Canada: British Columbia
Vancouver Island Hike
Six nights; seven days of hikes on some of British Columbia's finest coastal trails including a portion on the Juan de Fuca trail.
“The views of mountains and coastline are unbeatable. Routes were generally the right length. You know we love it, as this is our second year doing the trip!” Jill J.
Start: Sidney, Beacon Inn, 10:00, day one. Please contact us to arrange alternate plans, if necessary. Optional pickups from Swartz Bay ferry terminal or Victoria (YYJ) airport available upon request; note: YYJ is located in Sidney, ~32km from downtown Victoria!
Finish: Downtown Victoria, 14:00, or Sidney/YYJ/Swartz Bay ferry terminal, 15:00, day seven.
John Dean Provincial Park, ~6km hike; optional afternoon sea kayaking
Start your adventure with a mid-morning pick up in Sidney or Victoria. The activities begin in John Dean Provincial Park where you’ll hike through impressive old growth Douglas Fir and Arbutus forest to the 300m peak of Mt Newton. Enjoy glorious views of the Saanich Peninsula and its deep inlets, scenic farmland, and views of the nearby southern gulf islands. LD (Meal inclusions provided for guided trips only. Self-guided trips include breakfasts only).
Beacon Inn, Sidney
Portland Island, ~6km hike
Start your day with a 30 minute water taxi ride from Sidney to nearby uninhabited Portland Island, part of Gulf Island National Park Reserve. As you hike the somewhat demanding trail, you will be rewarded with rest stops on sandy beaches and a picnic lunch to the sound of the waves. Return to Sidney-by-the-Sea waterfront with time to linger and savour the local artisan galleries and cafes before independent dining at one of many excellent local restaurants. BL
Gowlland Tod Provincial Park, 4km hike + optional kayaking, hiking or cycling available
After breakfast you will shuttle to Gowlland Tod and embark on a hike to secluded McKenzie Bight. Walk through this quiet forest with its impressive trees, deep ravines, and waterfalls leading to a protected bay deep in Saanich Inlet. The afternoon may include a visit to Butchart Gardens, kayaking in a protected inlet, or – as we move on to the West Coast of Vancouver Island – a walking tour of a unique Canadian heritage site complete with old-growth forest, Italian and Japanese gardens and an Edwardian mansion, all to the backdrop of the Juan de Fuca Straight. BD
Arbutus Cove B&B Guesthouse, Sooke; or
Lodge at Weir’s Beach, Metchosin
Metchosin, Matheson Lake to Sooke Basin, 12km hike + options
Today’s hike lets you experience the diversity of this increasingly remote landscape. Beginning at Sooke Basin you will hike past picturesque Roche Cove to Matheson Lake, hidden deep in the forest. The route will lead you to Metchosin, an old farm community where open fields dotted with sheep and horses border the pebbled beaches. If you are looking for more activity, bike rentals can be arranged for cycling on the flat car free Galloping Goose Trail, or guided kayaking trips organized in nearby Sooke Basin. BLD
East Sooke Park, ~8km hike
A scenic 20-minute transfer will take you to East Sooke Park where the trails range from windblown bluffs to protected forest paths, 300 metre high hilltops to open meadows, right on the Juan de Fuca Strait, overlooking the Olympic Mountains. Observe how the ecosystems transition from dry bluffs with gnarly oaks to lush evergreen forest with fern-covered floors. In the afternoon a 60 minute transfer takes you further west for two nights in classic west coast cottages. Explore the trails and beaches at your resort until dinner, prepared from fresh local ingredients, is served on site. BLD
Prestige Oceanfront House, Sooke
Juan de Fuca Trail, ~10km moderate to challenging hike
Following breakfast, a 30 to 40 minute transfer will take you to The Juan de Fuca Trail. You will hike a section of this prominent trail that takes backpackers five days to complete in its entirety! Expect breathtaking vistas of famous beaches and coastal forest with many exciting trail segments along the way. BLD
4km easy hike or optional cycling
Your final stop en route back to civilization will take you along the Sooke River, famous for its unique rock formations and waterfalls which are best viewed from the easy forest trails. Your final hike also leads you into the hills, close to gold mining ghost towns and along salmon filled streams. A final 1-2 hour shuttle takes you back to Victoria or Sidney by 15:00. BL
Note about the route:
Hikes range from easy to fairly demanding. Some very challenging sections of trail exist along the route, but these are optional.
The coast of British Columbia’s Vancouver Island displays an eclectic mix of nature and rich cultural history. This collection of hikes will immerse you in its beauty. This journey takes you, first, to a secluded, protected island off the coast of Vancouver Island. The next day, the trail begins near Sidney, BC, crosses the Saanich Peninsula to Finlayson Arm, continues south to the Juan de Fuca Straight, then west along a coastal route to Sooke Basin. In seven days, you will visit a plethora of interesting and unique places, most of which are only accessible by foot, and are best enjoyed at a walking pace. You will follow fern lined trails through old growth Douglas Fir stands to lakeside picnics and secluded bays. You will hike to exceptional views over the The Juan de Fuca Strait, and visit seven different parks and protected nature areas. The sheer beauty of the rugged coast and the temperate rainforest is enough to leave you awestruck, yet the fun does not stop there: you will also have the opportunity to visit some of Canada's national heritage sites or one of the region's famous gardens and you will be spoiled to fresh west coast cuisine. You will experience a gradual change in both landscape and local culture along the route - but you can count on the consistently welcoming hospitality of charming inns at the end of each day.
Map & Elevations
Click here for the elevation profile
Rent a car in Victoria and explore other parts of Vancouver Island, its bigger than you think!.
Drive to Nanaimo and take a ferry to the Sunshine Coast.
Visit the coastal community of Tofino for a surf or a lesson in stunt kites.
If you are into mountain biking, Vancouver Island is a top notch destination providing many options to suit any rider.
Sidney, Beacon Inn, 10:00, day one. Please contact us to arrange alternate plans, if necessary. Optional pickups from Swartz Bay ferry terminal or Victoria (YYJ) airport available upon request; note: YYJ is located in Sidney, ~32km from downtown Victoria!
Downtown Victoria, 14:00, or Sidney/YYJ/Swartz Bay ferry terminal, 15:00, day seven.
All details and pricing are subject to change without notice. 12% sales tax applies (6% for non-Canadians).
Custom or Private Tours
Want to go but on different dates?
Want to make a change to the itinerary?
We can adapt for you!
Here are some terms:
Bring your friends. We will run most of these trips for you whenever you want, at the advertised price for a group of four or more on a guided trip, or two if it's self-guided! We reserve the right to make changes if the original inns, etc. are already booked.
If you cannot find others, let us advertise the trip for you! Give us a commitment as far in advance as you can. As long as we have the minimum number of guests at the start, the price will be as advertised. The catch is that if it is just two of you and you want a guided trip, you must be willing to pay a 20% premium in the event that others do not join you. The bright side is that, once reserved, you can count on the trip, whether it remains private or becomes a larger group.
Ask for changes to the itinerary.
We are very flexible, and given enough time, can create a new itinerary to match your desires.