Lucky 13: Explore the Sooke area
Sooke News Mirror
Summer is here and it’s time to discover what is on our doorstep and what you can do to get out into the woods, beaches and trails. Can’t think of anything to do? Try some of these activities.
If you are sticking close to home you can:
1. Go play a round at Sooke’s par three golf course - Demamiel Creek on Throup Road in Sooke. It costs $16 for nine holes and on Mondays and Wednesday seniors can play 18 for the price of nine up to 3 p.m.
2. Go camping. Take the kids and head for the French Beach or Juan de Fuca campsites. A party can camp for between $10-$30/ night. Many beaches offer just tenting sites for those who choose to walk in. Check with BC Parks for full details or www.hellobc.com.
3. Explore Port Renfrew. In Port Renfrew there are a number of recreation sites including Fairy Lake, Lizard Lake and the San Juan River. Each of these spots offer camping, hiking and water-related activities. No motor boats are allowed on Fairy and Lizard Lakes.
Check out Avatar Grove for the gnarliest trees around and view the Harris Creek spruce. It’s a short hike to the giant Sitka spruce which is 13 feet in diameter. Driving Directions: From Lake Cowichan head west on S. Shore Road. Turn left onto Pacific Marine Road (signs for Port Renfrew). Drive 28.6km and the site will be on the left with a small sign and parking area.
4. Take the Pacific Marine Circle Route. Take a day or three and explore the area from Victoria to Duncan to Sooke to Port Renfrew. It’s a 255 kilometre trip. This coast to coast journey on Vancouver Island offers panoramic views of the Juan de Fuca, Haro and Georgia straits as well as the Saanich Peninsula. Enjoy a quieter way of life while visiting spectacular provincial parks, pastoral landscapes and wineries.
Please note: This is a remote route with limited services. Some sections may be narrow and sharp, and driving times may vary depending on type of vehicle. Please exercise caution when driving. For information on current road conditions, please visit www.drivebc.ca.
5. Hike some of the best trails on the West Coast. Test your mettle on the West Coast Trail. One of the world’s top wilderness hikes, this week-long, 75-km trek takes you through lush rainforest and along driftwood-strewn beaches on Vancouver Island’s west coast. A challenging trip, the trail rewards with remote beaches, rugged coastal scenery and glimpses of seals, sea lions, eagles and whales.
Numbers are limited on the trail and reservations are recommended. If you’re travelling independently, the West Coast Trail Express Bus can shuttle you to and from the trailheads from Victoria or Nanaimo. Several companies, including Sea to Sky Expeditions and Ecosummer Expeditions offer guided trips.
Prefer a shorter hike? The Juan de Fuca Trail, along Vancouver Island’s southwest coast, has several access points so you can enjoy rugged coastal scenery on a day trip or a multi-day trek.
6. SEAPARC Leisure Centre in Sooke has swimming and fitness programs for all ages. You can swim a lap or two for just $5.75, kids five to 12-years-of-age for $2.90 and seniors and students get in for $4.35, a family can swim for $11.50. Call SEAPARC for more information: 250-642-8000.
7. Raining? Play a game of billiards or pool at one of the establishments in and around Sooke. Buffy’s, the Royal Canadian Legion and the 17 Mile Pub all have tables. Depending on the day it will cost you either nothing or $1 to $1.25 to chalk up your cue. There are also pool leagues in Sooke where you can compete with local pool sharks.
8. Check out the Sooke Region Museum and learn about the fascinating history of the Sooke Region. Friendly staff will point out interesting exhibits. There is usually an art exhibit in the upper gallery.
9. Stinking Fish Studio Tour. Artists in East Sooke and Metchosin open their studio doors to art lovers on a self-guided tour. For a list of studios and participating artists go to: www.stinkingfishstudiotour.com.
10. Hire a fishing guide and go out and catch that salmon or halibut. Rent a kayak or canoe or go kite surfing or even paddle boarding.
11. Hang ten! Get your surfboard and head out to Jordan River, Sombrio or China Beach and get your groove on.
12. Walk, bike or ride your horse along the Galloping Goose trail, which extends from Victoria to Sooke. It’s a 55 kilometre multi-use trail on a former railway line.
13. The Sooke Potholes is a favourite for South Islanders and offers a variety of swimming opportunities. For dunking to floating, it’s popular place to spend a day in the heat of the summer.