Reversing Rapids or Falls Tillicum Narrows Victoria BC
The Reversing Rapids (sometimes referred to a Reversing Falls) at Tillicum Narrows is a must see if you’re visiting Victoria BC and nearby. We’ve seen this natural phenomena both while on the Harbour Ferry Gorge Tour in Victoria, and by walking to Gorge Park.
What are Reversing Rapids or Reversing Falls?
This occurs during the drop from high to low tide (Ebb Flow). Generally, the bigger the gap over a short period of time, the larger the rapids or falls. The water is pushed through the narrow opening of Tillicum Narrows in this case.
Getting to Esquimalt Gorge Park
The Esquimalt Gorge Park is accessible from either Tillicum Road entrance or from Sioux Place near the playground. There’s a parking lot off Tillicum Road, and a small parking lot at the Sioux Place entrance. If walking on the South side of Tillicum Road, you’ll take the curve under the bridge and follow the path.
Planning to see the Reversing Rapids/Falls
Wth a little groundwork and forethought, you can plan to see this unique phenomenon. You may choose to take the Gorge Tour through Victoria Harbour Ferries if you wish to view this from the water. Note: The Gorge Tour runs at various times, so without planning the time as noted, you will not necessarily see the reversing rapids.
You can also view the Reversing Falls from Gorge Park at the bridge location, as you enter from Tillicum Road. It’s an easy bus ride from downtown taking less than 25 minutes on the #11 bus.
However you may decide to view the reversing rapids, check a tide schedule beforehand. In order to get the best view possible, you’re watching for the largest drop from high to low tide.
Example #1 – Planning to see the rapids based on tide schedule
We visited Gorge Park and the site of the Tillicum Narrows at approximately 4:10 p.m. on 15 January, 2022. If you review the schedule noted, you will see that this was during the drop from high to low tide (Ebb Flow). The first two pictures reflect that. The third picture was taken at 11:29 a.m. 12 August 2018, from the water on a Gorge Boat Tour.
Example #2 -Planning to see rapids based on tide schedule
We’ve added a couple pictures from a visit to show the Max Ebb at -8.50 knots on 27th of January, 2022 at 4:28 p.m. The sights and sounds as you stand and watch the reversing rapids are awesome to experience and drown out the sound of the traffic above on Tillicum Bridge.
This will be a memorable experience for the whole family. If you’ve gone to watch the reversing rapids on foot or by transit, you may want to check out Esquimalt Gorge Park. It’s a peaceful and relaxing park with lots of history, which you’ll see in the informational signage as you stroll through the park. There’s no doubt you will enjoy your leisurely walk by the Gorge Waterway.
For more to do and see in Victoria BC, return to our Victoria Travel Tips page for ideas and planning.