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Matheson Lake Trail view

Matheson Lake

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Matheson Lake Trail - Freshwater lake outside of Victoria BC

Hike, Beach, Swimming
4km (2.5mi)


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South Island

What else can you ask for? A nice little lake nestled in the hills 40 minutes from Victoria. Enjoy the hidden beach, 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

  • Toilets are located as you head to the beach. No running water.
  • Bike racks are found at two locations. Close to the beach and on the north side of the lake along the Galloping Goose Regional Trail
  • Emergency Phone is located in the parking lot.

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.

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 taking in the views, the trail loop ends up over 4km.

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 or you might find yourself on the Galloping Goose.

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

The park also 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.

Other trails branch off, including Mount Matheson summit and Matheson Creek trail or the Galloping Goose trail that take you to Roach Cove.


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 kid play in the water.

During hot summer days, the small beach can get busy quickly. With large trees backing the West Facing sand, the area is shaded for most of the day. Making it a popular place for young families to bring smaller kids.

The beach also offers you access to paddle boarding and kayaking or use the access points along the trail to drop in your watersports toys or find a spot on the rocky banks facing the sun if the beach is packed.

Dogs are not allowed to be on a 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


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

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.


How hard is the hike?
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.


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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 

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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.

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