- Difficulty Intermediate
- Time 3 hours
- Round-Trip 5.5km
- Elevation Gain 270 meters
- Season year-round
- Camping No
- From Vancouver n/a
- Public Transit No
- Dog Friendly On-Leash
Mount Maxwell Provincial Park on Salt Spring Island has a large network of hiking trails and a few spectacular viewpoints along the route to the top and at Baynes Peak. The hike is best done on a clear day to avoid some of the slippery rock sections and so the viewpoints can be enjoyed.
There are several routes to the top, including driving up a very rough road that requires a 4-wheel drive vehicle with clearance. This hiking route begins from Armand Way and there is a longer hiking route that begins from Burgoyne Bay that has more elevation gain. The trails within Mount Maxwell Provincial Park are all numbered and clearly marked at each junction. The route description will follow along several different numbered trails.
From the gravel cul-de-sac at the end of Armand Way, follow Trail #4 past the sign that goes parallel to a homeowner's driveway. Make sure to stay on the trail as it continues a distance before veering left uphill and into the forest. The trail climbs quickly passing the park boundary sign and then reaching the first junction. Go right at the junction and continue to follow Trail #4.
The trail meanders through the forest with minimal elevation change through this section. Passing a small pond, the trail descends slightly and then passes through a section that experienced significant tree blowdown from a wind storm. A short distance, go right at another junction and continue along Trail #4 as it begins to climb at a steeper rate.
During a steep uphill section, the trail passes a 4-way junction. Continue straight and uphill. The trail veers left and continues uphill until it reaches another sign with Trail #5. You will return to this point but continue left and following Trail #4.
Continue follow the trail as you walk up a smooth rock section with a viewpoint looking south across Salt Spring Island. Walk past this viewpoint and continue up the trail, watching for a small trail that goes down to the left. Follow this trail down to the left and walk out onto a rocky outcrop with a scenic view looking down towards some of the farms on Salt Spring Island and further south towards Swartz Bay. This is one of the best viewpoints within Mount Maxwell Provincial Park.
Return to the trail and continue hiking up the last section. Go left at the junction and you will almost immediately reach the park area at Baynes Peak. Walk to the left where the fencing is and enjoy the views looking down to Burgoyne Bay.
Once you have enjoyed the views at Baynes Peak, return to the area where you arrived but look for the junction with Trail #1. This will descend a slightly different route at the top that's more gradual. Follow the forested trail, then go right at the junction onto Trail # 5. Follow Trail #5 as it goes up and over a hill before joining Trail #4. Go left onto Trail #4, the trail that you took to the top, and begin your hike back downhill.
Stay on Trail #4 all the way back to Armand Way as you carefully walk down the steep section, then back through the tree blowdown. Follow the trail downhill through the final forested section before veering right, along the trail that is parallel to the private driveway.