Goldstream has something to offer just about everyone. It has picnic tables for those simply wanting a place to eat their lunch and bathe in the park’s natural beauty, and there is camping year-round. The annual chum salmon-spawning run passes through the park and is a quick stop for many visitors each year, often also providing a peek at the bald eagles that swoop down to hunt the spawning fish. The park includes trails that are wheelchair accessible and others are that more challenging yet still appropriate for the average individual. Some of these trails offer fascinating glimpses into the past, wandering past abandoned gold diggings from the Gold Rush. For avid hikers, Goldstream also offers hikes that are more vigorous, including the hike to the summit of Mt. Finlayson, added to the park in 1994, and constituting one of the highest points in Greater Victoria. Another somewhat difficult but worthwhile hike leads out to the Goldstream Trestle.
Starting at the day-use area of the park, this hike passes through pristine forests to ethereal waterfalls and an imposing trestle bridge stretching over a canyon. The hike is a three-kilometre roundtrip that takes about two hours and reaches an elevation of 170 metres, with some steep climbs. The park’s Niagra Falls, which are certainly smaller yet perhaps more celestial than those in Ontario, reach an impressive 47.5 metres. The trestle bridge itself is a strangely beautiful structure nestled high above Niagra Creek, amongst the thick fir trees.
It should be noted that in addition to some strenuously steep climbs, the hike also poses some potential hazards, and hikers should take care to proceed with the necessary precautions. In the rainy season, the water in the tunnel under the highway can become too high to pass, and crossing the highway above is not a good idea. The tracks and the trestle bridge themselves are technically private property, and additionally it is unsafe to walk on the trestle as there are no safety supports. One false step could turn an enjoyable afternoon hike into something much less fun.
The railway that formerly ran trains across this trestle has been inactive since 2015, when the route was closed due to the need for reparations on the tracks. The service continues to be suspended indefinitely. In the meantime, the Goldstream Trestle sits as a unique landmark in one of Vancouver Island’s most breathtaking provincial parks.