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