Spring comes early to the Southern Gulf Islands. The Adirondack chairs are out at Hastings…
Get out into nature with these must-do hikes for your weekend getaway.
One of the best things about Salt Spring Island is the amount and variety of accessible hiking. Whether you’re looking for a casual stroll along a quiet beach, a steep climb to get a workout, or simply to be immersed in nature, there’s a trail for you. Best of all, even in the height of summer when Ganges is bustling and accommodations are full, the trails remain relaxed and uncrowded – a haven of peace. When you’re ready to explore, here are a few of our favourite spots to enjoy the quiet nature of hiking on Salt Spring Island:
A short drive from Hastings House, Mount Erskine offers a moderate climb through rocky forest before stunning you with better and better viewpoints over the Salish Sea to Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. You can access the trail network from Trustees Trail off of Juniper Place, or for a more intense uphill climb, you can start at the very base of the mountain on Collins Road. While it’s a great trail any time of day, the summit is a particularly breathtaking sunset spot. Consider an evening hike – pack a picnic for the show and a couple of flashlights for the way back down.
Duck Creek Park is the perfect place to go for a quick and pretty nature fix. To get to the best of the trails, park at the trailhead off Sunset Drive and take a sharp right. After a few minutes’ walk, you’ll be rewarded with an idyllic combination of mossy covered trees, the calming sound of a rushing stream, and lush, green foliage – especially in the wetter months. Duck Creek is also a popular dog park, so if you’ve got a puppy in tow, mingle with the other dog lovers in the large open meadow.
Chris Hatfield Trail
You’ve probably heard of Ruckle Park, but have you hiked in through the lesser-known back entrance? The Chris Hatfield trail starts at the northernmost tip of the park where few people ever venture. Tougher to find and not listed on online maps, you can find the trailhead at the south end of Meyer Road. This long, flat trail hugs the coastline and boasts secret coves and scenic, rocky overhangs. You can make it an out-and-back adventure or you can take it all the way into the campground at Ruckle Provincial Park for a full afternoon day-hike. Either way, you’ll feel like you’re miles away from civilization.
Tucked away in the south end past Fulford Harbour, Reginald Hill arguably has the best views on the island. With a sweeping panorama of the Salish Sea, the Fulford Valley, and Vancouver Island beyond, you’ll wonder why you haven’t heard anyone raving about this spot before. A short but steep climb from the cul-de-sac at the end of Morningside Road, it certainly isn’t for the faint of heart. Rocky steps and the mossy forest floor make the trail beautiful the whole way, but the summit takes the cake. A perfect place to explore on a rainy day, the views take on an ethereal quality when the light shines through the clouds.