Let’s camp! A guide to spending the weekend at Goldstream Provincial Park
Looking to reconnect with nature, relax without timelines or to-do lists, or roast a marshmallow over the fire? When you visit the Goldstream Provincial Park Campground, you can feel a million miles away without even leaving your community.
Before you go
The key to enjoying a weekend camping trip is to be properly prepared. While there are some first-come, first-served spots at the campground, they fill up fast, so it’s best to plan ahead and make a reservation. This also allows you to choose your site. Have a look at the map – do you want something close to the playgrounds, tucked away for maximum privacy, or do you want a double-sized spot for your whole family?
Making a reservation online will also give you a chance to read the notices posted on the park’s website. They’ll let you know if there are any closures of popular attractions or trails, as well as safety bulletins. For example, if a cougar has been spotted nearby, they’ll remind you to use caution, keep pets on a leash, and store all food and attractants in your vehicle.
Make sure to check the forecast. Enjoy sunny days with a hat and sunscreen. If it is going to be hot enough for a dip in the river, make sure to bring your bathing suit and a towel. Is it going to rain? Not a problem if you have a good tarp or two. Regardless of the weather, it can get chilly under the dense forest canopy, especially at night, so make sure to bring plenty of layers.
On the topic of clothing, you’ll also want to make sure you have good hiking boots for exploring the trails and also whatever comfy shoes you prefer for around the campsite. Plus, extra socks are always a luxury.
Don’t forget some good camping food! If you want to roast hotdogs or marshmallows over the fire, be sure to bring roasting sticks (please don’t look for sticks in the woods). There are plenty of potable water faucets around the campground, so you don’t have to worry too much about the amount of water you bring; just bring a good-sized container to collect it in.
In case you forget something, be sure to check at the Gatehouse. They have some of the essentials for sale, including bundles of firewood.
You don’t need to go far to reach the Goldstream Provincial Campground. One moment you’re driving through the residential streets, the next, you’re at the campground gates. What’s truly amazing though,is the transformation the landscape undergoes on the short 400 meters from neighbourhood to campground. You descend a steep embankment and it suddenly feels like you’re in an entirely different world, deep in the woods, driving through what could easily be a set on Jurassic Park.
Despite feeling remote, you won’t find a campground that is in better shape than Goldstream. The paved roads and smooth gravel sites pop against the vibrant green backdrop. The sites are spaced out, and there are amenities nearby no matter what site you booked. There are fully accessible washrooms and showers, plus plenty of potable water faucets. There is also a large playground and a bike park for the little ones.
Each site has a large fire pit (complete with a sturdy grill to cook over), a large picnic table, and more than enough flat space for gathering, setting up the tents, and parking. The sites are made of compacted gravel and are well maintained between each reservation.
Things to do
Take a hike! With 16km of trails crisscrossing the park, there is a lot to explore. The trails are a riot of green, and there are several points of interest you can reach. The closest of which is the Goldstream Falls, only a 250m walk away; that said, about half of that distance is made up of stairs, so be prepared to climb back up!
You can reach any point on the West side of the park right from the campground. It’s only a 3.5km hike to the north end of the park where you will find Niagara Falls, a stunning waterfall almost as tall as its famous namesake. To get there, you’ll also pass the old gold mine and find multiple plaques along the way talking about the park’s history
There are no designated pedestrian highway crossings in Goldstream, so to reach the eastern side of the park, you may want to drive up to the day-use area. From there, you can explore the rest of the trails, including the hike up Mount Finlayson, which is a steep, intense hike with spectacular views over the Greater Victoria region.
Besides hiking, there are several other ways to enjoy the lush nature of the park. On hot days you can take a dip in Goldstream River. There are plenty of pools along the river, though the best spot is definitely right at the base of Goldstream falls. You can also drive over to the day-use area to stop by the Nature House or, if you are camping during the fall, watch the salmon run up Goldstream. For more ideas on what to do during the day, check out our blog post, “5 Reasons to Visit Goldstream Provincial Park.”
After a full day of adventuring, it’s time to time to enjoy your campsite. There is lots of space for any camp games you bring, such as ladder golf, bocce, or spike ball. Get your fire going and roast up some dinner and/or marshmallows. Relax, enjoy the company you’re with, and listen to the crackle of the fire and the tweeting of birds.
It is such a luxury to be able to escape into the wilderness so close to home. With such a well-maintained and accessible campsite right in town, anyone can get out to enjoy nature. You’ll find campsites full of friends, young children, and seniors, all spending time in the forest, right next to the wildlife. It’s important to remember to be kind and courteous not just to each other, but also to nature.
Do not take anything from the forest, such as firewood or roasting sticks. Stay on trails and keep your dogs on leash to minimize the impact on the forest floor. It’s also important to keep all of your food secured while you are asleep. If unattended food attracts larger wildlife, it’s not only dangerous for you, but as the saying goes: a fed bear is a dead bear.
If we respect the environment we are staying in, we can continue to enjoy it for generations to come. Goldstream Provincial Park is a gem in our backyard, and it’s just waiting for you to get out there and enjoy it!