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Matheson Lake Trail view

Matheson Lake

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Beach Icon
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Activity:
Hike, Beach, Swimming
Difficulty:
Easy-Moderate
Location:
Metchosin
Time:
1.5hrs
Distance:
4km (2.5mi)

Activity:

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Beach Icon
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Accessibility:

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Dogs on leash Icon

Highlights Include:

Info Map

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

Where to this weekend, Vancouver Island: Matheson Lake - Hike, Swim and Fish

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 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 south 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

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Frequently Asked Questions

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.

 

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Hiking & Swiming

Matheson Lake trail map

Hiking

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 Roche Cove Park, which includes the Matheson Creek, Cedar Grove and the Galloping Goose trail.

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. All Trails Map

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.

Swimming

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."

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Matheson Lake Information

Biking:

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.

Fishing:

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.

Hours:

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.

Parking:

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

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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.

 

Gear Tips For Vancouver Island

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Hiking Backpack
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Adventure Medical Kit
Ultralight and Watertight

When you’re gearing up for an outdoor adventure on Vancouver Island, the key is to dress in layers, no matter the season. The island’s weather can throw curveballs, with conditions varying significantly from the sheltered forests to the breezy coastlines.

For those cool winter escapades, your go-to should include quality rain gear, topped off with a cozy beanie or toque, and a pair of light gloves to keep the chill at bay.

Summer explorers, don’t be fooled by the warmer temps; that same waterproof shell that kept you dry in the winter will be your best friend against the cool ocean breezes.

Remember, the right clothing and gear can make or break your outdoor experience on Vancouver Island, ensuring you enjoy every moment, come rain or shine.

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FAQ:

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.

 

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Original Author:

Modified: March 18, 2024
Last Visit: August 18, 2022

Thank you for visiting – I hope you found the information you were looking for at VIBL (Vancouver Island Bucket List) please continue to discover all of the great places that makes Vancouver Island so great! 

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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! 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 .

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