The Holmes Peak hike near Victoria BC is a fairly easy hike ending with incredible views which can be enjoyed while sitting on it’s hidden tree swing. Most people are now familiar with the Old Baldy Mountain trail that leads to a swing overlooking Shawnigan Lake, but the Holmes Peak swing seems to still be somewhat of a hidden gem.
This hike is less frequented than the Old Baldy Mountain hike and it’s much easier to do. It’s close proximity to Victoria also makes it super easy to access and a great day hike for people of all ages and hiking ability.
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How To Get To The Trailhead
From Victoria: The total journey time from Victoria is around 25-30 minutes depending on traffic. To get to the parking lot from Victoria, pick up the Highway 1 north and take exit 14 towards Langford/Highlands. Merge onto Millstream Road and then turn left onto Caleb Pike Road.
Holmes Peak Hike Stats
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Elevation Gain: 122 metres
Dog Friendly: Yes – On leash
Return Trip Time: 1 Hour
What To Bring On The Holmes Peak Hike
The hike to Holmes Peak is pretty easy and straightforward. A basic hiking pack with your ten essentials is always a must for me on any hike, not matter how easy it is. The area can get quite warm in the summer months so a good water bottle or water bladder is essential. Bring sun protection such as a cap, sunglasses and UV protection/sunscreen.
If you are visiting Vancouver Island or Victoria from out of town, my biggest tip would be not to do any hikes if you are “in transit”. If you’re going to hike in the Gowlland Tod area do not leave anything visible in your car. While this is a general rule wherever you are in the world, this parking lot and others nearby including Mount Work and Lone Tree Hill are hot spots for theft.
We did this hike en route to the ferry terminal on our last day on the Island. The Holmes Peak hike is only an hour and you may think your vehicle will be safe like I did, but when I came back to my car a window had been smashed and thousands of dollars worth of possessions stolen.
There were 6 break ins in this parking lot in the previous week. Only bring what you need, and leave everything else at home. If visiting from outside of town, do this hike on a day where you can leave your luggage at your hotel/base.
How To Find The Hidden Swing On Holmes Peak
The hike starts from the Caleb Pike parking lot, make your way to the info board and you’ll see an opening in the trees just behind which is the start if the trail head. The majority of this hike is in the forest so mostly shaded until you reach the peak.
The first 100 metres of the trail are shaded and flat. After the initial 100 metres you’ll come to a signpost, turn onto the ridge trail to your right. Carry on Ridge trail until you come to another turn off. You’ll want to continue straight, you’ll see another signpost showing where to continue on the Ridge trail.
This next part of the trail begins to gradually climb. There are no scrambling sections on this hike so the climb to the peak is fairly easy.
You’ll exit the forested section of the trail where you’ll see power lines, you’re almost there when you reach this part of the hike. There are many signs along the trail indicating the which direction Holmes Peak is and it’s hard to get lost on this trail.
The trail enters the forest again and you’ll see an opening in the trees to your left with a rocky terrain and beautiful views across Finlayson Arm.
The swing is tucked away just to the right of this viewpoint. It’s not that easy to spot the swing from the actual trail because it is so well hidden. Instead continue on from the viewpoint to your right and you’ll see the swing hanging from a tree in a shaded area away from the trail.
Hiking Back Down
Coming back down the hike was substantially easier than going up and took around 20-minutes. I had cell service the whole time I was on the hike so I used the free AllTrails app for my GPS which I would recommend even though it’s difficult to get lost.
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