One of my favourite places to go since coming to Victoria way back in 2002 is Cormorant Point located in Balmacarra Park, Gordon Head, East Saanich. The access point to this park is where Balmacarra Road and Leyns Road intersect. At that point, there is a short walkway through Balmacarra Park that leads to a metal staircase down to the beach.

This is not an accessible entry point because of that staircase. It drops down about 30m. Even with a trail rider, it would be very challenging going down the staircase, but even harder coming back up.  However, the vista at the top of that staircase is worth viewing.

Once you’re down on the beach you could go either left or right to explore depending on where you want to go. Make sure you wear good footwear for support as at certain places it’s a little unstable walking. If you go right, then you will eventually reach some rocky, tide pool areas that are always fun to check out at low tide. My preferred place to go is left heading towards Cormorant Point. The beach itself is lined with big trees, washed up logs, and bush with a mixture of rocky, pebbly, and sandy shoreline. The tides really dictate how large the beach area is: when it’s high tide the water almost comes up to the tree line but leaves enough beach to walk down. At low tide, the beach is quite wide with opportunities to explore and check for crabs and other shoreline life. Once you reach the end of that beach then the fun, and mystery begins.

Now we approach Cormorant Point.

Firstly, you must negotiate a significant rocky wall that leads to a mysterious cement pool structure that has been deserted for some time. The structure looks like an attempt to make some kind of swimming pool in the distant past. Once you get past that, then you are on Cormorant Point which is a great lookout place. I go there to sit, listen to the sea, the birds, explore, and feel a refreshing breeze in the summertime. Bring a snack, water, and some binoculars if you have them. I hope you all get an opportunity to check this place out.

Keep an eye out for

Great bird life: Eagle, Osprey, Raven, Heron, and of course the Cormorant.  Also, watch out for jelly fish that wash up, the odd seal around the point, and if you’re ever down there at night in the summertime, disturb the water and watch for bioluminescence.

Know before you go
  • Check the weather before you go and dress accordingly.
  • Check the tides to know how much beach you will have.
  • Wear supportive footwear.
  • Prepare to adventure safely with Trip Planning Tips.
  • Remember, this is not an accessible beach for wheelchairs or anyone who has mobility challenges.
How to get there

The number 27 bus from downtown will get you to a bus stop that is located on Ferndale Road and close to Balmacarra Road.  Once there, follow the instructions above.

This blog was written by one of Power To Be‘s amazing program facilitators, Paul Tangira. With a respect for the natural world and his place within it, Paul is inspired by adventure and the diversity of people he meets.