West Coast 3 - 4 Day Hike
Day 1 - Metchosin: Beach and Farm Country
Sart your route at Hatley Castle National Historic Site, a picturesque Edwardian estates with beautiful gardens surrounded by 250-year-old trees. This is the location of Royal Roads University, set against a spectacular backdrop of the Juan de Fuca Strait and Olympic Peninsula Mountain range.
Follows the shoreline over sandy beaches, through rural neighbourhoods, past a waterfall and lagoon in a protected park to the charming and quirky farming community of Metchosin.
Day 2 – Past Bays and Lakes to Sooke Basin
Today, you can follow the easy route on the Galloping Goose Regional Trail - also ideal for cycling - or go off-the-beaten track here and there to experience the more remote areas.
Our maps tell how to access the historic ‘Bardie Knockie Trail”, leading through open forest to a small observatory maintained by the Lester B. Pearson International College of the Pacific. Pause to absorb the view over endless forest and hills. If you like, stop at a marina offers fresh coffee and snacks on your way to Matheson Lake, which beckons swimmers on a hot day. Continue your walk on "the Goose" or venture deeper into the rugged landscape on trails only locals know.
Once arrived at the deep green waters of Roche Cove, you are near your destination, Sooke Basin where you can stay at Arbutus Cove Guesthouse, located directly on the trail. A last lag by bus or another hour on foot will take you into the community of Sooke, with many accommodation options.
Day 3 - Sooke River Park, "the Potholes"
Venture inland to get a taste of the island's hills and mountain ranges beyond. Your hike takes you to the famous Sooke Potholes - rock formation that vary from dramatic waterfalls to peaceful swimming holes. Stop at a Salmon interpretive centre along the way.
This route is ideal for cyclists who can follow it to the location of a former gold-mining town-turned-ghost town.
Return by taxi or on foot, if you are up to a longer easy walk.
What to ExpectDaily Walking Distances: 12 – 15 km. Ambitious hikers can add trail detours for a distance of 20 km each day.
Terrain: From beach walking to hilly trails. Includes level, paved trails, unpaved footpaths as well as short distances on country roads with little traffic. Optional steeper hills and rugged paths.
Start: Hatley Park and Castle National Historic Site in Colwood. It is also the location of Royal Roads University. Look for the university on maps.
How to get there:Bus: Use the BC Transit trip planner to determine the best route from your starting point.
Simply enter your starting point, e.g. a hotel, ferry terminal, airport etc., and 'Royal Roads University'. Tip: If there is a wait at the 'Juan de Fuca Exchange', you can walk from there on the Galloping Goose Regional Trail, adding 30 minutes to your walking day.
Taxi: There are numerous taxi companies. Expect a cost of approx. $45 from Victoria. This website helps anticipate cost: www.taxifarefinder.com
Walking from Victoria: The distance is 14 km from downtown Victoria. This is a great option if you like some urban trekking for your first day.
Follow the E&N Trail then the Galloping Goose Regional Trail, or take the Galloping Goose Trail all the way. We prefer the E&N Trail, as it is quieter with much less construction and highway traffic. There is excellent signage along the way. See pointers on maps below.
Lunch along the way: stop at the 4-Mile House Restaurant. Dinner? Stop at the 6-Mile House Pub and Restaurant. You can find these and other options on google maps and get to know some local history along the way!
Stay at Royal Roads University in a private room with ensuite bathroom for an economy stay at a historic location; or consider Birds of a Feather B&B; you can ask for a more economical 'hiker's room' for a one night stay. Note that there are no restaurants nearby, though you have use of a BBQ and kitchen.
Other options include Airbnb or a new Holiday Inn in Colwood.
How to get back after your hike:
If you end your hike at Sooke River Park, you will need a taxi to return to Sooke or Sooke Road at ~$30, or walk back an additional ~10 km.
From several points along Sooke Road you can take a direct bus into Victoria or connect to the airport or ferry terminals. Again, please use the BC Transit trip planner to find times and locations.
East Sooke Park - optional added day
Though transportation is either an early bus or a costly taxi ride, you won't regret the effort to get to this spectacular 1400-hectare coastal park.
Hike over dramatic coastal bluffs and inland forests, optionally climb a 400-metre hill for unforgettable views. Trails range from shorter hikes with lots of time for photo taking and some beach time to a very challenging 7-hour hike on the coastal trail.
For your reference, obtain maps for the regional trail system at Tourism Victoria or online. These will help you get to the starting point and orient yourself along the way.