John Dean Provincial Park

Situated on top of Mount Newton on southern Vancouver Island, John Dean Provincial Park overlooks the pastoral Saanich Peninsula, the Gulf Islands and the Cascade Mountains. John Dean Park protects one of the last stands of old-growth Douglas fir and Garry oak on the Saanich Peninsula, and is a popular destination for local residents, who visit the park to hike in a pristine wilderness environment and enjoy the spectacular views. The mountain and surrounding area figure prominently in First Nations culture, and early descriptions of the mountain mention large rings of white stones placed there by the Saanich people. Lau Wel New, as Mount Newton is known to the First Nations of the Saanich Peninsula, was the high point of land that enabled them to survive the Great Flood. Here legend has it that the Saanich ancestors were able to anchor their canoe until the floodwaters subsided using a giant cedar rope. Lau Wel New was the first land available as the floodwaters receded.

A number of hiking trails, varying in degrees of difficulty, wind through the inspiring forest across the south and east face of Mount Newton at this day-use park. Adventurous hikers can climb to the summit of Mount Newton. In the spring the park comes alive with a vivid display of wildflowers native to British Columbia, including drifts of blue camas lilies, which carpet the understorey, as well as common red paintbrush, sea blush and shooting stars.

Wildlife flocks to this lush forest and from the top of Mount Newton you can watch as ravens, red-tailed hawks, bald eagles, and turkey vultures put on a display of soaring techniques. The summit of Mount Newton is also regarded as an excellent location to watch some of the best sunsets on Vancouver Island.

source: BC Parks