|→ Distance / ↑ Ascent||Time||Map|
|→ 10 km / ↑ 200m||3-4 hours||See the online map below|
Let’s be clear from the beginning: Sidney Island is not a hiking destination. If you try really hard and the tide is low, you can do a walk which is about 10 km long. But let’s face it, a lot of us go hiking because we want to get away, and in this respect, Sidney Spit is a very good place to get away from Victoria. If you particularly want a challenge, you can walk along the length of the spit without shoes on a hot day.
To get to Sidney Spit, you will need to take a ferry unless have your own boat or kayak. The ferries leave from downtown Sidney which is easily reachable from Victoria by bus. Take either bus #70 or #72, get off at Beacon Avenue and walk a few minutes down to the Pier Bistro Restaurant which is located, incidentally, on the pier. Return tickets (you can only purchase return) to the Spit cost 19 CAD (2018). I think that’s a fair enough price for two 25 minute journeys. The ferry is organized by Alpinegroup.ca.
Once you’re at the spit, the whole island is within easy walking distance. Some sections are fenced off as either private or reservation land but a good chunk of it is open to the public. For the best experience of the spit itself, plan to be there when the tide is low, otherwise the spit will be underwater. Check this tide chart to make sure you won’t be there when most of the spit is flooded.
Sidney Spit Campground is considered a front country campsite and is managed by Parks Canada. The facilities are basic, literally just toilets when we were there as the water wasn’t drinkable. But overall the campground has a chilled vibe, with 29 sites relatively well spread out. Campsites can be booked in advance online (though this is only recommended on long weekends in the high season as it’s more expensive) or you pay cash on arrival by self-reservation.
We spent there a night and enjoyed it tremendously. There were many different birds to watch and listen to, together with an impressive sunset. We hiked all over the island and I have to say we were pretty knackered by the end of the day. Sun, wind and barefoot walking took their toll. Overall, we highly recommend the island for a peaceful weekend retreat.
Max elevation: 63 m
Min elevation: 1 m
Total climbing: 199 m
Total descent: -194 m
Total time: 01:57:18