VANCOUVER ISLAND - Discover Your Next Adventure:
Matheson Lake Trail view

Matheson Lake

Hiking Icon
Kayak paddle board icon
Beach Icon
fish fishing icon
Hike, Beach, Swimming
4km (2.5mi)


Hiking Icon
Kayak paddle board icon
Beach Icon
fish fishing icon


Family access icon with child
Dogs on leash Icon

Highlights Include:

Info Map

Matheson Lake Trail - Freshwater lake, sand beach and hiking trails

What else can you ask for? A lovely little lake nestled in the hills 40 minutes from Victoria. With parking and easy access to the small sand beach, hiking to cliffside views, fishing, kayaking and swimming.

Matheson Lake - Hike, Swim and Fish. Everything you need to know

Matheson Lake Regional Park is the home to a small pristine freshwater lake nestled in forest-covered hills. The park offers a moderate four-kilometre hike, a small sand beach and reasonable public access.
A 40-minute drive from Victoria, Matheson Lake is located between Metchosin and East Sooke on southern Vancouver Island

Tips and Suggestions

Amenities: Toilets are located as you head to the beach. No running water.

Bike Racks: Are found at two locations. In the area of the beach and washrooms and on the north side of the lake along the Galloping Goose Regional Trail. Note: There is no bike access on the trail around the lake past the beach.

Emergency: An emergency phone is located in the parking lot.

Dogs: Dogs are not allowed to be on a designated beach or picnic area between June 1 and September 15, except to pass through on a leash, without stopping. The seasonal prohibition zone applies to the main beach area.

Restrictions: Motorized vehicles, camping, open fires, smoking, and alcohol are prohibited

Hiking & Swiming


The hiking trail isn’t overly difficult, but we wouldn’t list it as easy. You’ll find steep grades and elevation gains as you make your way around the picturesque lake.
Trail markers say 3.8, but after veering off and taking in the views, the trail loop can be over 4km. Other trails branch off, including Mount Matheson Summit and Matheson Creek trail or the Galloping Goose trail that takes you to Roach Cove.

The Matheson Lake hike loop can be accessed from one of the two trails along the west side of the parking lot. Make sure you head down the appropriate trail. The trail at the end of the parking lot will lead you to the Galloping Goose.

The parking lot also offers a great starting point to the Galloping Goose Trail, with access at the north end of the parking lot.

Matheson Lake Regional Park offers a beautiful stop for lunch or a swim for anyone out on a bike ride. Take advantage of the bike racks just in from the parking lot and at the north side of the lake.


A short walk from the parking lot (200 meters), you will find a small sand beach and one of the few freshwater beaches in the area. The water is relatively warm in the summer, becoming a perfect place for a refreshing swim after a hike or a lovely place to let the kids play in the water.

Matheson Beach East SookeDuring hot summer days, the small beach can get busy quickly. The area is shaded into the late morning, with large trees overshadowing the sand. Making it a popular place for young families to bring smaller kids.

The beach has access for paddle boarding and kayaking. The trail down is short but a little steep, easy to get down but a bit of a climb at the end of the day. If the beach is busy, head a little further along the trail, there are access points that offer openings to drop in your watersports toys and rocky banks to get some sun.

Dogs are not allowed to be on the designated beach or picnic area between June 1 and September 15.

Great hike, great swim. Really enjoyed a vigorous hike around the lake. Not too strenuous but some good uphill stretches. Beautiful scenery. We went for a swim afterwards and the lake was quite warm. Parking lot was a close walk to the beach.

Matheson Lake Information


Bikes are not allowed on the trail around the lake. Bikes are allowed down to the beach from the parking lot and on the Galloping Goose trail. Bike racks can be found in the beach area and on the north side of the lake along the Galloping Goose Regional Trail. Note: There is no bike access on the trail around the lake past the beach.


Matheson Lake is stocked with catchable Rainbow Trout, and it’s possible to fish off a few locations surrounding the lake. There is no boat launch, so any boats or kayaks must be carried down the trail.

Only electric motors are permitted on Matheson Lake.


Matheson Lake Regional Park hours are from sunrise to sunset and open seven days a week. The trails are beautiful all year long. The beach area can be busy in the summer months, but you’re not likely to see too many people other than dog walking during the rest of the year.


A nice size parking lot with access to the beach and hikes. The two entrances on the west side of the parking lot head to the lake while the trail at the end to the north takes you to the Galloping Goose Trail.

Helpful Links

Matheson Lake Regional Park Map

Freshwater beaches in the area.
Sooke potholes
Thetis lake

How to get to Matheson Lake

Directions to Matheson Lake

  • Follow the Trans-Canada Highway from Victoria
  • Take the Colwood exit.
  • Follow the Old Island Highway, which turns into Sooke Road.
  • From Sooke Road, turn left on Happy Valley Road
  • Turn right on Rocky Point Road
  • Right again on Matheson Lake Park Road, which leads to the park entrance.


Matheson Lake trail map


How hard is the hike around Matheson Lake?
Overall the hike around the lake is fairly easy. About 1/3 of the trail has some more technical sections, bumping it up to a moderate hike with rocky inclines throughout.

Is Matheson Lake Beach Accessible to everyone?
The 200m trail is wide and flat down to the beach. It is considered wheelchair accessible, be aware there is a hill with a significant gradient down from the parking lot to the beach and amenities. Past the beach, the trail does get more challenging.

The Galloping Goose is an old rail line that can be accessed from the parking lot. This trail is wide and flat and is another option for an easy stroll.


Photo Gallery:

Fairy Lake Bonsai Tree Vancouver Island 10 minutes from Port Renfrew BC
10 min stop icon

Fairy Lake Bonsa...

The Fairy Lake Bonsai Tree is a rare find. The naturally formed bonsai tree has easy access and is a well-known spot for photographers
Sidney Pier beacon park
shopping icon
walk icon
View point icon

Sidneys' Beacon Ave

Full of charm and character, visitors can explore Sidneys’ many boutiques and art galleries, stroll along the waterfront boardwalk, or simply relax and enjoy the view.
Sooke Boardwalk Drone
walk icon
shopping icon
food icon
View point icon

Sooke Boardwalk ...

Experience stunning views of Sooke Harbour – 1.4km walk
Point Ellice House museum cover photo
Museum icon
icon directory shopping

Point Ellice Hou...

A rare opportunity to see one of North America’s largest collections of late Victorian and early Edwardian objects, as well as Victorian gardens, in their original setting

Did we miss something?
Have more to add?

Original Author:

Modified: May 17, 2023
Last Visit: August 18, 2022
Join Our Weekly Newsletter
Vancouver Island's Ultimate Experiences!
For the adventurous, curious and those who love Vancouver Island.
Includes lesser known hikes, stories, and more.

Unsubscribe anytime. For more details, review our Privacy Policy.

Pack Out:
We love this Island, and want to keep the natural beauty please respect the places you visit and pack out what you pack in and leave the area better than when you arrived. We all know how much trash can spoil an experience and the environment, so please help us keep it clean!

Vancouver Island is a land of natural beauty and abundant wildlife. Please be aware of your surroundings and take the usual precautions for personal and wildlife safety.
Black bears, cougars and even wolves are common on Vancouver Island for more on Wildlife Safety Click Here 

Tide and Seasonal Safety:
Changing seasons and tides can have a drastic effect on most locations on Vancouver Island. Please be cautious as the information in this post may vary depending on the time of year and weather. Make sure to check for current weather and tide information before you make your journey!
When visiting the beach, it’s essential to pay attention and stay safe! Please be cautious walking on the shore during high tide. At this time, some areas may not be accessible. Click here for the tides in your area. Be aware of ocean currents before swimming, paddle boarding or kayaking.

Land Acknowledgement:
We would like to acknowledge the land we appreciate daily within the 50 First Nations that make up the traditional territories of the Coast Salish, Nuu chah nulth, and Kwakiutl–the first peoples of Vancouver Island .

The information on this website should not be taken as accurate, complete or up-to-date. Please check and look into the information yourself. We do not assume any liabilities for the use of this information. It is unreasonable to rely solely upon the information from this website. 

Join Our Weekly Newsletter
For the adventurous, curious and people who love Vancouver Island.
Includes lesser known hikes, stories, and more.

Unsubscribe anytime. For more details, review our Privacy Policy.

Submit a change suggestion:

max of 4 images