“One of the premier coastal runs and backpacking routes on Southern Vancouver Island.”
— Tony Redford
Birding · Cave · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Spring · Swimming · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife
The Juan de Fuca Marine Trail is found on the southwest of Vancouver Island, and offers beautiful coastal running and opportunities for viewing a large variety of wildlife from the Pacific Northwest. The Juan de Fuca Marine Trail is designed for thru-hiking from either the Botanical Beach Trailhead or the China Beach Trailhead, but there are also a few other trailheads along the length of the trail to open up the possibility for day outings of varying length.
Need to Know
Backcountry camping permits are required to camp overnight at all campsites along the trail. Cost: $10 per adult per night and $5 per child per night. Self-registration envelopes are located at both the east and west trailheads or you can purchase your backcountry permits online at the BC Parks website.
The trail is run relatively frequently. Pay attention to tides, though there is an overland option for most of the cut-offs (not Bear Beach though).
There are four trailheads to the Juan de Fuca Trail: China Beach, Sombrio Beach, Parkinson Creek, and Botanical Beach. At the east end of the park, you’ll find the China Beach campground and the China Beach day-use area, which have paved vehicle access. The campground is located in a forested area about 1 km east of the China Beach day-use area and the Juan de Fuca East Trailhead. Trails connect the campground to China Beach and the adjacent smaller Second Beach.
Botanical Beach is at the western terminus of the Juan de Fuca Trail, and offers some of the largest marine biodiversity along the coast of Vancouver Island. This area also has unique rock formations composed of many types of sedimentary and volcanic rocks and minerals. Tide pools are abundant on the beaches found along the trail, and a wide variety of sea creatures can be observed, often easiest at low tide.
There are six established campsites along the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail. All sites have pit toilets, food caches, and a water source. A permit is required to camp overnight. The sites include Payment Creek, Little Kuitshe Creek, Sombrio Beach, Chin Beach, Bear Beach and Mystic Beach. The most difficult section is the Chin Beach to Bear Beach section.
If backpacking, the full trail usually takes between 3 and 5 days, although some run the trail in a single day. There are no services on the trail, so runners should be prepared for typical backcountry travel and camping. Backcountry passes are required for all of the campsites along the trail.
A private company (West Coast Trail Express) runs a shuttle that offers transport between the trailheads and between the trail and Nanaimo or Victoria. Tickets can be purchased on their website
More information can be found here
Flora & Fauna
Wildlife encountered may include deer, mink, black bears, humming birds, sea otters, harbour seals, Steller sea lions, whales and many others. Wildflowers include paintbrush, lupine, salal, columbine, dogwood and a wide variety more.