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

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

If you’re looking for day hikes near Victoria then a standout one is the 10 kilometre Coastal Trail in East Sooke Regional Park. The trailhead is only about 45 minutes from downtown Victoria. What you get on this hike is spectacular and rugged coastal scenery, numerous pocket beaches perfect for exploring, tide pools, temperate rainforest filled with moss covered trees, massive fir trees, windswept pine trees, swaths of wildflowers and loads of  solitude. In fact I didn’t see a soul for the first 90 minutes on a Sunday morning.

"The start of the trail at Pike Road"

The start of the trail at Pike Road

It’s 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. It’s nothing but continuous ups and downs – and one where you need to watch your footing. 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"

Giant stumps can still be seen

"The first glimpse of the beach at Iron Mine Bay"

The first glimpse of the beach at Iron Mine Bay

"Pocket Beach in Iron Mine Bay"

Pocket Beach in Iron Mine Bay

How to Organize the Coastal Hike

Ideally the hike is a one way affair. If you have two cars or someone who can shuttle you park at either end of the trail – Pike Road at the northern end 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. That’s probably not a full 10 kilometres but that loop 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"

Wildflowers are springing up

"Barnacle covered rocks and sea grass"

Barnacle covered rocks and sea grass

"Looking north up the coast"

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

"Pocket cove"

One of the many pocket coves you hike by

"Monster sized tree in the rainforest"

I wonder what the age difference is

In theory you can do this hike at any time of the year though in spring with fresh flowers emerging it’s particularly lovely. Avoid the hike turning high wind storms when the groaning trees are sure to unnerve you.

It’s open from sunrise to sunset – and no overnight camping is allowed.

"Swaths of wildflowers'

Swaths of wildflowers

"Beautiful moss covered rocks"

Beautiful moss covered rocks

"Wine swept pine trees and a rocky shoreline "

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"

The final easy section through the forest

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

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

Leigh McAdam

 

Leigh McAdam

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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