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  • Writer's pictureElse-Jean Frederiksen

Your Guide to Paddling Brentwood Bay and McKenzie Bight

If you’re looking for breathtaking views and are an intermediate paddler, McKenzie Bight might be the perfect destination for you! McKenzie Bight is a scenic, gravely beach located along the Eastern shore of the Saanich inlet in Gowlland Tod Provincial Park. A round trip ranges anywhere from 2.5 to 3.5 hours depending on the conditions and paddling experience. The geography of the inlet is referred to as a glacial fjord (a long, narrow inlet characterized by steep sides/cliffs which was created by glaciers) which offers astounding scenery and terrain, all of which can be seen from McKenzie Bight! To get to McKenzie Bight starting from Brentwood Bay we recommend directly crossing the bay to reach Willis Point. Try to keep the crossing short as wind picks up over large distances. While you cross, it is also important to keep an eye out for the Mill Bay ferry and any other traffic in the Bay. Make sure to always be attentive and give vessels as much space as possible! After reaching Willis Point follow the shore on your left around the corner and down into the Saanich Inlet and Finlayson Arm. McKenzie Bight is recognizable by a wide, shallow beach with rock outcropping on the North side. This is a great picnic spot with beautiful views, unique terrain, and plenty of wildlife! If you do choose to get out on the beach just be sure to pull your boat high up onto the beach so that the tides don't sweep your equipment out to sea. The beach is easy to land on and features an outhouse. Important precautions before you go to Mckenzie Bight include checking the wind and tide forecasts for the day to ensure paddling back is safe and possible. 

If you want to extend the day, we recommend exploring more of Finlayson Arm! This extends to the Goldstream Estuary but to protect the sensitive ecosystem, please only paddle as far as the Goldstream Marina. On the west side of the arm is Spectacle falls. This is best viewed from autumn through spring when there is enough rain to fill Spectacle creek. The falls also serve as a popular resting spot for those on a full day adventure. 

Here is a map of Brentwood Bay, the Saanich Inlet and Finlayson Arm. We provide every customer with a copy of this map which contains estimated distances/durations as well as essential contact information in case of any questions or an emergency while you're on the water.

Until next time,

Pacifica Paddle

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