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Vancouver Island is one of the most beautiful destinations in British Columbia! The island is full of lush forests, coastal views, rich history, and culture. You’ll have no problem finding things to do and see here, whether it’s your first or 20th visit.
We’ve been here many times and know that it can be hard to narrow down your itinerary. But there’s one activity that should make the cut … the Malahat Skywalk!
A relative newbie to the scene, the Malahat Skywalk has gained lots of positive attention for its innovative architecture and stunning views. When we visited, it seemed the views stretched on and on – and on! Built on traditional Malahat territory, the Skywalk allows visitors to combine history, culture, and natural beauty in one awesome experience.
Whether you’re staying on Vancouver Island or making a quick ferry trip over from Vancouver, you should definitely visit this incredible skywalk. And if you’re not sure what to expect, we’ve got you covered!
We want you to make the best of your trip which is why we’ve created the guide below. So keep reading for everything you should know about visiting the Malahat Skywalk on Vancouver Island.
1. About the Malahat Skywalk
The Malahat Skywalk opened in 2021 and is one of the newest tourist attractions on Vancouver Island. It sits on the traditional territory of the Malahat Nation, and is beautifully set in the famous Cowichan Valley.
Developers partnered with Malahat Nation to operate the Skywalk, ensuring that visitors get a feel for the importance of this area to its native community.
Costing a whopping $17 million CAD to build, the Skywalk was completed in just under 2 years. It was constructed from steel and Douglas Fir timber to create a safe structure that maintains elements from its natural surroundings.
The Skywalk is an impressive 250 meters (820 feet) above sea level. It has about 600 meters (1,969 feet) of a gentle spiral walkway that takes you up to the ultimate viewing platform. You’ll slowly wind up the walkway until you reach the very top, where you’ll be above the treetops, revealing some amazing 360° views!
2. Where is the Malahat Skywalk?
The Malahat Skywalk is located on the Southern end of Vancouver Island. If you’re coming from Victoria, it’s just 27 km (17 miles) northwest. And if you’re staying in Duncan, BC, the skywalk is 34 km (21 miles) southeast.
The Malahat Skywalk is about two-thirds of the way down the serene Saanich Inlet and boasts amazing views of the water. You can also see lush green forests sloping into valleys and inlets, nearby islands, and the mainland.
Depending on which way you look, you can spot many popular sights on Vancouver Island. Set your gaze to the north to see Cowichan Valley and the beautiful Salt Spring Island. To the east, you can view Brentwood Bay, and on a clear day, you’ll even catch a glimpse of Washington’s famous Mount Baker! And just to the south is Victoria and the stunning Salish Sea.
Related Read: The Malahat Skywalk is a great road trip destination! If you’re driving across Vancouver Island, read about these other great stops between Victoria and Nanaimo here.
3. How much does it cost to visit the Malahat Skywalk?
You’ve got a few ticket options, depending on if you’re driving yourself, taking a shuttle bus from Victoria, or joining an organized tour from Vancouver.
If you have your own car or rental car and wish to drive yourself, you can head straight to the skywalk and buy tickets at the ticket booth when you arrive. However, we’d recommend buying tickets online so you can skip the line!
Single-entry adult tickets are $35 CAD, seniors cost $31 CAD, kids (6-17) cost $21 CAD, and children under 6 are free. There’s also a family ticket option for $95 CAD that covers 2 adults and 2 children (which is a great deal if you ask us!).
A single-entry ticket covers the whole experience: the TreeWalk, Spiral Tower, the slide, and the lookout. There’s no time limit here, so you can relax and enjoy the surrounding area for as long as you’d like (until closing time, that is!).
Ticket and shuttle from Victoria
If you’re basing your Vancouver Island adventure out of beautiful Victoria and don’t have a rental car, don’t worry – you’ve got options!
One of the most hassle-free ways is to hop on this Malahat Skywalk shuttle that includes pick-ups in various locations around Victoria and your entry ticket for $108 CAD. They keep it pretty small and laid back, with only 4-6 people per shuttle, and allow you two hours at the Malahat Skywalk.
Your driver takes care of all the work, including buying your ticket, so all you have to do is show up and enjoy the views! We recommend this option because it makes everything easy, has amazing reviews, and is super convenient to book online.
Tour from Vancouver
If you’re in Van City but still want to experience a little bit of Vancouver Island on your trip, then this full-day tour is your best bet! It’s one of the best tours to get to Victoria from Vancouver.
Meet bright and early – at 6:45 am – at Canada Place before heading to Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal. Here, you’ll hop aboard a 90-minute ferry ride to Vancouver Island. From there, it’s an hour’s drive to the awesome Malahat Skywalk where you can climb the walkway to see all the views!
But that’s not all you’ll experience on this tour. You’ll also stop in Cowichan Bay, Duncan, and Nanaimo, with a little trip to the Merridale Cidery and Distillery along the way. Tours run for roughly 12 hours, start to finish, for around $285 CAD per person. This includes all your tickets and some pretty awesome tour guides.
Overall, we feel it’s a great deal and comprehensive tour of Vancouver Island. If it sounds like the ideal day trip for you, check availability and book your tour online here!
Why We Book Tours with Viator
Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! We almost always book our tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:
- Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
- Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
- Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
- Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.
Check out the Viator website here!
4. Do you need to purchase tickets in advance?
While it’s not required, your best bet is to buy tickets in advance online.
This is what we did; it made the trip less stressful, and we didn’t have to wait in line. In peak seasons, especially during summer, lines at the ticket booth can get pretty long!
Tickets are valid for one year from the purchase date and don’t require you to pick a particular day or time slot, so your plans can be pretty flexible!
5. When is the Malahat Skywalk open, and when is the best time to visit?
Malahat Skywalk is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year! Below are their opening hours based on the season.
- Winter (early November to mid-March): 9 am – 3:30 pm
- Spring (mid-March to early June): 9 am – 6 pm
- Summer (early June to early September): 9 am – 8 pm
- Fall (early September to early November): 9 am – 6 pm
Before you go, check their online schedule for updates, maintenance closures, and special events they run throughout the year.
If you’re visiting in the peak seasons, it’s best to get there early in the morning or later in the afternoon to avoid the lines. The lineup for the slide can get especially busy around midday in the summer, so head out early! If you’re flexible with your travel plans, we recommend visiting outside of summer – you’ll have fewer crowds, fewer lines, and the same spectacular views!
6. What are the highlights at the Malahat Skywalk?
The Malahat Skywalk isn’t just a fantastic lookout point; it’s a whole outdoor experience. It takes you through the forest and then up above the treeline to take in unobstructed, panoramic views.
We think this whole place is awesome, but there were definitely some highlights that stood out to us. The TreeWalk was incredibly peaceful and the Spiral Tower views were like nothing we had ever seen. If you like an adrenaline rush like I do, you’ll enjoy lying in the Adventure Net high above the ground. And when you’re done taking in all the spectacular vistas, you can glide down their epic 20-meter (66-foot) slide!
To get to the Spiral Tower from the Welcome Center, visitors first take about a 15-minute stroll on the TreeWalk – a beautiful boardwalk elevated about 20 meters (66 feet) from the forest floor.
It takes you alongside giant Douglas Fir and fragrant arbutus trees, with informative signs to read along the way. Once you’ve strolled through the TreeWalk, you’ll have an appreciation for just how tall the trees are that you’ll soon be towering over!
The view from the top
As you slowly wind up the Spiral Tower, you’ll eventually bypass all those trees you just walked through until you have a clear view over the treeline! The viewing point is 250 meters (820 feet) above sea level, and it’s stunning no matter which direction you look.
Whether looking just across the Saanich Inlet to Swartz Bay or spotting nearby islands like Salt Spring or Saturna, your eyes will be busy taking it all in. Depending on how clear the day is, you might even see as far as Mount Baker, which is pretty incredible! Since there’s no time limit, you can hang out for a while.
The Adventure Net
This one’s for the thrill seekers! At the top of the Spiral Tower viewing platform, you’ll spot the Adventure Net – 84 square meters (904 square feet) of net that you can stand on or grab a seat on for views below!
It feels a bit scary to step out onto, but it’s safe, sturdy, and offers a cool vantage point of the Spiral Tower walkway and forest below. Some kids were fearlessly hopping around on the net when we visited, but we weren’t quite that brave!
The slide down
Don’t feel like walking back down the Spiral Tower walkway? No problem, take the slide!
Yep, you read that right – there’s a slide that’ll take you all the way from the viewing platform right back down to the bottom where you started. Anyone over 5 years old and 42 in (106 cm) tall can hop on for an 8-second solo ride down the 20-meter (66-foot) slide. They provide a mat to sit on to make it a bit comfier.
As expected, this can be a pretty busy attraction, so if it’s on your priority list, you might want to plan your visit outside peak times like weekends, midday, or school holidays. There’s no extra fee for the slide, and you can go as many times as you like – but you’ll have to walk back up to the top first!
Related Read: If you love being outdoors, there are plenty of opportunities in nearby Victoria. One of our favorites spots is visiting the incredible Butchart Gardens which you can do on your own or as part of a garden tour from Victoria.
7. Is it hard to climb the Malahat Skywalk?
Not at all! You might look up at the 10-story high tower and think it’s gonna be a doozy, but in fact, it’s a pretty relaxed walk.
The incline is gradual, and to us, it almost felt like taking a casual stroll on a fairly flat surface. The entire walk from the Welcome Center to the top of the tower and back down is around 2.2 km (1.4 miles), so even though it’s a casual walk, you’ll definitely want some comfy shoes!
Related Read: If easy strolls are for you, check out these walking tours in Victoria! Some of them even combine sightseeing and great food – a winning combination in our books!
8. Are there facilities at the Malahat Skywalk?
Yes, you’ll find a few facilities at the Malahat Skywalk.
As you arrive, you’ll find the parking lot, with the Welcome Center just a few steps away. Inside, there’s a café with a good offering of hot and cold drinks, snacks, and picnic items. You can eat at the café or grab food to take with you. Attached to the café is a gift shop with the usual souvenirs like t-shirts, hats, and locally handcrafted goods.
If you grab food and drinks, there are a few spots to sit back and enjoy a picnic or sip your coffee. You can relax at the Gathering Place (open patio) outside the café or the picnic area below the Spiral Tower. We managed to score seats on two of the colorful chairs at the bottom of the Spiral Tower. Here, we had some pretty nice views while we enjoyed our snacks!
You should know that the only restrooms at the Malahat Skywalk are located in the Welcome Center, which is a 15-minute walk from the Spiral Tower.
9. Is the Malahat Skywalk wheelchair friendly?
Yes! Every part of the Malahat Skywalk was built with accessibility in mind, and it’s suitable for wheelchairs, walkers, and strollers.
You’ll find some sections with inclines on the TreeWalk and Spiral Tower with a maximum incline of 5-8%. These walkways are wide for easy maneuvering. The Welcome Center is also fitted with wheelchair-accessible restrooms, and designated parking spots are also available.
10. Is the Malahat Skywalk suitable for children?
Absolutely! It’s suitable for all ages, and kids (or kids at heart!) will especially love the slide and will probably want to go down it more than once. If you’re visiting with children, it’s a good idea to visit outside of peak times, so there isn’t too much waiting around.
Related Read: For another one-in-a-lifetime adventure on Vancouver Island, read about whale watching in Victoria along with the best tours available!
11. Is the Malahat Skywalk pet friendly?
No, pets are not permitted here, so your furry friends will have to skip this one! With that said, certified guide and service dogs are allowed.
If you’re traveling with pets, bear in mind that there is very little shade in the parking lot. Plus, with hot temperatures in summer, leaving your dog in the car might not be safe. In that case, someone in your group will likely have to stay behind to watch your pet.
12. Is the Malahat Skywalk worth it?
Yes! We loved everything about this experience, from the unique architecture to the beautiful walk. And, of course, the views from top are unbeatable!
It’s also a great way to learn a bit about the cultural significance of this area and experience some of the beautiful nature that Vancouver Island offers.
Where to Stay in Victoria, BC
When visiting the Malahat Skywalk, most people choose to stay in Victoria. Not only is it just a 35-minute drive from the skywalk, but it also has lots of charm, history, and stunning greenspaces (it’s not called the “Garden City” for nothing!).
While you could easily stay a week, even just a few days or a weekend will leave you enough time to visit the skywalk and other top sights. Victoria is most popular during the warm, summery months (think May to August), so if you’re planning on coming then, make sure to book a hotel well in advance.
Some great hotels and hostels in Victoria that we love are:
Ocean Island Backpackers – $
Ocean Island Backpackers Inn is a budget hostel located in downtown Victoria, close to lots of bars and restaurants and within walking distance of the harbor. The best part is that breakfast, dinner, and one free drink every night at the pub downstairs are included in your stay!
It’s perfect if you’re backpacking across BC on a budget – a bunk here is around $44 CAD. Private rooms are also available (more around $130 CAD) if sharing isn’t your thing. If you want to snag this great deal, you’ll want to book ahead. Book a stay on HostelWorld.com or Booking.com.
The Embassy Inn – $$
Stay in the heart of Victoria’s harbor at The Embassy Inn. If you’re taking the ferry here, this hotel is so convenient with its location right near the docks. You can easily walk around to see the sights nearby and grab the included breakfast before you head out every morning. Rooms here are around $170 CAD and you can check availability and book your stay online here.
Fairmont Empress Hotel – $$$
Staying at the Fairmont Empress Hotel is one of the top things to do in Victoria. It’s one of those grand railway hotels built across Canada that looks more like a castle than a hotel!
It’s located by the water just south of downtown. The rooms here are elegant and luxurious – you’ll see why this is where royalty stays when visiting Victoria. Grab afternoon tea, book a spa treatment, or just wander around the gardens. Rooms here start around $350-400 CAD per night, but provide quite the experience! You can check availability and book online here.
For even more options, click here to browse all hotels in Victoria!
Other Things to do While in Victoria, BC
When visiting the Malahat Skywalk, most people base themselves in Victoria. And it’s a great place to stay because Victoria is full of incredible outdoor and indoor activities. Here are just a few of our favorite things to do in this impressive city:
- Visit the historic castles – Victoria is home to two unique castles, Craigdarroch Castle and Hatley Castle. Both offer a unique glimpse into the city’s intriguing past. While you can’t enter actually Hatley castle, you can explore the surrounding grounds which are absolutely beautiful. You can also visit Craigdarroch Castle on this highly-rated guided bike tour, which also includes stops at other top attractions around the city for only $65 CAD!
- See the Steamship Water Ballet performance – Yes, you read that right! At 10:45 am every Sunday morning (with more frequent shows happening during the summer), the captains of the steamships perform a choreographed dance routine, completely for free at Victoria Harbour! It sounds strange, and maybe it is a little, but trust us – such a fun time!
- Fly in a seaplane – From Victoria Harbor Airport, you’ll take off from the water (and land in it too!) on a truly jaw-dropping experience. Flights last around 20 minutes and prices start at $143 CAD. Seaplane flights are extremely popular (for good reason), so be sure to book your flight in advance to avoid missing out.
- Explore Goldstream Provincial Park – It’s no secret that Victoria has some of Canada’s best natural parks, with Goldstream Provincial Park being high on that list! With many hiking trails to explore and the opportunity to take a dip in the beautiful Goldstream Falls, it’s easy to spend a peaceful day here and enjoy nature.
Renting a Car in British Columbia
If you’re arriving in British Columbia via plane, then I can’t recommend getting a rental car enough. British Columbia is a large province and traveling between the best places to visit in BC requires transport. Although you can use public transport on some occasions, this means your trip will not only require more time but more planning.
Car rental in Canada isn’t relatively cheap, but it’s not that expensive either, especially if you get a budget car. The cheapest car with a pick-up and drop-off in different locations is around $100 CAD per day. The price does vary though, depending on the time of year. For car rentals, I use the website Discover Cars. It’s a search engine with lots of deals with good customer service. In fact, I’ve used Discover Cars all over the world, including in Chile, New Zealand, and Australia.
Another popular option is to rent a campervan or motorhome (only for the brave in winter.) Using Motorhome Republic, you can search hundreds of deals across multiple companies to pick a great vehicle and the cheapest price. Having a motorhome is a stunning way to see Canada, and using crown land and campsites, you can often camp for free or very cheap in the most beautiful places imaginable!
Thanks for reading!
When visiting Vancouver Island, you should definitely check out the Malahat Skywalk! Not only does it have the best views, but it’s a fun way to explore nature and learn about the local culture. And if you do come here, we hope our guide was helpful!
To learn about other destinations within the country, check out my other blogs about Canada. I love sharing useful tips about places to go, things to see, and where to stay. I’ve also included a few articles below about some of my favorite areas near the Malahat Skywalk. Thanks for reading!