Out for a … Cardio Blast – Mount Work

story and photos by Scottee Giles –

The view from the top is well worth the climb; Mount Work’s Summit Trail is a steep ascent that will get your heart rate up. Mount Work Regional Park spans 700 hectares encompassing three lakes, over 10 km of forest trails, and stunning scenery. From a vantage point of 450 m elevation with the Saanich Peninsula and surrounding islands stretched out at your feet, you might experience a moment of deep gratitude to be connected to this place of natural beauty, all while catching your breath.

We started out from the gravel parking area on Ross Durrance Road. Study the large map on site if you haven’t hiked here before. If you plan to return back down the same side of the mountain to your vehicle, make sure you don’t overshoot the lookout and end up descending on the Munn Road side unless you have ordered an Uber. The CRD signs also have great information on park regulations; how to prepare for the wilderness; the history of the park, named for John Wark of the Hudson’s Bay Company; and how glacial activity carved out Finlayson Arm 15,000 years ago. The WSÁNEĆ people have long lived in interconnectedness with the animals, land and waterways of this region and traditionally made their winter homes nearby on the Peninsula.

The hike starts with a gradual incline on a wide dirt road, then narrows to a trail that quickly rises up through the trees. Arbutus and cedar vie for sunlight with the huge firs whose gnarled roots crisscross the trail. Ferns, huckleberry and salal are in abundance, and white trillium flowers are in full bloom.

The return trip took us 3.5 hours including picnic time, but each group will have their own pace.

Eagles circled overhead as we took in the view. Sun breaking through clouds made the waters of Saanich Inlet shine like silver and the graceful silhouettes of the Gulf Islands appeared a deep blue. I remembered how much I love coming to this spot, even though I hadn’t made the time in years. It’s a great place to leave the whirlwind of life far below, and a challenge that will leave you feeling on top of the world.

Things to Note:

  • To get there, take Willis Point Road to Ross Durrance and look for the parking area on your left
  • There’s a pit toilet at the base of the mountain
  • Be prepared for sudden weather changes
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