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Mountain/trees/scenic area suggestions

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arlington
posts: 8
reviews: 5
Mountain/trees/scenic area suggestions

We'll be staying in seattle for 3 days, and in the city of victoria for 3 days in early october, taking a whale tour one of those days...so we get a lot of water/ocean scenery on our trip. Fiancee is also wanting to see/photograph some of the beautiful mountains/trees kinda scenery too.

If we take the amtrak train from Seattle-Vancouver and then ferry over we get some good mountain/woodsy scenery.

But we were thinking, if we don't ride the train and just take the ferry from Seattle to victoria---that's more water/ocean photos...how can we experience the beauty of the mountains and trees while in victoria?

Would it be worth renting a car for a day and driving around to see the mountains/trees? Or is there a good state park/scenic area within an hour or so drive of Victoria? Are there commerical day tours from Victoria to somewhere in the mountains? Whistler is like a long way away from Victoria, right? Or is it an easy drive?

Sorry for so many questions.

Thanks!!!

Vancouver, Canada
posts: 15,006
reviews: 46
1. Re: Mountain/trees/scenic area suggestions

I'd take the Clipper from Seattle directly to Victoria and then do some driving from there. Most of the mountains on the island are too far north to be a realistic day trip. You'd have to head to Courtenay and the Comox Valley for some real mountains. However, there are some spectacular forested areas around Victoria that would handily meet your needs I would think.

I'd suggest you have a look at the CRD Parks site for some ideas, and perhaps consider driving the Pacific Marine Circle Route one day.

http://www.crd.bc.ca/parks/pick.htm

http://www.pacificmarinecircleroute.com/

Port Moody, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver, British Columbia
posts: 6,922
reviews: 90
2. Re: Mountain/trees/scenic area suggestions

Take the Clipper as per Vancouverite's suggestion. It will be a lovely ride. You'll see some mountains from Seattle and also from the ferry along the Olympic peninsula assuming it's not raining/overcast.

Victoria is on Vancouver Island. Whistler is on the BC mainland and would not be a day trip from Victoria. Are you planning on coming to Vancouver as well? if so you could easily do a day trip to Whistler. Vancouver also has lots of mountains right on it's doorstep literally..depends on how high you want them but we've got Seymour, Grouse, Cypress and the Lions in a row ffrom east to west..

If you take amtrak to Vancouver from Seattle it's a nice scenic train ride along the water but not really any mountains and you'll still need to then get to Victoria.

What's your complete itinerary?

You'll have no shortage of trees and water in Seattle, Victoria or Vancouver

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 34,196
reviews: 54
3. Re: Mountain/trees/scenic area suggestions

Hi texasmaverick ::

Assuming you mean 4 nights in each of Seattle and Victoria to allow for those 3 days each, you could consider the following. I think the mountains and natural eye candy of Vancouver might appeal to you. There is nothing quite like it elsewhere.

Day 1, 2, 3 in Seattle. End of Day 3 take Amtrak Cascades to Vancouver,arriving late evening.

Day 4 in Vancouver.

Day 5 early ferry on Pacific Coach Lines right to Victoria.

Days 5 and 6 in Victoria.

Day 7 travel Victoria Clipper to Seattle. You would have only one Clipper departure from Victoria at 6 pm, so if you had to, you would take the Clipper at the end of Day 6 back to Seattle.

This itinerary would give you a scenic train ride as long as daylight lasted, the mountains and beauty in and around Vancouver and the scenic ferry ride through Active Pass in the Gulf Islands to Victoria.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 5,678
reviews: 13
4. Re: Mountain/trees/scenic area suggestions

What's bringing you to Victoria in the first place? If you're seeking mountains, you're not going to get them by going to Victoria (other than distant mountain views). Vancouver has mountains, literally, as others have said, 20 minutes from its downtown core. You could spend a day in Vancouver and visit both Whistler (2 hour drive north of Vancouver) and the nearby mountains like Grouse, Seymour, Cypress (20 minutes away from downtown Vancouver). There are day tours to Whistler and there are afternoon tours to Grouse Mountain. I'd fit one day in Vancouver before heading to Victoria. Victoria's great, but it is not a destination for mountain seekers.

Edited: 12:49 pm, September 05, 2012
arlington
posts: 8
reviews: 5
5. Re: Mountain/trees/scenic area suggestions

I say mountains, but maybe mean woods./tree. We don't know a lot about the seattle/bc area, except kinda what we've seen TV. looks beautiful. We have lots of woods/forest areas in Texas, we love that kind of scenery/parks.

Here's our itinerary:

Saturday: our wedding in dallas

Saturday night: fly into seattle evening for honeymoon; staying downtown near retail district I think

sunday/monday: seattle - flight museum, fish market, space needle etc.

tuesday: amtrak from seattle to vancouver, then ferry/bus into victoria. We were booked business class on the train (cascades?) but was informed that they are switching trains that day so now we're just in all-coach train. So now maybe thinking just ferry over from Seattle to Victoria. Not sure. Advice welcome.

staying at Laurel Point Inn, no rental car planned

wednesday: victoria - we have a whale tour that afternoon, maybe see city

thursday: victoria - open - rent car? ** suggestions for scenic drive? **

friday morning: fly out to seattle and back to dallas (about 8-10 hours overall)

If we take a whale tour from Victoria, is that the same scenery/experience photo-wise as the ferry from Seattle to Victoria? Or is it different?

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 5,678
reviews: 13
6. Re: Mountain/trees/scenic area suggestions

If you have a rental car, I'd recommend driving west of Victoria to Juan de Fuca Provincial Park (about a 1.5 hour drive west of Victoria).

Sombrio Beach is one of the many beaches within the park, and that will certainly give you woods. And by woods, I mean old growth temperate rainforest.

Here's a photo taken from the trail that leads from the parking lot to Sombrio Beach: flickr.com/photos/robynobotica/2248294072/

That would be where I'd go if you're seeking forests.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 34,196
reviews: 54
7. Re: Mountain/trees/scenic area suggestions

The Amtrak to Vancouver will take 4 hours, the coach from Vancouver to Victoria will also take 4 hours. The Clipper takes 3 hours from Seattle to Victoria on the only sailing at 8 am. I'd take the Clipper for more time on the ground in Victoria.

Port Moody, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver, British Columbia
posts: 6,922
reviews: 90
8. Re: Mountain/trees/scenic area suggestions

Take the Clipper and spend the extra time in Victoria. the whale trip may or may not cover some of the waters as the Clipper.. it will depend onw here the whales are that day so no way to tell.

Rent a car for one day and do the drive BC-Robyn recommends. the trees here in BC are not anything like the trees/forest in Texas.. and you will have distant mountain views.. you'll just have to come back and spend another week in vancouver and Whistler.

Congrats on the wedding btw. ;)

Parksville, B.C.
posts: 117
reviews: 29
9. Re: Mountain/trees/scenic area suggestions

Given the time you are visiting, I would check to see if the salmon are running in Goldstream Park, just to the North/West of Victoria on the highway. If you've never seen this spectacle, it's worth the time, not to mention that you will see some very large trees at the same place. If you like eagles, they're usually abundant any time there's a lot a of salmon. Of course the timing might not work out, but the park is beautiful anyway. This is a link to the site: http://www.goldstreampark.com/salmon.htm.

Victoria, Canada
Destination Expert
for Victoria, Port Angeles
posts: 1,026
reviews: 59
10. Re: Mountain/trees/scenic area suggestions

the flight museum south of seattle is terrific, allow at least half a day to experience it.

beacon hill park and abkhazi gardens have nice trees etc but to get into wilder areas you have to get a bit further out as Vancouverite6 suggests. a little closer in is east sooke regional park which has all the trees, trails, seacoves etc that you could ever want in one day.

congratulations on getting married and have a great trip.