Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary Welcomes Everyone

 

LOCATION:  3873 Swan Lake Road Victoria, BC V8X 3W1

 

HOURS:

  • Grounds, Nature trails, Parking lot: Dawn to dusk every day
  • Nature House: Tues-Fri 9a-4p | Sat 10a-3p | Sun closed
  • Gift Shop: Tues-Fri 10a-4p  | Sat 10a-3p | Sun closed

 

ADMISSION TO THE NATURE HOUSE: 

  • By donation
  • Suggested: $6/individual $10/family
  • Donations help to pay for ongoing washroom, trail and nature house maintenance, as well as support our restoration and education efforts
  • For groups of 8+ visitors, please email programs@swanlake.bc.ca with your estimated arrival time and/or consider one of our many programs for a guided experience

 

2024 HOLIDAY CLOSURES:

  • Monday, May 20
  • Monday, July 1
  • Monday, August 5
  • Monday, September 2
  • Monday, September 30
  • Monday, October 14
  • Monday, November 11
  • Monday-Friday, December 23-27

 

PARKING:

  • Please park only in approved designated parking areas (see map, below)

 

ACCESSIBILITY:

  • The Nature House is an approximately 3 min walk from the main parking lot on a gravel path
  • There are two accessible parking spaces nearer to the front door of the Nature House at the end of Swan Lake Rd
  • Inside the Nature House, there are two All Gender universal design washrooms and a water bottle filling fountain station

 

As per Saanich by-laws, bicycling, pets, and smoking (including e-cigarettes) are all prohibited anywhere on Swan Lake and Christmas Hill properties including the trails and parking lot.

Respectful Use (Rules) of the Nature Sanctuary 

ENJOY WITHOUT TOUCHING: 

  • Enjoy wildlife at a distance; give animals space and do not harass them
  • Leave flowers, plants, and trees where they are

STICK TO FORMAL TRAILS:

  • Swan Lake and Christmas Hill are home to many rare species
  • Going off-trail tramples plants and compacts the ground so plants cannot re-grow

PACK IT IN, PACK IT OUT:

  • Please take all garbage, recycling or compostable materials with you

NO SMOKING:

NO BIKES: 

  • While you are encouraged to cycle to the Nature Sanctuary, Saanich Bylaw # 7753 stipulates no person shall ride a bicycle in the Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary except in a parking lot or on a paved roadway

NO FEEDING:

NO DOGS: 

  • Bylaw #7462 does not permit dogs in parks including the Nature Sanctuary 

NO CATS:

  • Even the presence of predatory animals make this critical migratory bird stop feel unsafe
  • Many of the birds on-site travel all the way from Alaska to South America.
  • You can learn more about keeping your cat safe and saving birds lives here and with this helpful brochure.
  • More information about threats to birds can be found on the Birds Canada website and there are more bird friendly resources on our website here.

NO FIRES:

  • Bylaw #8807 Saanich limits outdoor burning in Saanich to reduce fire risk and preserve air quality
  • No charcoal or briquettes BBQs are permitted without express interest and an issued permit from the Nature Sanctuary

NO ALCOHOL

NOISE:

  • Keep noise levels down to reduce disruption to the wildlife

NO HUNTING / FISHING / BOATING:

  • Or any other water recreation in the lake

PICNICS:

  • You are welcome to enjoy a small picnic on the front lawns of the Nature House or in the Teaching Shelter providing, you follow the above-mentioned rules and, the location has not been rented out for a private function (see rentals)

Read more about these and other Saanich Parks Management and Control Bylaw rules and regulations.

Download a map.

Swan Lake Nature Trails

The Nature Sanctuary offers an extensive nature trail system.  For those who like to meander or need a more accessible hike, the Swan Lake Loop trail is an easy walk and the floating boardwalk puts you right in the centre of this significant wetland area.

NATURE TRAIL UPDATES

The Nature Trails remain open during inclement conditions, however, we encourage all visitors to exercise care and attention at all times. Parts of the trail may be closed during peak flood periods.  Check our Facebook page for any trail closure updates or call the office at 250-479-0211.

Swan Lake Trail Map

RUNNERS

Running along Swan Lake trails is permitted, except along the floating boardwalk for safety and animal habitat preservation. Please use the running/jogging trail adjacent to the boardwalk to navigate around the lake. The jogging trail is denoted in yellow in the image below.

Jogging trail at Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary

CHRISTMAS HILL

The summit of Christmas Hill sits at 109 meters above sea level and rewards you with a spectacular view of Victoria, BC.  In the spring, a vast carpet of wildflowers surrounds you as you venture past the endangered Garry Oak meadow. Please exercise care in this special habitat. 

Christmas Hill Trail Map

BIRD WATCHING

Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary is an excellent place for year-round birdwatching, especially during the spring and fall migration periods. Bring your binoculars and walking shoes and dress for the weather!

Click here for a list of recently-sighted birds at the Nature Sanctuary on eBird.

Here is a checklist of Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary Birds of compiled by Chris Saunders.

NEARBY PET-FRIENDLY PARKS

Cedar Hill Park

Cadboro Gyro Park

Cordova Bay Park

(PKOLS) Mount Douglas Park

Please read each park's regulations about animal by laws.

CONTACT

3873 Swan Lake Road
Victoria, BC V8X 3W1
T: 250-479-0211 F: 250-479-0132
E: info@swanlake.bc.ca

All social media: @SwanLakeNature
Charity #: 11920 7157 RR0001