Tod Inlet - a favourite Victoria walk
This walk has just about everything you could want in a West coast walk and can be enjoyed by anyone in regular footwear. It takes about 15 minutes to reach the shore of Tod Inlet immediately south of the Butchart Gardens. Here you wander around the shore and then return on the same easy path or on a less used climbing path.
Access is reached from Wallace Drive at a point 400 metres south of Benvenuto Drive. Look for a blue signpost “Gowlland Tod”. It is the northern access point for this provincial park of over 3,000 acres with 25km of trails. The park has over 150 animal, bird and plant species. This walk can be seen as a good introduction to visiting the Butchart Gardens, setting the Gardens into their historical and geographical context.
Your walk takes you first through unspoilt old forest with a variety of trees and native plants. After a while the forest opens up with stands of wild berries and flowers like sweet peas and then you reach secluded Tod Inlet. You will see intriguing evidence of the days when the Butchart Gardens was the Vancouver Portland Cement Company: a pier, occasional concrete works. You can just peek a view of the Ross Fountain. (The Gardens are centred on the position of the picnic table icon on the map below). In the summer you may visit the native interpretive centre on a barge and discover the importance of the park in local native culture.
Tod Inlet leads off Finlayson Arm and Saanich Inlet, deep sheltered fjord waters used for boating (a good venue for kayaking) and to enjoy much wildlife – see the bird nest boxes on the pier posts and look out for seals and otters.
After wandering along the shore you can take the same or a different route back – with the water at your back it is further to your right. It takes you into the forest by a deep running creek and then reconnects with the original wide path.
See other nearby Saanich Peninsula hiking suggestions.
Tod Inlet - a Victoria walks page