Discover the Best of Sooke

Sooke is a district municipality situated on the southern tip of Vancouver Island and considered the westernmost community of the Greater Victoria region. It offers visitors and residents alike an authentic west coast experience with its rugged rainforests and unspoiled beaches.

A Bit of History

For hundreds of years, the T’Sou-ke First Nation was a thriving settlement. Then in 1790 Spanish explorer Manuel Quimper “discovered” this coastal hidden treasure. The name T’Sou-ke is said to derive from a stickleback fish found at the mouth of the Sooke River.

Top things to see and do in Sooke

 

The best of Sooke. Discover the top things to see and do while in Sooke.

Sooke Potholes

The “potholes” are a series of deep, polished rock pools that are carved naturally into the bedrock of the Sooke River. They offer some of the best freshwater swimming in the region.

Glacial action during the last ice age 15,000 years ago is responsible for the formations. Moving, melting ice packs stripped the surface area and carved a path deep into the natural bedrock. The rushing river that followed carried along huge boulders which became lodged against the canyon walls, consequently carving out the potholes that can be seen today.

The Sooke River is the second largest on southern Vancouver Island and home to a salmon run every fall.

Getting There

Coming from Victoria, take exit 14 towards Langford/Sooke.

  • Merge onto Millstream Rd/Veterans Memorial Pkwy/BC-14 W (signs for Peatt Road)
  • Continue to follow Veterans Memorial Pkwy/BC-14 W
  • Turn right onto Juan De Fuca Hwy/Sooke Rd/BC-14 W
  • After approximately 20 km, turn right onto Sooke River Rd
  • Continue to follow this road until you reach the potholes

Camping at the Sooke Potholes

For those that wish to stay at this location longer (I wouldn’t blame you), there is a private campground at the end of Sooke River Road.

The Spring Salmon Place (KWL-UCHUN) Campground operates seasonally each summer on a first-come, first-served basis. There are no online or phone reservations.

  • Open to September 18, 2017

The 67-site RV and tent campground is located at the north end of Sooke Potholes Regional Park and adjacent to the Galloping Goose Regional Trail. The campground is a local favourite on Vancouver Island and offers a high quality, self-contained wilderness camping experience.

Services provided:

  • Some riverfront views
  • Public garbage bins, food scraps bins and recycle bins
  • Toilets
  • Drinking water station
  • Picnic areas
  • Individual fire rings, firewood for sale (except in case of fire ban)
  • Caretaker on site

The campground does not provide hydro, dumping station or showers.

Cellular phone service is limited.

The best of Sooke. Discover the top things to see and do while in Sooke.

The Beach at Aylard Farm

East Sooke Park

Encompassing 1422 hectares of natural and protected coastal landscape, East Sooke Park is the largest in the Capital Regional District. There are over 50 km’s of trail systems within the park, including the challenging Coast Trail.

There are three entry points to East Sooke Park.

Aylard Farm

Aylard Farm is popular with picnickers, and those looking for easy excursions. A 5-minute walk through an open field leads to a beautiful pocket beach. There are a few others trails that head inland to hilltop views, or along the rugged Coast Trail.

Getting There

Follow the Trans-Canada Highway from Victoria, and take exit 14 towards Langford/Sooke.

  • Merge onto Millstream Rd/Veterans Memorial Pkwy/BC-14 W (signs for Peatt Road)
  • Turn right onto Juan De Fuca Hwy/Sooke Rd/BC-14 W
  • Left on Gillespie Road
  • Turn left on East Sooke Road
  • Right on Becher Bay Road and follow until the end

Anderson Cove

Anderson Cove, on the Sooke Basin, is the starting point for hikers heading to Babbington Hill, and Mount Maguire. The trails to these hilltops are steep with uneven terrain, but totally worth it! Frequent sightings of Bald Eagles, Turkey Vultures, and Red-tailed Hawks are seen at the top where you also enjoy sweeping views of the Olympic Peninsula.

Getting There

Follow the directions above to Gillespie Road, but turn right on East Sooke Road (instead of left) to reach the park entrance, located on the left.

 

Pike Road

Pike Road is the most westerly access to the park and to the Coast Trail. An old logging road winds through the forest to a meadow, and then eventually down to a beautiful beach. At low tide, look for Periwinkles, Goose Neck Barnacles, and Purple Sea Stars.

Getting There

Follow the directions above to Gillespie Road. Turn right on East Sooke Road and continue past Anderson Cove. Turn left on Pike Road to reach the park entrance.

The best of Sooke. Discover the top things to see and do while in Sooke.

Whiffin Spit

Whiffin Spit Beach, part of Quimper Park, is a naturally formed spit that has been reinforced and well-maintained to allow for public access. On one side of the Spit you will find the protected waters of the Sooke Basin, and to the other side, the open waters of the Juan de Fuca Strait.

A leisurely 30-minute walk takes you to the end of the spit, where you can enjoy the surrounding scenery. There are several benches situated along the path offering the perfect opportunity to sit back and take-in the natural beauty of Vancouver Island’s south-west coastline.

Getting There

Whiffin Spit is located at the very end of Whiffin Spit Road (located off of Hwy 14)

The best of Sooke. Discover the top things to see and do while in Sooke.

Sooke Attractions

Sooke Region Museum

Within the museum’s exhibit galleries you will view:

  • Highlights of the region’s pioneer and First Nation’s history and culture
  • Artifacts, historic photographs, dioramas, displays and scale models
  • Fine items of clothing from the 18 century
  • Weavings, quiltings and carvings
  • Displays of exploration, natural history, early schools, churches, farming, forestry, mining, and harvesting the bounty from the sea

Located on the corner of Sooke Road and Phillips Road.

Adrena LINE

For an exhilarating adventure, check out Adrena LINE. Soar above the treetops and gain insight into the wildlife, history, and natural beauty of Sooke.

  • There are a total of eight ziplines, ranging from 150ft/45m to 1000ft/305m
  • You will cross two suspension bridges as you span the forest canopy
  • A fun 10 minute Unimog ride up to the top of the zipline course is included in your adventure
  • The tour duration is approximately 2 hours
  • All tours are fully guided by professionally trained staff

Sooke Whale Watching

Let the informative staff of Sooke Whale Watching take you on an exhilarating West Coast marine adventure. After your two to three-hour tour, you will be left with a deeper appreciation of our ocean.

The Juan de Fuca and Haro Straits are home to three resident orca (killer whale) pods, with a total of 78 killer whales. There are also opportunities to see Humpbacks, Gray and Minke whales.

During peak months, the success rate for sightings whales is 96%.

Accommodation Recommendations

Luxury Accommodations

Sooke Harbour House – The Sooke Harbour House is one of Canada’s leading resorts. Although a little more pricey, the attention to detail at this fine resort is second to none. Each charming room features its own individual decor and offers fabulous views.

Mid-Range

Prestige Oceanfront Resort – Rising above the Pacific Ocean, this waterfront resort offers breathtaking views of Sooke Harbour, Sooke Basin, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Olympic Mountains. Conveniently located near all of Sooke’s unique local attractions.

For a comprehensive list of all the accommodations found in Sooke, click here.


What are your favourite places to explore while in Sooke?

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The best of Sooke. Discover the top things to see and do while in Sooke.
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About the Author

on Aug 24, 2017

Comments (5)

  • Tanya Rust

    We enjoyed a tour/visit to Saltwest Naturals and Tugwell Creek Bee Farm and Meadery as well as Botanical Beach and Mystic Beach. Spoke is a great place to stay while exploring the south west coast.

    • Kim

      Sounds wonderful, Tayna! We visited both Botanical Beach and Mystic Beach too (plus a few others) while out that way…those ones will be in a future post about Juan de Fuca Park.

  • Kelly

    We love Sooke and all it has to offer! We find this quaint little town so charming, and the Pot Holes are a must! If your hungry check out the Fish Trap for some awesome Halibut and chips!

    • Kim

      Oooh, we will have to check out that fish and chip place the next time.

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