Prior Lake is conveniently located within Greater Victoria in the Municipality of View Royal. This small lake is part of Thetis Lake Regional Park, and is situated behind much larger Thetis Lake, a ‘textile’ beach.
Prior Lake was named in 1941 after Lieutenant Colonel The Honourable Edward Gawlor Prior, P.C.. The old name of the lake was Little Thetis.
To reach Prior Lake, exit the Trans-Canada Highway at Helmcken Road adjacent to Victoria General Hospital and immediately turn left onto Watkiss Way. Follow the road straight through the four-way stop until it makes a sharp right turn and becomes Highland Road. Drive slowly past the new subdivision and into Thetis Lake Park. Please use ample caution and watch out for pedestrians and cyclists when driving this narrow road, as it has several corners with minimal visibility.
Prior Lake is located down this scenic and winding roadway about 1.1 km from the “Entering Thetis Lake Park” sign that is at the far end of the subdivision. Note that the short path to the lake leads from the second small parking lot on the left side of the road. The first parking lot, about 1.0 km from the “Entering Thetis Lake Park” sign, is for Trillium Trail, which is an access to the back end of Thetis Lake, a textile area. There is no signage identifying either lake, but you’ll know you’ve gone too far if you come to a short bridge that crosses Craigflower Creek, just past the Prior Lake access point.
Please do not park with any portion of your vehicle on the pavement, or directly in front of the gate at the trailhead, or you will be quickly towed. There must be ample room for emergency vehicle access along the road and to the lake at all times. Also, please stay on marked trails to help preserve the natural habitat and, most importantly, obey the signs and avoid the rocky outcropping above the dock, as voyeurs are strongly discouraged. There is a short, easy pathway down to the lake, although it is not suitable for wheelchair users unless there is someone to provide assistance.