on an up & down path, through thick forests blanketed with wildflowers (in the spring). This trail and the Upper Thetis Lake hike are the favourites among visitors and are good representations of other hikes on Vancouver Island.
Rating – Easy with some ups & downs.
Distance – Approximately 4 kilometers
Elvation Gain – 20 meters
Duration – 1.5 hours round trip
When to Go – Year Round but the trail can be a bit wet & muddy in sections from November to March.
The trail starts at the main parking lot and winds around the lake. The path is wide and well groomed in most sections but can be a bit muddy and slippery when wet. It’s well maintained and barricades are in place around the rocky parameters where steep drop-offs lead to water. There are some ups and downs along the path but the trail is fairly easy. A good pair of running shoes will provide enough support.
There are plenty of viewpoints along Lower Thetis Lake where people can take a break on benches and watch swimmers frolic in the fresh water, kayakers glide through the water, anglers patiently cast for trout and even crazy teenagers jump from shoreline cliffs (this is not recommended by authorities but you know kids).
Follow the trail to the far side and hikers will come to a junction near the small foot bridge where the trail meets with the Upper Thetis Lake Trail. To return to the parking lot, take the forest path along Trillium Trail that leads back to the parking lots. Along the way, you may see wildlife including owls and deer. Even though the city surrounds the park, cougars and black bears are occasionally spotted within this natural refuge. Solo hiking is not recommended, especially at dawn or dusk.
Near the parking lot are washrooms and change rooms for swimmers and sunbathers. The sandy beach is popular in the summer but life-guards are not always on duty. At the end of the hike, you can wade in the cool, fresh water or hop in a canoe and discover the lake from a floating vantage point.
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Hiking Thetis Lake
- There is a small parking fee in effect from May 1 – September 30. Park in the main parking lot when hiking the Lower Thetis Lake Trail.
- Dogs must be under control at all times. From June 1 – September 15 they must be leashed when passing through the beach area and are not permitted to stay. Please clean up after your dog.
- There are numerous hiking trails in Thetis Lake Regional Park and you can may a number of loop routes. Signage is good in the park.
- It gets VERY DARK in this coastal rainforest once the sun sets. This is true whenever hiking in Canada.
- The park gates close 1 hour after sunset.
- Bicycles are not permitted on the trails.
- Located in the neighbouring Francis/King Regional Park are 500 year old trees, some of the oldest in all of greater Victoria.
Hiking the Lower Thetis Lake trail is close to the city yet is a tranquil and quiet escape into nature. The sights and sounds of Victoria, BC quickly disappear once hikers enter into the thick forest. Enjoy one of the Canada’s best urban parks.
Get more insider tips on Canadian Adventures at Scenic Travel Canada.