The west coast of Vancouver Island has many places to hike, seriously or casually, including parks and beaches in the Sooke area. A couple of quiet days at the bed and breakfast gave us the opportunities to re-visit some of these places.
Just east of Sooke is Metchosin, a pleasant and quiet area of farms and scattered houses near the coast. Our goal was Witty’s Lagoon.
We recommend checking the tide tables first since low tide opens up an expanse of sand, rare to this area, great for a sandy walk. We had no choice and arrived as the tide reached its high point. Being a rare (such is 2011) sunny Sunday afternoon the strip of stony sand was fairly crowded but this need not be so most days. Watch for the rich birdlife and locate the Sitting Lady Falls.
Closer to Sooke is Sooke Potholes reached along Sooke River Road. Drive about 4km and use parking lot 1. To your left is a ravine with deep sinkholes all carved by the river. It’s a popular swimming spot but I can’t help thinking that a sheltered river must be chilly. We saw an adventurous boy, maybe 12 years old, jumping from a promontory of some 50′ height.
You can not really hike along Sooke Potholes but to the right of the road is the Galloping Goose Trail. An old railway track, it runs for 55km from Victoria to north of Sooke and is now popular for hiking and biking (four of our guests are there this afternoon). I must do a separate post of this one day.
South of here is the distinctively separated area of East Sooke: farms, waterview houses and a great park, East Sooke Regional Park. We have maps for our guests and suggest the Aylands Farm access point for great hikes along the shore and inland. To me it’s everything a west coast trail should be and in easy access of Victoria.
Our last recent visit for taking a hike at Sooke, though merely, a stroll, was Whiffen Spit, just west of the centre of Sooke (a town which warrants just two sets of traffic lights). Within 30 minutes you can saunter to a lighthouse with the Sooke Basin on your left and the Juan de Fuca Strait on your right. I do not rate it as highly as the places mentioned above but each have their own character and you can “do” Whiffen Spit within an hour but can takes hours hiking at East Sooke Regional Park.