East Sooke Regional Park - Victoria Area Trails
East Sooke Regional Park is a convenient and easily accessible way to experience the wild, west coast of Vancouver Island. Weather blasted rocky cliffs, sandy beaches and deep coastal forest trails run throughout the park. Wonderfully remote feeling, East Sooke Park is so large as to have three access points and many worthwhile destinations.
Every few minutes along the coast you come to another startlingly desolate ocean vantage point, followed by dense coastal forest, then a hidden beach, then forest again. Everything about East Sooke Park is just great and should not be missed on a trip to Victoria anytime of the year.
The sheer size of this park and number of trails, over 50 kilometres of them. The Coastal Trail, almost 12 kilometres long, stretches out linearly in an array of pocket beaches, rocky viewpoints and fantastically alive tide pools. It hugs the cliff, ducks into the forest and back out to another stunning ocean viewpoint. It does this over and over again. Dozens of times, and not once does it get boring. The Strait of Juan de Fuca and swirling mass of green and blue stretches out toward the Olympic Mountains in the United States.
East Sooke Regional Park has three main access points and trailheads. This allows the huge park to be divided up into three manageable parts, each one with very different attributes. The Aylard Farm trailhead is the easy, family friendly and relaxing way to see East Sooke Park. A few short, 5 minute trails take you down to beaches, tidal pools and picnic areas. The Anderson Cove trailhead is popular with hikers tackling the more challenging trails to Babbington Hill and Mount Maguire. The Pike Road trailhead is the furthest west access to East Sooke Park with an easy, 1.5 kilometre trail leading down to Iron Mine Beach.
Aylard Farm is the busiest entry point to East Sooke Park as the enormous parking lot will attest. A spider web of trails emanate from this starting point. If you are looking for a relaxing walk to a nice beach, this is a good place to go. A nice beach with lots of wildlife to watch make this a favourite stop for families. Trails continue along the coastline and the beautiful Coast Trail. Hugging the coastline the trail takes you to a nice picnic area and shelter with fantastic ocean views. From here the Coast Trail continues along the coast and spans the entire park.
The Anderson Cove entrance to East Sooke Park is the way to access the two popular summits in the park. Babbington Hill and Mount Maguire. These two challenging trails take you up to great vantage points over the park and the Olympic Peninsula beyond. The snow-capped peaks of the Olympic Mountains in the US look surprisingly close from these summits.
The Pike Road access to the park is great for families and relaxing. The short, 1.5 kilometre trail follows an old logging road through a nice meadow, then down to Iron Mine Beach. Another beautiful beach that will keep kids amused for hours.
Though East Sooke Park is one of the biggest parks around Victoria with an extensive hiking trail network, camping is not welcome. Bikes and beach fires are also not welcome. Further up the coast is the beautiful and camping friendly, Juan de Fuca Trail that is more suited to multi-day hiking.
Directions to East Sooke Regional Park
Aylard Farm: Follow the Trans Canada Highway from downtown Victoria and take the Colwood exit. Follow the Old Island Highway which directly connects to the Sooke Road. Turn left on Gillespie Road, left on East Sooke Road, then right on Becher Bay Road, look for the park entrance. This is the best access point for families.
Anderson Cove: Follow the Trans Canada Highway from downtown Victoria and take the Colwood exit. Follow the Old Island Highway which directly connects to the Sooke Road. Turn left on Gillespie Road, right on East Sooke road and look for the park entrance on your left. This is the best access point for hiking the two summits in the park.
Pike Road: Follow the Trans Canada Highway from downtown Victoria and take the Colwood exit. Follow the Old Island Highway which directly connects to the Sooke Road. Turn left on Gillespie Road, right on East Sooke Road, continue past Anderson Cove, Turn left on Pike Road, look for the park entrance sign. This is an excellent access point for a relaxing hike to a stunning, rocky shore beach connecting to an idyllic island(at high tide) and a quiet coastal trail.
More Sights on the Drive to East Sooke Park
About halfway to East Sooke Park if driving from downtown Victoria are two beautiful hikes. Mill Hill and Thetis Lake. Mill Hill Regional Park is a well hidden though wonderfully short hike to amazing views of Victoria, Esquimalt and the Western Communities. The hike is only 15 minutes to the summit with a branching trail that leads to Thetis Lake Park. This is a remarkably seldom hiked park in Victoria. It is rare to see anyone on the trail or at the beautiful summit. The views are amazing. What makes them even more amazing is that the views look as though you are on a much higher mountain than the small and short hike that brought you to this great summit. The hike is only 15 minutes to the summit with a branching trail that leads to Thetis Lake Park. Follow the Trans Canada Highway from Victoria, take Exit 14 south to Langford. Thetis Lake Regional Park is a very popular Victoria park that contains several lakes. Lower Thetis Lake, Upper Thetis Lake, Prior Lake and further out, McKenzie Lake are all within this amazing park. A wide, spider web of hiking trails run in between and around these lakes in the midst of a beautiful and secluded forest. Trails also lead to more challenging trails to Scafe Hill and Stewart Mountain. In the summer Thetis Lake is fantastically popular as a swimming beach. is astonishingly beautiful and incredibly interesting as a tourist attraction in Victoria that most never see. This fact is amazing as it is wonderful and unquestionably, or at least arguably, as good or better than any other attraction around. And at $3.90, what a phenomenal deal. You can crawl all over all the real pre World War I era defensive structures and even play with and all but fire a genuine World War II Anti-Aircraft Gun... which astonishingly is in the parking lot. Very close to East Sooke Park, about 5 minute before, is another beautiful beach and forest park, Witty's Lagoon. Here you will find a great network of trails and boardwalks that meander through an impressive Douglas-fir forest leading to the wonderful beach at Witty's Lagoon. The trails total over 5k, however, can be hiked in smaller sections. Many just head to the beach and lagoon and avoid the trails, but the trails are well worth a look. The trails run around the lagoon with great ocean and wildlife scenery. Sitting Lady Falls is wonderfully viewed from the very nice boardwalk.