I don’t know why it’s taken me this long to explore this park.
Francis/King Park is only about 15 minutes from downtown Victoria, just off Munn Road near Prospect Lake. There’s a nice little trail system within the park that connects to Thetis Lake Regional Park in the Highlands, so you could easily make this run longer than the one hour-ish run Debbie and I did.
Though lacking vistas, Francis/King certainly has some beautiful single-track trails that twist and turn through old growth cedars and lush, green marshland. This would be a great place to go if you’re a trail running newbie as the trail is neither that steep nor technical.
In true (hashtag) Sunday Runday fashion, Debbie and I got lost and ended up at a power plant, so the Garmin route map and time estimation is a little off. We were trying to run the Centennial Trail loop, and ended up all over the place, as you can see below. I think if you stuck to the main route, it’d be about a 5 km, 40-45 minute run.
Trail name(s): Centennial Trail -> High Ridge Trail
Terrain: Soft, single-track trail with some rocky outcrops and roots to navigate. A bit muddy through the lower south region of the park. Trail is gently undulating with only a few short climbs.
Parking: Free, just off Munn Road near the nature house.
Trail access: Just in between the nature house and another outbuilding. There is a map at the site that will direct you to the Centennial trailhead.
Facilities: Washrooms, picnic tables and a water fountain.
Distance: About 5-6 km.
Time: Anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour.
Description: The start of Centennial trail is soft single-track and slightly undulating with some short climbs. You loop around and have to cross back over Munn Road, so be sure to leash your dogs and use caution when crossing the road. You will see the trail continue on the other side of the road.
The trail widens at this point. Keep following the wider, gravel trail, unless you want to end up in a swamp or at a power plant.
We decided to head towards Thetis Lake Park as opposed to climbing the trail near the power lines. This was a nice little detour into the forest that eventually brought us back to join up to the gravel trail.
You will see a sign saying “Park Boundary” and “To Francis/King” from this trail. Enter back into the park and follow the signs to continue along the High Ridge trail. This trail turns back into Centennial Trail. From this point, you can’t really get lost in the park, so feel free to take some of the inside trails and explore the pretty old growth forest and marshland before heading back to the parking lot.
Trail Rating (out of four stars)
Overall: A pretty place to explore if you’re looking for a short, easy trail run.