This seashore park contains a diverse landscape with woodlands, freshwater creek, salt marsh, sandy seashore and rocky headlands providing habitat for an equal diversity of plants and animals. Forest trails, sandy beach, nature centre and rich bird life make this an ideal destination for the whole family.
- Nature centre
- Large salt marsh, excellent for bird watching at any time of year, and sand dune ecosystem
- More than five kilometres of trails through woodland, past lagoon and marsh
- Sandy beach overlooking rocky headlands and offshore islets
- Sitting Lady Falls
Trail Rating: Moderate
Size: 58.21 hectares
Location: Metchosin Road in Metchosin
Hours: Sunrise to Sunset
Things to Do
Start at the Nature Centre
CRD Regional Parks staff and volunteer naturalists can answer your questions and point you in the right direction on the trails. Pick up a brochure, and check out the interpretive displays on the lagoon's natural and cultural history. The nature centre is located near the main parking lot. For directions, see "How to Get There" below.
Nature Centre Hours
12pm – 4pm on Saturdays, Sundays and holiday Mondays.
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Sitting Lady Falls
Enter through a dark woodland of immense Douglas-fir. Bigleaf maple is common here, too. The trail slopes downhill alongside Bilston Creek. The creek tumbles toward a waterfall, then spills over volcanic rock – a trickle in summer, and a thunderous cascade in winter. A wooden viewing platform offers a place to rest and take photos.
The narrow trail, which is uneven in places and muddy after a rainfall, leads to the lagoon, where fresh water meets salt water. The calm, nutrient-rich waters are warm and shallow, valuable as nurseries for animals that tolerate both salt and fresh water, and feed on the microscopic life flourishing here.
Further on the dirt footpath, which is uneven in places and muddy after a rainfall, lies the salt marsh, a tidal zone bordering the lagoon. Many of the plants found in the salt marsh are critical for the wintering waterfowl that feed in this area.
Witty's Lagoon is a birder's paradise -over 160 species have been documented in the park. Listen for the rattle call of the belted kingfisher, and the songs of orange-crowned warblers and dark-eyed juncos. Bring your binoculars, but remember to respect the habitat and birds that use it.
From the main park entrance, a 1.2 km moderate forest trail leads to an expansive beach, one of the few sandy beaches with great tides on southern Vancouver Island. The trail to the beach is uneven and narrow in places and muddy after a rainfall. Formed from the nearby eroding bluffs, the beach is also habitat to many sensitive sand-dwelling plants and animals, adapted to the unstable environment of shifting sands and changing tides.
The rocky shore at Tower Point can be accessed from the beach at low tide or from the Tower Point entrance. In this intertidal zone, a wide range of fascinating plants and animals are well adapted to the harsh environment of changing tides. Harbour seals play in kelp beds and sea lions pass by on their migration route each spring.
Tower Point user-friendly trail
Follow the 500m (one way) flat footpath with mixed gravel and dirt surfaces for ocean and mountain views. The trail to Tower Point can be muddy and slippery in the rainy season. You can also take the side trails to the picnic areas in the field.
Teaching Shelter user-friendly trail
The trailhead off the Montessori School parking lot leads to a 300m (one way) trail with a smooth gravel surface with gradual slopes of less than a 6% grade through a forested environment to the large open-air teaching shelter. There is also an accessible toilet. Work is underway to extend the trail in 2014.
- Accessible Nature Centre and teaching shelter
- Accessible toilets at the nature centre, teaching shelter and Tower Point. Pit toilets at the beach, Whitney Griffiths Point and near Sitting Lady Falls
- Picnic areas at the nature centre, Tower Point and the beach
- Main entrance paved parking lot has parking for 55+ vehicles, room for full-size buses,
- Tower Point gravel parking lot provides parking for 15 vehicles, plus grassed area for overflow parking (June-Sept)
- School parking lot has one accessible stall
- Information kiosks at the main entrance, beach and beach parking lot and Tower Point
- Bike rack at main entrance
How to Get There
Main Entrance & Nature Centre
Follow the Trans-Canada Highway from Victoria, and take the View Royal/Colwood #10 exit. Continue on to Old Island Highway, which turns into Sooke Road, Highway 14. Turn left on Metchosin Road and drive 7 kilometres to the park entrance on the left.
Tower Point Entrance
Follow the main entrance directions to Metchosin Road. From Metchosin Road, drive 5.8 kilometres and turn left on Duke Road, drive 650 metres and turn right on Olympic View Drive, which leads to the park entrance on the left.
Teaching Shelter Entrance
Follow the main entrance directions to Metchosin Road. From Metchosin Road, drive 6.8 kilometres to the entrance to the West-Mont Montessori School. The trailhead is off the elementary school parking lot close to the school. (Parking is very limited – busy times are during early morning drop off and mid afternoon pick up).
Allow approximately 40 minutes driving time from Victoria.
Take BC Transit bus #50 from Victoria to the Langford Exchange. Transfer to #54 or #55 to Metchosin Road at Pears Road, near the main park entrance. Contact BC Transit for schedule information.