East Sooke Regional Park
This is one of my 12 Vancouver Island bucket list hikes for 2019. Checkout the full list here.
Access: Aylard Farm Parking Lot, 1 Becher Bay Rd, Sooke
Distance: The Coast Trail is 10 kilometres, but there are over 50 kilometres of trail in the park
Difficulty: The Coast Trail is quite challenging; however, there are other access points to the water that make for a more leisurely hike
Highlights: Petroglyphs, secret beaches, stunning rocky bluffs
Only 20-minutes outside of Victoria, with over 50 kilometres of trails, East Sooke Regional Park is a very popular hiking destination. The trails within the park range from old roads that groups could walk four abreast, to steep craggy cliffs that aren’t really trails at all (but are very fun). Although there are multiple access points, Aylard Farm is a great place to start as it has washrooms, beach access, and picnic tables. This area of the park is also wheelchair friendly.
The Coast Trail is a challenge. I will say what the trail lacks in “traditional trail terrain” it makes up for in signage. At times it felt like there were just a bunch of yellow trail markers attached to a sheer rock face with no trail in sight. Yep, it’s a bit of a grind in places. However, the grind is worth it as the Coast Trail offers incredible scenery.
The water off the bluffs of the park is a beautiful clear blue — at times almost turquoise. From up on the bluffs you can see out across the Juan de Fuca Strait, or peer down at the bull kelp waving in the tide. There are many great areas to stop for a while and soak it all in — we saw three sea lions and a heron on our hike. We had lunch in a hidden cove near Cabin Point that felt like a tropical lagoon.
Near Aylard Farm, where we started on the Coast Trail, there is a large petroglyph of a seal. It is estimated to be between 200 - 3,000 years old. It's easy to spot, and there is a lot of signage to help get you there.
East Sooke Park is a gorgeous getaway from the city. With unobstructed views over the Juan de Fuca straight and a choose-your-own-adventure trail system, there's something for everyone.
Other Vancouver Island Hikes