If you are visiting Sooke and it doesn’t seem like there is much to do, check out some of the trails, beaches and parks in the region. You will be glad you did.
The Galloping Goose Regional Trail is one of the region’s best known trails and people walk, ride, run and cycle the trail.
The Galloping Goose was originally the route of a railway which was established after the First World War and was used to haul logs and lumber from the timber rich areas on Southern Vancouver Island. The trail is 55 kms long and runs from Victoria to the gold rush area known as Leechtown. It is part of the Trans-Canada “Rails to Trails” system and was dedicated in 1989.
• From Sooke Potholes to Todd Creek Trestle (2.2 km return). Enter from Sooke Potholes parking lot 2.
• Sooke River Road to Charters River Trestle (2 km return). Visit the Charters River Interpretive Centre at 2895 Sooke River Rd.
• Roche Cove to Rocky Point (4.7 km). Take Hwy. 14 to Gillespie Road 2.7 kms to Roche Cove Regional Park.
East Sooke Regional Park:
• Pike Road to Iron Mine Bay (1.5 km one way).
• Aylard Farm to Becher Bay (300 m one way). Hwy. 14 to Gillespie Road, to East Sooke Road, turn east and travel 2 kms to Becher Bay Road, drive 1.6 km to end of Becher Bay Road.
Be prepared when hiking
The weather on the West Coast is mild and temperate but it can change quickly and become wet and cool.
To enjoy what the region has to offer, follow a few common sense rules to enhance your experience.
• Dress in layers
• Wear clothing that stays warm even if damp and dries quickly. Polar fleece is preferable to cotton.
• Think about your footwear. Sturdy hiking shoes or boots are better than sandals.
Be safe when hiking:
• Plan where you are going to go and stick with the plan.
• Keep an eye on the weather and dress accordingly.
• Get trail guides or park brochures for the area you will be hiking in.
• Hike with a friend or a group.
• Stay on designated trails.
• Stay where you are if you get lost.
• Pack a cell phone.
If you drive to your hiking destination, be sure to lock your vehicle and place any valuables in your trunk.
If you plan on hiking for a good portion of the day, consider what you might need. Bring water and snacks, maps, tuck a large orange plastic bag in your pocket which could be useful if you need emergency shelter. Remember sunscreen and any medications you may need.
Beaches & Parks
• East Sooke Regional Park: Day-use, no camping. Offers some serious hiking trails and park offers casual beach picnicking. Well-marked trails, precautions advised. Take a cell phone and a map.
• Roche Cove Park: Seven kms of forested trails and picnic area at secluded beach. Try the Cedar Grove Trail for an invigorating hike.
• Matheson Lake Regional Park: Excellent fishing and swimming, trail encircles the entire lake. Galloping Goose skirts along the north side of the park.
Sooke Potholes: Waterfalls, clear pools perfect for swimming. Picnic areas. Skirts the Galloping Goose Trail. Campground.
• Whiffen Spit Park: A walking trail popular with dog owners. Pit toilet, benches.
• French Beach Provincial Park: with year round campground, barbecue pits, playground for kids. Contains sani-station, pit toilets and fresh water. Contains 69 vehicle accessible campsites located in the forest about 5-10 minutes from the beach.
• China Beach: 30 minute drive from Sooke, pit toilets, day-use park.
• Jordan River: 40 kms northwest of Sooke. Contains a WFP campground.
• Sandcut Beach: located between French Beach Provincial Park and Jordan River.
• Sombrio Beach: Located at approx. km 29 of the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail, can be reached via a 250-metre access trail from the Sombrio Beach Trailhead parking lot off Highway 14. Two wilderness camping areas at Sombrio Beach.
• San Juan Ridge Ecological Reserve: open for non-destructive pursuits like hiking, nature observation and photography.
• Parkinson Creek Trail: located at km 37.6 of the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail
• Botanical Beach in Port Renfrew. Day-use park.
• Mystic Beach at the Juan de Fuca Trailhead. West of Jordan River. Day-use park.
• Juan de Fuca Provincial Park website: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/juan_de_fuca/
Galloping Goose Trail
Juan de Fuca Marine Trail
West Coast Trail