Photo: Ian Tyley Photography

Juan de Fuca Provincial Park

Bucket-list backpacking trail

Camp

A little tougher

Overnight

This Vancouver Island multi-day trekking adventure isn’t for the faint-hearted or anyone on a tight schedule. But, the 47km Juan de Fuca Marine Trail will impress backpackers with its misty waterfront views. The area’s also known for glassy waves that can form at beaches like Sombrio, which lures surfers out past the break.

Juan de Fuca Provincial Park

Juan de Fuca Provincial Park, Capital, BC, Canada

Get Directions

Driving time from Victoria

1.5 hours

Wilderness trail

47km

Hiking trail access points

4

Planning your trek

Hiking the coast of Vancouver Island

Choose your own adventure

One of the great features of the Juan de Fuca Trail is that you can start from either end, working your way north from China Beach to Botanical Beach or vice versa.

 

The difficulty level varies throughout the trail, but they’ve been divided and rated in 10km increments: China Beach to Mystic Beach (easy), Mystic Beach to China Beach (most difficult), China Beach to Sombrio Beach (difficult), Sombrio to Payzant Creek (moderate), followed by Payzant Creek ending at Botanical Beach (easy). Most hikers complete about 10km per day, though it depends on your preference, fitness level and time constraints. Pick up the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail Map to help you plan your journey.

 

There are no designated campsites, and access to Juan de Fuca Provincial Park is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Go with the flow

Tide tables are posted at the beginning of trailheads so be sure to look for them. High tide can wash out parts of the trail, cutting off access to the next stop, which mean you’ll need to time your route with the tides. You’ll also want to make note of the orange balls along the beaches that help confused hikers hop back on the trail. Hope you’re not afraid to get your feet a little dirty – this trek is known to be a muddy one.

 

Meander to Mystic Beach

Mystic Beach is located at the end of a moderate 45-minute hike west of China Beach where you’ll cross a suspension bridge to find a sandy beach and rushing waterfall. Whether you do it before or after your multi-day Juan de Fuca Trail adventure, trekking to this beach is worth the additional jaunt. And considering this rewarding hike is relatively short, Mystic Beach is also an accessible day trip for those looking to experience the Juan de Fuca from Victoria or Sooke.

 

Picnic on a pebble beach

Unlike the other beaches along the Juan de Fuca Trail, French Beach Campground is accessible by vehicle year-round. It has sand and pebble beaches and a wide green lawn perfect for picnicking. And if you spend enough time lingering by these shorelines, the chances are great for spotting otters, sea lions, whales and other marine wildlife.

 

Whether you stay for a day or work your way along the whole route, Leave No Trace tips will keep the area wild for future hikers and campers as well.

Essential Gear

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