Fire Restrictions in Effect for this Park
Activites and Facilities Available in this Park - Click icon to view
Activities Available at this Park
Facilities Available at this Park
Park Contact R.L.C. Enterprize Ltd.
E-mail address: office@rlcparks.ca
Phone: (250) 474-1336

Click here to view the RLC Enterprize Ltd web link, for additional information.

Gowlland Tod Provincial Park

  • Recent cougar sighting in Gowlland Tod Provincial Park – Tod Inlet area
    BC Parks is advising the public to use caution when visiting the Tod Inlet area in Gowlland Tod Provincial Park. Park visitors should be fully aware of cougar safety precautions especially with dogs and small children – please see information on cougar safety.

    A key contributing factor to past cougar/human interactions has been dogs being off-leash while in the park. BC Parks would like to remind visitors of the requirement for all dogs to be on-leash while in Provincial Parks. Failure to do so is subject to fines under the Park, Conservancy and Recreation Area Regulation, and can result is serious public safety situations.

    Any sightings or encounters with cougars should be reported to the Conservation Officer Service as soon as possible – 1 877 952-7277 (RAAP)

About This Park

Gowlland Tod Provincial Park Gowlland Tod Provincial Park provides excellent day-use recreation opportunities for hiking, nature appreciation and picnicking. More than 25 kilometres of trails, varying in degree of difficulty, offer spectacular views, as well as the chance to view animals in their natural environment. In spring and early summer, the moss-covered rocky knolls come alive with a carpet of colourful, vibrant wildflowers.

Located near Victoria on southern Vancouver Island, the park preserves a heritage of green space for present and future generations. It encompasses nearly the entire east side of Saanich Inlet, stretching from Goldstream to Brentwood Bay and the world-famous Butchart Gardens.

Gowlland Tod protects a significant part of the Gowlland Range, one of the last remaining natural areas in Greater Victoria, and a significant portion of the natural shoreline and uplands of Tod Inlet. The Gowlland Range is a particularly rich area of biodiversity, with more than 150 individual animal and plant species identified. The protected area preserves a rare, dry coastal Douglas fir habitat that features grassy meadows, rocky knolls and old-growth forest. The park also protects a wetland area which provides habitat for the blue-listed Northern red-legged frog and associated riparian areas habitat for the fragrant white rein orchid.

The Gowlland Range towers 430 metres over Finlayson Arm, a unique fjord that only replenishes its marine waters once a year. Species that are rare elsewhere in the world flourish in this isolated and stable habitat. The abundance of marine activity attracts scuba divers from around the world, as well as boaters seeking the calm waters and sheltered anchorage of Tod Inlet.

Visitors to the park will find reminders of the area’s early pioneer activity, as well as remains of settlements associated with the Vancouver Portland Cement Company, which thrived here in the early 1900s. The area has been, and continues to be, important to First Nation peoples, who utilize areas of the park for medicinal, ceremonial and spiritual purposes.

Park Size: 1,280 (955 hectares of upland and 325 hectares of foreshore)

Special Notes:
  • Be prepared for wilderness hiking conditions.
  • Be prepared for sudden weather changes. Extreme and adverse weather conditions can occur at any time, all year long.
  • Be prepared with appropriate outerwear and footwear for wet weather, foggy and slippery conditions. Carry adequate supplies to allow for an emergency on day hikes.
  • Leave a detailed trip plan, including intended route and estimated return time, with a friend or relative.
  • You are reminded to assist in retaining and conserving the fragile habitats of the park. Many rare or endangered plant and animal species can be found in the park. In order to protect their extremely fragile habitat, portions of trails may be closed or seasonally relocated. Please stay on designated marked trails and observe the code of ethics for hiking or other activities.
Stay Safe:
  • Bring your own drinking water as potable water is not available in the park.
  • There is no boat launch in the park. The nearest launch is located at Brentwood Bay.
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Location and Maps

Please note: Any maps listed are for information only – they may not represent legal boundaries and should not be used for navigation. The park is located on the east side of Saanich Inlet on Southern Vancouver Island. There are three park accesses: Tod Inlet, Mackenzie Bight and Caleb Pike.

The Tod Inlet access is located near Brentwood Bay, off Wallace Drive; Mackenzie Bight access is located off Rossdurrance Road, off Willis Point Road; the Caleb Pike access is on Caleb Pike Road, off Millstream Road near Langford. Gowlland Tod Park can also be accessed by boat via Tod Inlet.

Nearby communities include: Brentwood Bay, Saanich, Sidney, Langford, Colwood, Victoria

Maps and Brochures

Any maps listed are for information only – they may not represent legal boundaries and should not be used for navigation.
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Nature and Culture

  • History: Established in 1995, Gowlland Tod was dedicated under the Commonwealth Heritage Legacy Program, which was created to commemorate the spirit of the XV Commonwealth Games held in Victoria in 1994. Comprising more than 1,200 hectares, the park is a result of a unique partnership between the provincial and local governments, organizations and companies. The focus of this park is to preserve a heritage of green space on southern Vancouver Island for present and future generations.
  • Cultural Heritage: The long history of settlement on Finlayson Arm is evident from the many archaeological village and midden sites found here. There is continuing importance of this area to First Nations for medicinal, ceremonial and spiritual values. An early copper mine, Vancouver Portland Cement Company (later developed as Butchart Gardens), the Caleb Pike homestead and an extensive network of old logging and mining roads are testament to the early pioneer settlement in the area.
  • Conservation: Tod Inlet has long been valued for its natural beauty, ecological significance and recreational opportunities. The range of habitats and the waters of the inlet, the shoreline, Tod Creek and uplands support a diversity of wildlife. Blue herons, bald eagles, Peale’s peregrine falcons, river otters, black-tailed deer and red squirrels frequent this area, as well as black bears and cougars. Dozens of plant species, some rare or threatened, are found in the mixed forest of arbutus, western red cedar, alder and coastal Douglas fir. Pockets of Garry oak forest, recognized as one of the most imperiled ecosystems in Canada, are located throughout the park. The rugged highlands of the Gowlland Range preserve rare, dry coastal Douglas fir habitat and feature grassy meadows, moss-covered rocky knolls and old-growth forest. More than 150 individual plant and animal species have been identified here including many birds and wildflowers. Nine identified species at risk, including the phantom orchid and Peale’s peregrine falcon, can be found in the park. The Gowlland Range towers 430 metres over Finlayson Arm, a unique fjord that only replenishes its marine waters once a year. Species that are rare elsewhere in the world flourish in this isolated and stable habitat.
  • Wildlife: Blue herons, bald eagles, Peale’s peregrine falcons as well as river otters, blacktail deer and red squirrels frequent this area.
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Management Planning

Management Planning Information
  • The approved management plan for Gowlland Tod Provincial Park [PDF 654.24KB] is available in PDF format.
    DISCLAIMER:
    This is NOT the original management planning product. This document has been scanned from the original format of the plan. It may contain some formatting changes, however the content is consistent with the original.
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Activities Available at this Park

Canoeing

Canoeing

There are opportunities for canoeing or kayaking in this park. There are access points at Tod Inlet and Mackenzie Bight. Please be aware the Goldstream Estuary is closed to the public. No canoeists or kayakers may enter this area.
Cycling

Cycling

Bicycles are permitted on designated, multi-use trails accessed via all three trailheads. Consult park maps at each location for more information. Cyclists must stay on designated trails and must yield to hikers and horseback riders. Bicycle helmets are mandatory in British Columbia.
Hiking

Hiking

This park has more than 25 km of hiking trails, including multi-use trails for hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking. This extensive trail system dates back to the area’s history of logging and mineral development and sections are accessible from the three trailheads. Click here to view trail information.
Horseback Riding

Horseback Riding

Horseback riding is permitted on designated trails accessed via all three trailheads. Consult park maps at each location for more information. Horses must stay on designated trails.
Pets on Leash

Pets on Leash

Pets/domestic animals must be on a leash and under control all times. You are responsible for their behaviour and must dispose of their excrement. Tod Inlet is home to waterfowl nesting areas and salmon spawning streams. Visitors must keep their dogs on leash and under control at all times to ensure their pets don’t disturb these sensitive areas.
Backcountry areas are not suitable for dogs or other pets due to wildlife issues and the potential for problems with bears.
Swimming

Swimming

There are no lifeguards on duty at provincial parks. There are scuba diving and swimming opportunities at this park.
Wildlife Viewing

Wildlife Viewing

Viewing areas at various points along the trail from Mackenzie Bight to Caleb Pike offer spectacular views of Finlayson Arm, a unique fjord that only replenishes its marine waters once a year. Species that are rare elsewhere in the world flourish in this isolated and stable habitat. The Gowlland Range is a rich environment featuring old-growth Douglas fir, grassy meadows, rocky knolls, a variety of wildflowers and more than 150 species of birds. Hikers may also spot black bears, cougars and deer. Remnants of early settlements can also be seen in the park.
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Facilities Available at this Park

Picnic Areas

Picnic Areas

This park has three day-use accesses: Tod Inlet, Mackenzie Bight and Caleb Pike. All three areas have pit toilets. Only Tod Inlet and Caleb Pike have picnic tables. Parking lots are available at Mackenzie Bight and Caleb Pike.
Pit or Flush Toilets

Pit or Flush Toilets

This park has pit toilets, located at the Tod Inlet, Mackenzie Bight and Caleb Pike trailheads.