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A Hike On The Coast Trail In East Sooke Park, BC

A Hike on the Coast Trail in East Sooke Park, BC

The 10 kilometre Coast Trail in East Sooke Park is a standout hike if you’re looking for a day hike near Victoria. The trailhead is only about a 45 minute drive from downtown Victoria.

The hike along the Coast Trail is a great one from start to finish. It’s a model in contrasts: spectacular and rugged coastal scenery is broken by temperate rainforest filled with massive cedars and firs, some draped in moss. Throw in pocket beaches, tide pools, views of the Olympic Mountains, windswept pines and red barked arbutus trees, as well as swaths of wildflowers in season and you’ll understand the appeal of this hike.

You might not see a soul either. I didn’t see anyone for the first 90 minutes on a glorious Sunday.

"The start of the trail at Pike Road"in East Sooke Park

The start of the trail at Pike Road

The Coast Trail in East Sooke Park

Make no mistake. The Coast Trail not an easy hike. The ten kilometres (6 miles) takes a solid five hours. The trail moves between shaded valleys and narrow cliff-side paths.

In wet weather, the trail would be slick. Other than the flat walk in or out from the parking lot at the northern trailhead, the trail offers nothing but continuous ups and downs. Like many a coastal trail, its name belies the level of difficulty.

Watch your footing constantly. Near the end of the trail when I was busy taking pictures, I stumbled ass over teakettle as the saying goes, and ended up splat in the bushes – fortunately with only my pride wounded.

"Giant tree stumps can still be seen on the Coast Trail in East Sooke Park

Giant stumps can still be seen

"The first glimpse of the beach at Iron Mine Bay"in East Sooke Park

The first glimpse of the beach at Iron Mine Bay

"Pocket Beach in Iron Mine Bay"in East Sooke Park

Pocket Beach in Iron Mine Bay

How to organize the Coast Hike 

The hike requires some pre-planning with respect to transportation logistics. A car shuttle or a drop off is the ideal scenario so you only need to hike it one way. Otherwise count on a brutal 10 + hour day.

Your options include starting at either Pike Road at the northern end of the trail or Aylard Farm at the southern end.

If that’s not possible consider doing a loop beginning and ending at Aylard Farm. Take the interior trail out to Cabin Point and return to the parking lot via the Coastal Trail. Don’t worry about finding your way either. Signage is excellent with an easy to understand map at every intersection. The loop hike is probably not a full 10 km (6 mi) but it will still take you a solid three to four hours.

You can take your dogs on the trail – and there is cellphone coverage though you might end up paying US roaming charges. There are no charges to visit this park.

Coastal views at the northern end of the trail

Coastal views at the northern end of the trail

"Wildflowers are springing up in East Sooke Park

Wildflowers are springing up

"Barnacle covered rocks and sea grass"

Barnacle covered rocks and sea grass

"Looking north up the coast from East Sooke Park

Looking north up the coast

"Looking way up into the trees"

Looking way up into the trees

"Fantastic limbs on this tree"

Fantastic limbs on this tree

"Fallen trees dictate the trail'

Fallen trees dictate the trail

 One of the many pocket coves you hike by in East Sooke Park

One of the many pocket coves you hike by

"Monster sized tree in the rainforest"

I wonder what the age difference is

The best time to do the Coastal Trail

In theory, you can do this hike at any time of the year but it’s particularly lovely in spring with the wildflowers emerging. Avoid the hike during high wind storms when the groaning trees are sure to unnerve you or worse topple over. You can’t camp overnight but the park is open from sunrise to sunset.

If you only have a day to hike on the west coast of Vancouver Island then this is the trail to do. And petroglyph seekers take note; check out the rocks at Aldridge Point along the coast.

For more information visit the East Sooke Regional Park website.

"Swaths of wildflowers'

Swaths of wildflowers

"Beautiful moss covered rocks"

Beautiful moss covered rocks

Wind swept pine trees and a rocky shoreline in East Sooke Park

Wind swept pine trees and a rocky shoreline

"Views to the Olympic Mountains'

Views to the Olympic Mountains

"Arbutus trees are mixed in with pine trees"

Arbutus trees are mixed in with pine trees

"The Trap Shack'

The Trap Shack

A view out to sea from the Trap Shack

A view out to sea from the Trap Shack

"Colourful sedum covers the rocks"

Colourful sedum covers the rocks

"Yellow broom - an invasive plant - adds a colourful touch to the landscape"

Yellow broom – an invasive plant – adds a colourful touch to the landscape

"Native Camas flowers"

Native Camas flowers (Indian hyacinth)

"Pretty islands offshore"

Pretty islands offshore

The final easy section through the forest in East Sooke Park

The final easy section through the forest in East Sooke Park

Aylard Farm

If part of your group isn’t interested in hiking, they can spend many hours enjoying the area around Aylard Farm. It’s a great spot for a picnic. Even better, there’s a short but steep trail down to a pocket beach where you can explore the intertidal life. If you’re lucky you might even see river otters.

Places to Stay in Sooke

This post includes some affiliate links. If you make a qualifying purchase through one of these links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you very much.

One of the loveliest places in Sooke is the Sooke Harbour House. We splurged and stayed here after hiking the Jian de Fuca Trail. Enjoy beautiful gardens, nicely appointed rooms and delicous food. I highly recommend it.

The Prestige Oceanfront Resort is a great mid-price option – and I can vouch for delicious food in their restaurant. Otherwise check out what is called the exceptional Sooke Point Ocean Cottage Resort.

More Vancouver Island hikes you might enjoy

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

Day Hikes Near Victoria: The Coastal Trail in East Sooke Park

 

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 57,000 followers. Her blog: HikeBikeTravel is frequently cited as one of the top travel and outdoor adventure blogs in Canada.

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

This Post Has 31 Comments
  1. What a lovely trail! I love woodsy trails that run a long the water; it’s like having the best of both world. The vegetation is spectacular. I love the color of the swath of wildflowers and the moss covered rocks. Beautiful photos; I feel I hiked the trail myself (without the sweat:)

  2. This is such a beautiful spot, I’m surprised you saw no one for all that time.
    Interesting that there are no charges to visit but you could end up paying US roaming charges. I didn’t realize that it was that close to the US border.

  3. I think this is one of the prettiest and one of my favorite hikes you’ve ever done and shown un. I love all the wildflowers and the scenic ocean views here. Despite the long hike, this looks absolutely worth it (not without the kids though).

  4. Looks like a pretty hike, but then most Canadian hikes do. Must admit I had to look up Victoria on a map, especially when you talked of US roaming charges – I see Sooke is very, very close to Washington. Love learning about new places in this way 🙂

    1. @Sophie It seems that anytime we’re near the US-Canada border we’re more likely to get hit with US roaming charges so it’s worthwhile to pay attention. It can happen on some of the BC Ferries too.

    1. @Jody This hike is so worthwhile and because you can do a loop it doesn’t have to be 10 kms long. In fact you get park at the farm and just walk to the beach – and outing I’m sure your daughter would enjoy.

  5. WoW this looks such a spectacular and stunning hike. I love hiking and would love to do this trail one day.

  6. We spent an awesome long weekend at Point no Point Resort in Sooke one time. Did some hiking, but don’t remember the name of the trails. Although they were good physical hikes, I don’t think they were as challenging as the one you were on. Beautiful area.

    1. @Cathy This particular hike is close to Sooke but at a peninsula across from the main part of town. It was an outstanding hike and a great alternative for those short on time – but for people who wanted to get a west coast experience.

  7. This hike looks like it could really soothe the spirit. It seems so peaceful. I like the moss covered trees, the little island with the trees on it, the colorful sedum and how the trees reach high into the sky. I’ve only done a quick day trip to Vancouver Island. We didn’t get to see this park but your pictures remind me of how beautiful the area is.

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