Urban Oases of Victoria - Witty's Lagoon
While most of the urban oases I have written about have been fairly close to the city, Witty's Lagoon is actually in quite a rural environment already, but I thought I would include it as you can both get here rather quickly from the city, and the city is creeping ever closer to Metchosin (especially with the Royal Bay development going in so close by).
Witty's Lagoon is in a Capital Regional District park and has two central parts once you get past the small nature centre and outhouses. There is the very dramatic Sitting Lady Falls, where Bilston Creek spills over a fairly high cliff and spills into the top end of the lagoon; and then there is the lagoon and beach at the end of an about one kilometre trail.
If you have never seen Sitting Lady Falls you should go and see it, though the winter is a better time, as the falls will be much larger and usually with a lot of mist hanging over the lagoon, which adds to the scene. Still, when I was there last week there was still a fairly good flow going over. To best see the falls, just before crossing the bridge that goes over the top of the crest, follow the Lagoon trail to the left. About 100 metres along that trail is a viewing platform. The trail continues past here down to the lagoon and apparently there are trails that lead to the other part of the park to the east but I have never been on them. Instead, I usually head down the trail to the main beach.
The trail down to the beach is quite beautiful, it follows along the side of the lagoon across a small creek and through the woods. Along the way there are some amazing mature Arbutus trees and quite a few crab apple trees, possibly from when the whole area was a farm. When you finally emerge from the forest and come out onto the beach you are treated a panorama view of the Olympic Mountains and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. To the far right you should be able to just make out the Race Rocks Lighthouse (the most southern point in British Columbia).
In the summer, the beach here can be quite busy, the sand bars stretch out a fair ways and there are usually a few people skim boarding across them. It is a great place to come down for a picnic and even to stay awhile as there are tables and even some more outhouses. To the right of the beach is a brand new set of stairs that go up to the end of Witty's Beach Road. If you keep walking down the beach you do eventually come to a clothing optional beach so be aware of that if you are exploring.
If you want to extend your walk by taking the stairs up to the road, you can walk next to some small farms. There is also an amazingly eclectic art project built along a fence that is truly unique. Walking along Metchosin Road is not the most pleasant part but if you stay on the shoulder it is only a short way till you can move yourself over further and then back to the parking lot at the beginning of the park.
Whether you just want a walk or want an escape for the day, Witty's Lagoon Park is the perfect choice.