For an easy break from the everyday, and to experience one of the adventures enjoyed by Power To Be’s participants, check out Charlie’s Trail.  It is an enjoyable walk in the woods on the campus of Royal Roads University in Victoria.

Charlie’s Trail runs along Colwood Creek from Sooke Road to Esquimalt Lagoon, and is located on the traditional lands of the Xwsepsum (Esquimalt) and Lkwungen (Songhees) nations.  Their ancestors and families have lived, hunted, fished, and gathered there for generations, sharing the traditional land resources with the neighboring Scia’new (Beecher Bay) and T’Sou-ke (Sooke) Nations.

A walk along Charlie’s Trail is a feast for the senses.  The vegetation appears to be in every shade of green, and ranges from old-growth Douglas Firs to tiny mosses and herbs on the forest floor.  Along the path following the creek, the sound of water flowing provides a comforting and peaceful backdrop to your steps as you travel across the bridges and boardwalks that protect delicate root systems and encourage salmon migration.  The sound of rushing water and stairs leading up the hill beckon you to a waterfall above the creek.

Recently, Ashley Dueck, Power To Be’s Manager of Marketing and Communications, brought her children out to explore the trail and shared their experience with us:  “Charlie’s trail was a perfect adventure for my two little boys. It’s convenient to get to and has many activities that sparked their senses. They loved tossing petals into the running streams to watch them float by, poking their heads into the tree trunk holes in search of a Gruffalo, and finding bugs in the forest brush. The tree canopy creates the perfect environment to hear all the sounds of the forest and they were beyond excited to spot squirrels and even a blue heron on the path. A magical forest day for sure! “

To learn more about the trees and plants along the trail, check out a hand-powered audio-box near the intersection of University Drive and College Road.  It has pre-recorded tracks in both Lkwungen and English that describe some of the plants once used for medicine, shelter and tools.  They were recorded by Esquimalt Chief Edward Thomas (Seenupin) and Elder Elmer Seniemten George of the Songhees Nation.  The recordings are very special, as George is the last fluent speaker of the Lkwungen language, made possible by the generous support of Sue Johnson in 2018.

Where did Charlie’s Trail get its name?  Long-time supporters of Royal Roads Sue and Charlie Johnson had generously funded a revitalization project envisioned and carried out by former Head Gardener Dave Rutherford at Royal Roads in 2006.  Thanks to that project, many visitors have the opportunity to experience native plants, ancient firs and cedars and local wildlife on the trail.  The trail was renamed in Charlie’s honour in 2007.

Keep an eye out for
  • Western red cedar, pacific yew, salal, western swordfern, black hawthorn and grand fir.
  • Forest animals and sea birds, especially blue heron.
Know before you go
How to get there

The trail may be accessed from the top near University Drive and College Road, or the lower end near the parking lot below Hatley Castle on the Royal Roads University campus (see Royal Roads University map).