by Sheila Molloy –
The Scoter Trail is located in North Saanich west of the Victoria International Airport and runs alongside the Saanich Inlet and Patricia Bay. It extends from Patricia Bay Park in the south to the Tseycum First Nation lands in the north.
A recent upgrade, completed in 2020, included enhancements to the natural shoreline and a full restoration of the trail, making it walkable at all tides. There is so much to see and explore along this trail, and with more seating areas now installed, it can also be a great retreat.
Begin at Patricia Bay Park, which can be found off West Saanich Road between Willingdon Road and Mills Road. This waterfront park has beautiful views of the Saanich Inlet and is the south end of the Scoter Trail.
The Park overlooks a seaplane port, the Institute of Ocean Sciences and the Canadian Coast Guard wharf. It is also under a flight path, making it a fantastic place to see helicopters and planes of all kinds taking off or landing at the Victoria International Airport.
Following the wide, flat, crushed pebble path, you will walk past section after section of stacked boulders, pebble beaches and a few sandy areas. In low tide the mud flats are full of marine life and a great place to explore.
There are a few beach access staircases that lead down to the shore. Some are newly made boulder-stairs; others are more level paved steps.
Keeping on the path the entire length of the trail will take you past many new and established wildflower patches. While there are some invasive species, the trail boasts an abundance of native plants and flowers to enjoy. Watch for bramble, chicory, beach pea and many others. Arbutus trees and Garry oak create canopies over the path or stretch out toward the shoreline to enhance the views out to the inlet.
The north end of the trail is your turn around. The beach access here has a gentle grade which could accommodate kayaks and there is a bench seating area adjacent to a small parking lot.
Things to Note
There are paved parking areas at both ends of this trail with limited spaces and some parking along West Saanich Road with some steps added in a couple places for mid-trail access.
The Patricia Bay Park has an information kiosk, picnic tables and washrooms with wheelchair accessible paved trails.
The trail is just over a kilometre, but it is easy to extend a walk along the beach or around the airport using the Flight Path.