Remote Greater Victoria lakes uncovered in new guidebook

Secret Lakes book launch is 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, June 18 at the Prospect Lake Golf Course

From a pleasant afternoon with the family at Glen Lake in Langford, to a bike ride out to Metchosin’s hidden beauty Blinkhorn Lake, to an epic day hike up to Sheilds Lake in the Sooke Hills wilderness, Victoria author Adam Ungstad has done it all – and now he’s written a book about it.

“I decided to write it in late August of 2011, as I was looking for information about the remote lakes in the Sea to Sea Regional Park Reserve, which is close by Sooke,” said Ungstad. “I couldn’t find any reliable information about the trails or what to expect on a hike up there, and thought: ‘Why hasn’t someone written a book about the lakes in the area?’ Of course, the next thought was, ‘Why don’t I write a book about lakes in the area?’”

Ungstad’s new guidebook, Secret Lakes of Southern Vancouver Island helps outdoor enthusiasts explore and enjoy the many lakes within a short drive or cycle ride from Victoria.

“The first time I ‘discovered’ Thetis Lake was by bike via the Galloping Goose trail about seven years ago. I wasn’t a big cyclist then, and wasn’t sure I’d be able to find the lake, but the experience left a lasting impression,” said Ungstad. “When I first got there I thought that the main beach was everything, but decided to walk along the trail just to see what else was there – and of course discovered some spectacular view points and secluded coves.

“From that point on I was hooked, and each summer I would ride a bit further getting to know the area better, and continually being fascinated by just how many different lakes there are that are accessible by bicycle from town. With each new lake I found my questions, curiosity and admiration grew. I wanted to know them all.”

The guidebook includes recreational information, information on natural features and history for each of the 25 lakes and also features top 10 lists to help find the best lakes for each activity. The guidebook features maps and directions that show trails, beaches, viewpoints, boat launches, picnic tables, washrooms and parking, while photos and the Lakes 101 section answer a myriad of questions.

“Essentially I wrote the book I wanted to read. Other guidebooks had a little bit of information about lakes here and there, but they usually covered just the large lakes I already knew, and often they didn’t have much about the history of the lakes. I found it fascinating to imagine being an early settler of Vancouver Island, and spent a lot of time at different archives and museums learning about who these people were,” he said.

Secret Lakes book launch is 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, June 18 at the Prospect Lake Golf Course, 4633 Prospect Lake Rd., with partial proceeds from the launch going to The Land Conservancy. Tickets, $40, are available at

Ticket price includes a signed copy of the book, a presentation on the history and nature of local lakes by the author, and a presentation on the Wild Hills and Beaches Campaign by TLC.

Secret Lakes of Southern Vancouver Island is $19.95 and is available at Bolen Books, 1644 Hillside Ave., Ivy’s Bookshop, 2188 Oak Bay Ave. and other Greater Victoria locations.

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