Our first three days in Canada were solid travelling AND STRESS, so we were delighted to reach Vancouver Island and to start our trip off with a hike to Niagra Falls (not THAT Niagra Falls) and to the trestle bridge in Goldstream Provincial Park.
To be honest, we would have completely missed out on Goldstream if it hadn't been for this blog post I read on Go Live Explore. As soon as I saw Alicia's photos of the trestle bridge, I knew I wanted to see it for myself. It was well worth the leg burn and feeling incredibly unfit.
There is parking right by the trail, but it's really easy to miss as it can only be accessed from the southbound lane heading towards Victoria. (Here is the exact point on Google Maps if you need it.) There is more parking a little further down on the other side of the road and you can walk up.
The walk to Niagra Falls only takes a few minutes and in those few minutes you're taken from the side of a busy highway to feeling like you are in one of the most remote places on Earth. The falls are nestled in the corner of a lush valley, with trees forming a canopy over the top of it. If you get there early, you will pretty much have the place to yourselves and that is the best way to see it, because it feels so tranquil. We got there about 10am and there was us, and a family with a dog; when we headed back to the car about 12ish, there were loads of people heading towards the falls.
As we stood there admiring the falls, I felt so relaxed and so happy that three days of being tired and stressed had produced this wonderful moment. We took a few photos, fell off rocks and got our feet wet (that was me...) before I sprung it on Daz that I'd read about a trail up to a railway trestle bridge. The trail to the trestle bridge is not signposted so it took us a couple of minutes to find it. If you're headed away from the falls, as if you're going back to the car, it is on your left hand side.
Boy, did that trail give us a workout. It is quite steep (170m elevation), and thankfully there are steps but that doesn't make it any less punishing. By the time we'd reached the top, we were convinced we'd destroyed our legs for the rest of the trip. And if your legs aren't already feeling weird, just wait until you stand on that trestle bridge.
Obviously, I should tell you to exercise extreme caution on the trestle bridge because there are gaps and you could seriously injure or kill yourself if you slipped. It's not like it's a knackered old bridge with pieces of wood that are going to break as soon as you step on them like something off Scooby Doo; plenty of people walk across it, but you need to be careful if you do.
I am not usually bothered by heights but my legs definitely felt weird and a bit tingly when I started walking across the bridge. For the first time, I could understand what Daz means when he tells me heights make his feet feel weird. I think I made it about a third of the way across before deciding to turn back. I wanted to look over the sides to see the canyon below but I couldn't bring myself to do it.
Like Emerald Lake last year, Niagra Falls and the trestle bridge were a great way to start our adventure and gave us great expectations of what was to come. Of course, it's Canada, that place hasn't got any problems living up to lofty expectations, as you well know from my relentless fangirling about it.
I think it took us maybe two and a half hours to visit the waterfalls and head up to the trestle bridge, though we did take it fairly easy. If you want to find out more about the trestle bridge trail and other trails around it, have a look at Victoria Trails.
Pin me for your adventure planning!