Guide to Hiking & Camping on Mystic Beach

Mystic Beach is hands-down one of the best hikes on Vancouver Island, and it should definitely be added to your Vancouver Island bucket-list. This beach is most well known for its coastal beach waterfall that flows right into the ocean and is a must-see if you’re visiting Victoria or road-tripping Vancouver Island.

Mystic Beach is located close to Jordan River in the Juan De Fuca Provincial Park. It will take you about 1.5 hours from Victoria and if you’re interested in making it a road-trip you should check out our Jordan River Itinerary! You won’t want to miss this dreamy coastal beach, and make sure you check out the hidden rope-swing and secret caves on the right side.

How to get to Mystic Beach & Parking Information

Girl in a bikini and golden retriever puppy walking towards the waterfall on mystic beach in Juan de fuca park Vancouver Island

When driving to Mystic Beach, you’ll notice that you will lose cell-service and reception so plan accordingly. It is always best to have maps downloaded beforehand along with these instructions. The Mystic Beach trailhead is located just a few kilometres past Jordan River when headed North. It’s about 75KM from Victoria when headed West.

The trailhead that you’re looking for is “China Beach Trail Parking Lot” and there are signs on the road. Try not to confuse this for “China Beach Campground,” which is about 400M back towards Jordan River. When you arrive, you’ll find 2 parking lots. Mystic Beach access will be the first parking lot on the right, and China Beach access is down the road to the left. There are bathrooms available at this trailhead and information posted.

When is the Best Time to Visit Mystic Beach?

The two of us have made the trip to Mystic Beach and Juan de Fuca Provincial Park during 2 seasons. Our best experience has been to visit while the waterfall is pumping fast. You’ll find that the spring & summer is best for this, and that the beach is a lot more enjoyable this time of year.

Another important tip before you head to Mystic Beach would be to check the tide times! You will want to plan your time of arrival according to the tides. We specifically wanted to see the beach with a higher tide, but not too high that we couldn’t reach the waterfall. This meant that we planned our trip to be a few hours after high tide was predicted. The low tide is a bit less impressive, and at high tide the water levels are too high. I’ve included an easy link to tide table predictions here.

Hiking to Mystic Beach

The trail to Mystic Beach is one of our favourite things to do on Vancouver Island. It is a beautiful part of the famous Juan de Fuca Marine trail, and we’re here to talk about the popular day hiking section. The trail to Mystic Beach is a 4.3KM out-and-back trail and should take about 45 minutes each way.

This trail will lead you through a mossy old growth forest, over a cool suspension bridge (about halfway) and then down to the beach. This trail is often muddy, full of roots and very rugged. We’ve traveled this trail both in the Spring and Summer, and you’re more likely to get a dry trail in the summer months. In every season, make sure you are wearing proper footwear. This trail is accessible for all-ages and dogs are allowed on leash.

Waves coming onto the sand at mystic beach with waterfall in the background

This trail is mostly flat and very straightforward. It is well-marked and easy to find your way. You’ll experience plenty of roots, rocks, and sections of the trail where boardwalks and stepping blocks are handy. The trail is mostly covered by the dense trees and forestry so you will be plenty protected from the sun!

Once you reach the end of the trail, you’ll begin to descend a set of stairs that will lead you to the beach. You’ll find the Mystic Beach waterfall to your left, and a rope swing with rock caves to your right. You’ll find plenty of old logs to sit and rest while you relax and watch the waves.

Camping & Backpacking Mystic Beach

One of the best experiences on the Island is to camp directly on Mystic Beach. It can be a beautiful experience waking up next to the waves and the dense coastal forest. You will need to book a permit from BC Parks. The camping fees are $10 a night for adults and $5 a night for children. Here’s a link to registration on BC Parks website. Make sure to hit “backcountry registration,” choose Juan De Fuca as your park and China Beach as your entry/exit point.

It’s important to remember to set up camp above the tide line. There is a sign warning campers to pitch their tents on the right side of the beach only, since the tide comes up too high on the left side. You’ll find plenty of spots on the right, and a lot of washed up driftwood to situate yourself around.

This is one of the best beach camping areas near Victoria and it’s very possible to have a beach fire here as well. Make sure to check if there are any existing fire bans before planning a beach fire. Bring your own firewood to this campsite. You’ll want to arrive early on weekends, as this is a popular spot and it can definitely get busy with fellow campers. To choose the best spot, arrive early!

Cougars & bears are spotted in this area, so it is important to note. You should always make sure to be wildlife smart and come prepared with proper camping gear, and to know how to store your food & personal items properly. Be respectful of this camping gem on Vancouver Island and remember to leave no trace!

Top Places to Stay near Mystic Beach

We love staying in a cozy cabin in Jordan River. We found our stay at the Bonsai Bunkhouse & East Sooke Treehouse in Jordan River/Sooke through AirBnb. I’ve included a link for you to book it yourself because we really enjoyed our stays in the rainforest! A few other options we had considered were the Ferngully Redwood cabin, the Ferngully Grand Fir cabin, and the Jordan River cabin.

couple sitting in-front of a cozy cabin in the rainforest of Juan De fuca provincial park on Vancouver Island British Columbia Canada

In addition to camping directly on the beach, I would also recommend staying at Jordan River Campground or French Beach campground. These are both a drive-in campground with spots for vehicle camping and tent camping. You’ll find spots for RVS, vans, cars, and tents. You’ll notice the clean bathrooms and organized self check-in.

Ford Bronco Sport parked in-front of Jordan River British Columbia Canada

There’s 15 drive-in spots and 7 walk-in spots. It will cost you $10 cash from June-October, and $15 cash from November-May. There are normal parking spots as well if you’re looking to stop and watch the waves while having some lunch in your car. It’s close to the highway, but secluded by a crowd of trees. It’s a fantastic surfing spot and you’ll likely catch a good sunset from here.

Up close of Shirley Delicious cafe in Shirley Vancouver Island

While you’re in the area, make sure to stop at Shirley Delicious for a fantastic coffee, pastry, and sandwich. This cafe is tucked into the woods about 20 minutes away from Sooke, where you’ll find indoor seating and outdoor picnic tables. This is one of our favourite recommendations to share with you, and you’re going to want to tells your friends & family about this one!

Final Thoughts on Mystic Beach

Hiking & camping at Mystic Beach is absolutely one of the top adventures in Juan de Fuca Provincial Park and a MUST-SEE on Vancouver Island! Not only is this part of the island a low-key oasis on the coast of Vancouver Island, it’s also a fantastic getaway from Vancouver or mainland BC.

Make sure you add Mystic Beach to your list of epic adventures on Vancouver Island and a must-stop on your road-trip itinerary. As always, make sure you respect the outdoors and the locals of this area, dispose of your trash properly, and support local businesses. Check out more on Vancouver Island here:

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