Length: 1.5 hrs, 7.7 km
Technical difficulty: 2/5
Summary: A ride through the north part of Gowlland Tod Provincial Park. Easy access from Victoria. Pretty views from the top
Description: Drive from Victoria north along Pat Bay Highway. Take the Quadra exit and continue north as it becomes West Saanich Road. Continue past the Hartland dump exit, and take the next left after the Barn Market, Wallace Rd. Just before the Rifle Range, take the left up Willis Point Rd and continue to the Durrance Lake parking lot.
There are multiple tracks and trails along here, this is just an example of many. Start at the Durrance Lake parking lot and ride along the north shore of Durrance Lake. At 0.6 km, take the track leading away from the lake. This climbs gently towards the saddle between Partridge and Cole Hill. At 1.2, take the left fork and then a little detour at 1.4 to avoid a large puddle (probably not present in the summer). Continue along the south flank of Partridge Hill, mostly gentle rolling terrain. There are many pretty wildflowers here in the spring including shooting stars, calypso orchids, etc.
At 2.6, some harder climbing begins as you turn right and wind your way up to the top of Partridge. Take the right at 3.0 and follow the main track until 3.4 where the right fork takes you to the towards the top.
At 3.7 there’s a false top, with a mix of wildflowers and spring mud.
At 4.5, there are great views looking west over Finlayson Arm.
At 4.7, drop back down the steep track to the same track you were on at the base of Partridge, and circle back down through some very pretty forest on single track starting at 5.7. At 6.3, back on original track again, drop down to Durrance for a refreshing swim.