East Sooke Park is a large nature reserve just outside of Victoria, BC. It’s located on the East Sooke Peninsula and surrounded on three sides by water. The western portion borders the Juan de Fuca Strait while the eastern portion skirts the Sooke Basin. A narrow channel near Wiffen Spit connects the two.
This regional park is located only 40 minutes from downtown Victoria but feels like a world away. It’s a natural paradise with dense forests, undisturbed shorelines and is considered a hiker’s paradise. (The calm water of Sooke Basin is a kayaker’s paradise).
The Coppermine Trail takes about 2 hours to complete (round trip) but people tend to linger and enjoy the coastal views of the Olympic Mountains across the Strait.
Coppermine Trail, East Sooke Park
The trail is wide and well-groomed as it follows an old mining road. As you start out, there is a slight elevation gain as it skirts around Mt. Maguire. Lantern plants fill the water-logged ditches to the side. Shortly after starting, the path hits an important junction. Excellent signs point you in the right direction.
To the left, a trail leads to Anderson Cove through a thick, second-growth forest.
To the right, a steep trail leads up Mt. Maguire for some nice coastal views from up top.
Straight ahead, is the continuation of the Coppermine Trail that leads to the shore.
Continuing straight ahead, the path flattens as your approach a marshy area that’s frequented by mule deer. A bit further ahead, the forest thickens and darkens as you approach the abandoned mine shafts that were once used for ore mining for over 100 years.
Lantern plants grow huge beside the pathway.
An abandoned mine shaft along Coppermine Trail, East Sooke Park, BC
A bit further along, the trail narrows to a typical hiking path as it travels through thick forests, open meadows and beside deep ravines. At one point, a fallen tree blocked the way. As the path continued westward, it drops in elevation eventually reaching sea level. Great coastal views can be enjoyed here and, at low tide, you can beachcomb along the shores of Vancouver Island.
Following the well-groomed path back, the steep incline makes for a very challenging return. This strenuous cardio workout is even more challenging since the thick forest prevents any ocean breezes from cooling hikers down. Bring plenty of water and start your return hike well in advance of the sunset.
Getting There: For driving directions, click here. Continue driving up Coppermine Road, along the bumpy dirt road and park at the top of the hill. The trailhead starts on the right-hand side – not the left-hand side on Gordon Road as I mistook.
East Sooke Park is spectacular natural reserve just outside of Victoria, BC, close to Sooke, BC. It offers treks through the coastal hills of southern Vancouver Island and along the shores of the Juan de Fuca Strait. It’s a nature-lover’s paradise that shows the beauty of the rainforest and the ruggedness of the Canada’s Pacific coast.
It could take weeks to explore all of the hiking trails in this 3500 acre park, but an easy introduction to the park is along an abandoned mining road. The Pike Road hike is along a wide, well-groomed gravel road that meanders through a thick rainforest and leads to the a secluded cove with expansive waters views with the Olympic Mountains of Washington State. It takes only 25 minutes of slow walking to get to the coastal view-point.
Me & my dog on the Pike Road hike in East Sooke, BC.
This hike is actually a leisurely walk through the forest. The flat trail has very little elevation gain and is gentle for most couples with kids or older hiking companions. During the winter months, there may be a few mud puddles which can be circumvented with good hiking shoes. Runners will be sufficient at other times of the year.
As you saunter through the thick rainforest, you’ll be deafened by the numerous bird calls. There are plenty of bird nests in the tall trees near the bog that’s located at the half way mark. I’ve had plenty of high-pitch whistling conversations with the resident avians (and received plenty of odd looks from my fellow hikers).
The trail ends on a pebble beach overlooking Iron Mine Bay, a sheltered cove that’s an oasis for coastal water foul. If you reach this point at low-tide, you can venture out on a rocky outcropping to view the entire Olympic Peninsula of Washington State.
Note: There are clean washroom facilities at both ends of the hike. These come in handy at times!
East Sooke Park on southern Vancouver Island is a quiet coastal paradise with plenty of walking and hiking trails. Located on the East Sooke Peninsula, the park is home to a thick, second-growth rainforest that sweeps down to the rocky shores of the Sooke Basin and the Juan de Fuca Strait. Most people neglect to visit this natural gem even though it’s only 40 minutes from downtown Victoria.
This large wilderness park is approxiamately 3500 acres and is home to eagles, owls, and cougars; seals, sea-lions and whales frequent the local waters off its shores. The park has over 50 kms of hiking trails ranging from expert, wind-swept coastline hikes to easy walking trails. Plenty of exciting coastal views await.
Aylard Farm (Easy Hike)
Easy hiking trail in East Sooke park
The Aylard Farm Trail offers an easy and picturesque pathway to the shores of the Juan de Fuca Strait. A quick 5 minute walk will take to you a white sand beach covered with giant husks of drift wood. Plenty of couples enjoy bonfires and picnics on the beach. Evenings are cool, quiet and secluded.
Follow the signs and walk to the Crekye lookout point and watch the expansive views of cargo ships heading out to the open Pacific Ocean with the magestic Olympic Mountains in the background. Here you’ll be able to watch seals hunt, birds soar and maybe even a humpback whale or orca playing offshore.