Hiking, Walking and Cycling Trails & Parks
Comfort Cove Cottage - East Sooke, Vancouver Island, BC
There's a reason people return year after year to enjoy hiking, walking, and cycling in the East Sooke area. Located on the tip of southern Vancouver Island just 20 minutes southwest of the Victoria city limits, East Sooke offers a spectacular natural playground with extensive trails for people of all fitness levels. Superb views can be seen from coastal trails accessible to hikers, while walkers and cyclists can enjoy the trails in solitude below the towering trees of the rainforest.
View of the island just in front of the private dock at Comfort Cove Cottage
Comfort Cove Cottage is located only minutes from parks and trails. After a day exploring the trails, return to the cottage and your own peaceful & private park-like setting. Prepare a tasty dinner and enjoy a glass of wine while watching darkness descend on the Sooke Basin. At night, sink into the luxurious king bed and watch the rising moon, the canopy of stars, and the twinkling lights of cars on the distant shores. In the morning, a gorgeous sunrise will greet you for another day exploring the trails of East Sooke.
East Sooke Park is a large refuge of approximately 3500 acres located on an ocean peninsula. It’s western edge is open to the wild Pacific Ocean (Juan de Fuca Strait) and has expansive views of the Olympic Mountains in Washington State. 800’ mountains in the middle of the park protect the eastern shores and create the calm waters of the Sooke Basin. The forest is thick with second-growth trees and is home to a large variety of bird life, deer, raccoon, and the occasional black bear and cougar. Various trailheads are 5 – 10 minutes from Comfort Cove Cottage.
EASY DAY HIKES
The beach accessible through the Pike Road entrance at East Sooke Regional Park
One of many beautifully forested hiking trails
Aylard Farm pathway, East Sooke Park
The Galloping Goose Trail, blanketed in crisp, colourful fall leaves
East Sooke Park has many easy hikes that wind through the rainforest and feature exceptional coastal views. The trail at Aylard Farm quickly takes you to a beach lined with the giant husks of driftwood. Follow the trail to Creyke Point and you may see seals hunting, otters playing and eagles soaring on afternoon thermals. This is also a perfect spot for watching ships travelling to Vancouver and Seattle with the Olympic peninsula in the background. This easy hike can be completed in 45 minutes round trip but plan on staying longer to enjoy the sights and sounds near the water.
MODERATE DAY HIKES
The Coppermine Trail is a longer hike that slices through the middle of East Sooke park and ends at the ocean. The trail starts off as a wide, well-groomed road and then narrows to a small path near the coast. At the midpoint, you’ll travel past an abandoned copper mine (hence the name) with two open shafts protruding from the side of a mountain. The trailhead is 5 minutes from the cottage.
The Matheson Lake Trail is also a moderate hike that travels the perimeter of this freshwater lake. The western part of the trail is rough and climbs over rocky surfaces through thick forests. The rock face may be slick when wet. The eastern trail is along the gentle Galloping Goose Trail. A few offshoot trails take you to cliff-top lookouts above the lake. The trailhead is 15 minutes from the cottage.
BEST EXPERT DAY HIKE
Experience the real BC coast along the Coast Trail. This day hike in East Sooke Park will take you on 10 km of undulating coastline just meters above the water's edge. Come prepared for rocky outcrops, steep surge channels and uneven terrain, as well as spectacular wild west coast scenery! See majestic views of the snow-capped Olympic Mountains across the Juan de Fuca Strait.
Length: 10 km; 8 – 10 hours. Directions: Start at Aylard farm and head towards the beach. Turn north (right) along the shoreline and keep going. The trail has excellent signage including yellow, metal signs along rocky outcroppings to mark the best route up rock faces. Travel is not recommended during stormy weather.
Ask someone pick you up at the other end at Pike Road. Hike with a partner and let someone know where you're going. Along the shoreline, cell phone coverage is only available from American providers.
The Pike Road Trail in East Sooke Park is a well-groomed, flat trail that will take to the coast. This wide trail is a gentle walk, although be aware that there are a few muddy sections. It slowly winds through thick second-growth forests before a pebble beach greets you, approximately 1/2 hour from the trailhead. A secluded cove with views of an offshore island and the snow-capped Olympic Mountains can be seen from here. The trail head is 5 minutes from the cottage.
Aylard Farm is also the start of many easy walking trails in East Sooke Park. From the parking lot, head out towards the petroglyphs. The trail is wide and well groomed and has good signage. As you approach the petroglyphs, watch your step as the terrain gets very rocky. Round trip time is about 1.5 hours.
More hikes in the Sooke / southern Vancouver Island area can be found on our Things To Do page.
CYCLING & BIKE TRAILS
Due to the sensitivity of the natural area, bikes are not allowed in East Sooke Park.
However, the Galloping Goose Regional Trail System is a classic Vancouver Island cycling trail. The rail tracks were removed years ago and a well-groomed trail remains. It's a 55 km former rail corridor and takes you from the Sooke Hills to downtown Victoria through thick rainforests and past rocky shores. The section around the Sooke Basin (kilometers 34 – 37) offer exceptional views of the Sooke Basin as it curves and weaves around the many coves. The section between Roche Cove Regional Park and Matheson Lake Regional Park (km 31 – 34) takes you past some of the largest Douglas Fir and Maple trees in the Victoria area. The trailhead is 10 minutes from the cottage.
For the truly adventurous, try the Adrena Line zipline. You'll traverse from tree-top to tree-top at high speed while tethered to a cable run. Adrena Line is 15 minutes away from the cottage at the 17 Mile Pub.
WHEN TO VISIT
Southern Vancouver Island has the mildest climate in Canada. The best time to enjoy the outdoors is April to October when sunny days are abundant and the trails are usually dry. Mornings can sometimes start off cool and misty, but quickly clear as the sun rises.
From November to March, the rainy season is upon the west coast. The temperatures are warm (up to +12 C) but the days are typically rainy. Hiking is still possible but caution should be exercised. Hiking trails will be muddy and slippery and falling branches pose a hazard. The Galloping Goose Trail tends to be in good condition but will still be wet & occasionally muddy. Snow is rare and doesn't last long.
Cyclists should be cautious as there are many blind curves small, winding roads with no shoulders. Wear bright, reflective clothing and have front & back lights on your bike to make yourself more visible. Remember, night falls quickly in our thick rainforests.
East Sooke Park is a large and natural refuge. Watch for tripping hazards along the trails, slippery rocks along the shore and sharp drop-offs along surge channels. Good hiking boots are a necessity for hiking trails.
On the other hand, the gentle walking trails in East Sooke pose very little hazard to walkers. Running shoes are more than adequate but still watch your step to avoid spraining your ankle. Caution should be exercised during windy periods due to falling branches.
Bring a flashlight just in case. Once the sun sets, the forests get dark very quickly. Plan your hikes so that you finish before the sun goes down. Leave yourself a little extra time.
Dogs should be kept on leash to avoid contact with wild animals.
Ready to plan your trip to Sooke? Contact us for availability and rates!