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East Sooke Regional Park

East Sooke Regional Park

July 1st, 2005

3.7 miles
510 vertical feet
Total Time: 3:30

Rating: 7/10

Directions: From Victoria, take Highway 1 to Highway 14 towards Sooke. Before you reach Sooke, turn left onto Gillespie Road. Follow it to the T-intersection and turn left onto East Sooke Road. Turn right onto Becher Bay Road (there's a sign here directing you to the park). Follow the road to Aylard Farm, where there's a large parking lot.   View Driving Map

The large parking lot was about 2/3 full when we arrived, and the sun was just beginning to warm things up. There's a bathroom here in case you need it, as well as a map display. The park is actually quite large; we only covered a small part of it on this hike.

Heading down the trail, we passed a small field where someone was flying a kite. A minute later, we were walking down some stairs to the beach. It was a typical beach with driftwood and rocks; we stayed for a few minutes and then headed back up the stairs. At the top of the stairs, we turned left to head onto the Coast Trail.

The Coast Trail winds its way through the edge of the forest, which consists of arbutus, cedar, and Douglas-fir. There's also some small pockets of manzanita. The path is undulating, with a series of small ups and downs.

Checking out the tide pool

Left side of the cove

After somewhere between 1 and 2 kilometers, we stopped just before Alldridge Point for lunch. We found a nice open spot of ground above some coastal rocks, overlooking the ocean about 10 feet below. From here, we could see about a dozen fishing boats just off the coast. After eating, we made our way down to the rocks and were delighted by what we saw. It was low tide, and we could see lots of shellfish attached to the rocks. In the water, we spotted a school of small fish darting about.

Some sort of shellfish

Closer look at the shellfish

Life under water

A big mussel

More shellfish

Plants in the water

Right side of the cove

A school of little fish

Some sort of sucker-like thing in the tide pool

No idea what this is, but it looked cool

Closer look at the fish

Closer still

After exploring for quite some time, we returned to the trail. Shortly, we came to the petroglyphs at Alldridge Point, made by the T'Sou-kes people who lived here for thousands of years. There was very large seal petroglyph clearly visible, though it looks like it could just as easily have been made yesterday by some local artist. Apparently there are other smaller petroglyphs in the area, but we didn't stop to look for them.

Continuing on the Coast Trail, the trail becomes a bit rockier and harder to follow. Just look for the yellow markers which tell you where the trail is. We scrambled up and down, through the forest. From here on, there's no more easy access to the beach. When the trail does get close to the coast, it's usually about 20-30 feet down a steep cliff to get to the water.

The rocky coast

Hikers in front of a small manzanita grove

Eventually, we found our way to some rocks overlooking the ocean, just before Beechey Head. The wind whipped at us as we took a short break. Then we rejoined the trail, taking the trail into the forest to return to the parking lot. If you have the time, you can instead follow the coast a short distance to reach Beechey Head itself, then backtrack to the forest trail.

Onto the forest trail

After all the twists and turns on the rocky coast trail, the forest trail is a walk in the park. It's a wide trail completely under shade of forest. There is one section with a long steady climb, but the entire trip back to he parking lot is much easier than the Coast Trail. In less than an hour from Beechey Head, we were back at the now-full parking lot.

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