Bamberton Provincial Park, covers an area of 28 hectares on the west side of Saanich Inlet. To the east across the inlet is the Saanich Peninsula, with the Gulf Islands and Mount Baker in Washington State beyond. Rising sharply to the west are the mountains of south Vancouver Island.
The warm waters around the Saanich Inlet are ideal for swimming and boating, and the fine beaches stretch on for miles and miles.
Canoes and kayaks may be used in the inlet. Paddlers can put in at the beach area. The sheltered inlet around Bamberton is a great paddling location, offering views of Mt. Baker and the Saanich Peninsula. There is no boat launch available at this park. The nearest launch is located at the Mill Bay Marina, approximately 5 minutes north of the park off Highway 1.
Stroll along trails that lead from the beach to the campground, or follow the 2 creeks as they meander through the park. Back from the beach is an upland of second-growth coniferous and deciduous trees that are typical of the region. Of particular interest is the Arbutus, a tree identified by its thick, leathery green leaves, reddish trunk and peeling bark. The Arbutus is Canada’s only broad leaf evergreen and is found only on Vancouver Island, the southern Gulf Islands and the lower coast of the mainland of British Columbia.
Reservations are accepted at the 52 vehicle accessible campsites, and first-come, first-served sites are also available. In summer, reservations are a necessity, unless you are at the park entrance at noon when a number of first-come spaces may be available, depending on turnover.
September is one of the best times to stay here, once the opening of school draws many families back to the homefront, leaving playgrounds like this to those that can vacation outside of school holidays. This is also the time of the year when the arbutus trees shed their bark, and their strawberry-hued trunks shine like a well-oiled handrail. Bamberton Provincial Park is open year round, with limited facilities in the off-season.
Dozens of picnic tables sit on the terraced slopes above the beach, shaded by a fir and arbutus forest. This is one of the more scenic locations on the inlet, and from here you look east towards Mount Baker on the mainland. Wheelchair access is provided at the campground and day-use area. There are flush and pit toilets and cold showers are available at the beach areas. The closest sani-station is near the town of Mill Bay.
Bamberton Provincial Park is located just south of the Mill Bay ferry terminal, approximately 28 miles (45 km) north of Victoria. Go east off Highway 1 onto Mill Bay Road, and then take Malahat Drive.
Stopping points along this scenic route provide spectacular views of the Saanich Peninsula, the Gulf Islands, and Mount Baker in Washington state in the US. Other provincial parks nearby are Goldstream Provincial Park and Cowichan River Provincial Park.
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