It’s been way too long since I posted about parks in Sooke. My wife’s sister is in town for a few day and we took advantage of the great weather we’ve been having lately for an excursion out to China Beach. Located at the trailhead of the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail just a few kilometres west of Jordan River, China beach is a bit of a hike from the parking lot, but is well worth it!
After parking in the large parking lot, a 10-or-so minute walk through the towering cedar, spruce, and hemlock trees brings you down to the beach. The beach starts out as rocky with lots of driftwood and logs washed up on the shore, and leads down to fine sand and shells. It’s a huge beach so there is plenty of room for you and your group, even when it’s busy, like it was on Sunday when I went.
Take in the amazing view of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Olympic Mountains, and listen to the waves crashing on shore. Sometimes the waves are great for surfing and you will often see wetsuit-clad surfers trekking down to the beach with their boards in tow.
When you get to the beach, if you turn right, you can walk over to the edge of the beach and explore the cliffs that rise up to the forest above. You may also be able to find some shelter from the stiff westerly breeze which is often present. Walk to your left and you can stroll the beach for about a kilometre or so. China Creek empties on to the beach into the ocean just a few metres from the entrance to the beach, and Second Creek – a little larger – is further down. As you get closer to Second Creek, the beach becomes punctuated with large boulders and rocks which make for interesting tide pools when the water is low. Further past Second Creek is Second Beach, a smaller crescent of sand waiting to be explored.
It will take you about 30 minutes to drive to China Beach from Sooke to the Juan de Fuca Trailhead. It’s an easy day trip as long as you can manage the 10-15 minute walk down to the beach (or the climb back up!). At the park, there is plenty of parking for both large and small vehicles. Parking in provincial parks is once again free so you don’t have to worry about that. At the top of the trail there are pit toilets (outhouses). I would recommend using these, as the ones at the bottom of the path before the beach are either closed permanently (women’s) or in such poor condition that they should be closed (men’s).
Check out more pictures below!
So, take advantage of this great weather lately and get out there! Why not send some pictures to me or post them on the What The Sooke?! Facebook page?
Do you have any other favourite parks that I should profile? Any special beaches you care to share?