view from creyke point in East Sooke Regional Park

10 Adventurous Things to do in Sooke

On the Southwest side of Vancouver Island, you’ll find the charming coastal city of Sooke. If you’re touring the island you’ll realize quickly how great of a stop Sooke is on your trip, mainly because of the cell-service! Just kidding, this is a beautiful area that offers more than just a spot to check your phone and get groceries. This is an adventure hub that will definitely keep you busy!

For us especially, we stopped in Sooke during our 1-month camper van road-trip of Vancouver Island and felt extremely charmed by this coastal town. To tell you the truth, we found ourselves driving to Sooke from Juan de Fuca after we ran out of groceries and needed to check our phones. We also managed to wash all of our laundry and connect to Wi-Fi to do some work. After spending a few hours in this town, we decided to check out what kinds of adventures we could do while we were there, and boy were we ever excited by what we found.

This small town about 30 minutes outside of Victoria is a great area for outdoor activities. This town is far enough away from the business of the city, giving it a laid-back coastal feel. With tons of activities, good food & some of the best views on Vancouver Island this has made it to one of our favourite stops. Discover some of the top adventurous things to do in Sooke with our guide here!

Top 10 Things to do in Sooke

Explore, hike & swim at Sooke Potholes

view from sooke potholes in sooke BC

The Sooke Potholes are easily one of the most famous attractions in this small town. It might actually be one of the most unique adventures on Vancouver Island. The Sooke Potholes are an extremely popular place-to-be in the summer and we can easily see why!

These potholes at the base of a waterfall are a local hotspot. They were formed over time as erosion from the Sooke River, and have made for a great swimming hole in the summer. The potholes & pools feature ultra-clear waters & are a great place to relax, beat the heat and lounge. Make sure to jump in on a hot, summer day!

If you’re coming from Victoria, take Highway 1 to Highway 14 also known as Sooke Road. It will take you approx. 45 minutes to get to Sooke before you’ll want to turn onto Sooke River Road. After 5KMS, there will be 3 different parking lots which all offer views of the river and canyon. The further you go up the road, the better the beaches and potholes are.

Check out Vancouver Island’s Niagara Falls

There Is no doubt that the waterfalls on the southern end of Vancouver Island are some of the most beautiful in all of BC. This one is no joke! Although there are many beautiful waterfalls in Goldstream Provincial Park, we think that this one deserves the most attention. With its staggering height and unbelievable greenery, this is a must-see.

It almost feels like a different world until you realize it is less than 200m from the highway! I suggest visiting in the Spring where you will find the waterfall rushing and full of life, surrounded by colourful greenery.

In order to park yourself at the correct and most accessible trailhead, listen up. You’ll need to be heading South on Highway 1, and the parking lot is located on a pull-off just past Niagara Creek. From the parking lot, follow the trail to the right and continue to follow the creek bed up to the falls. The walk should only be about 5 minutes max before you hear the falls. Pro tip: continue to walk across the rock wall so that you can stand right in-front of the falls. From here, you can walk across the rocks and score a better view.

Hike East Sooke Regional Park

This coastal park is one of the most beautiful in the region! With stunning views of the Olympic Mountains, rocky shores, large old-growth trees and plenty of mossy greenery, this is one you can’t miss while visiting Sooke. We loved adding this to our road-trip itineraries for an enjoyable walk beside the coast.

We have two options for you to hike through this beautiful, accessible park. Creyke Point is pictured here, and it’s a 1.8KM each way walk through the forest and beside the coast. It should only take you about 20 minutes to complete. With plenty of spots to stop and admire the view, we found something special about the scenic cliffs. Apparently, you can also use these lookouts to spot harbour seals and whales!

Our other option would to be to take the same route to Creyke Point but to continue following the Coastal trail instead of turning back at Creyke Point. There are plenty of other side-paths, including extending your hike to Squeaky Point or Beachy Head. This park is perfect for exploring the coast and finding plenty of views. This is a dog-friendly trail and absolutely accessible for all ages. There are plenty of spots near the parking lot to stop and have lunch at the picnic tables, and there are bathrooms as well.

Go Hiking & Camping at Top 3 Beaches in Juan de Fuca

Juan de Fuca Provincial Park has made it to the top of our list of favourite stops on Vancouver Island, and with beaches like these it’s easy to see why. Just a 20-30 minute drive from Sooke, these beaches need to be on the top of your bucket list too. I’ve compiled our 3 favourite beaches in Juan De Fuca Provincial Park and if that sounds like your kind of adventure, read more about Mystic Beach, Sombrio Beach, and Sandcut Beach!

The hike to Mystic Beach is hands-down our favourite hike in Juan de Fuca Provincial Park, and you’ll definitely see why. It’s a beautifully woven trail through a dense forest, with massive overgrown trees and a mossy forest floor. This hike will take you about 45 minutes to reach the beach and is 2KM each way. You’ll park your car at the China Beach day-use area and turn right towards the signs pointing to the Juan de Fuca parking lot. It will be the first parking lot you see & there are washrooms available here. Check out our full guide to this Epic Island Adventure: Hiking & Camping at Mystic Beach.

sombrio beach girl standing in-front of hidden waterfall

For those of us who love an adventure, you’ll want to add Sombrio Beach to your bucket list. This hidden waterfall actually took us 3 tries to find, so I’m here to give you the instructions so you don’t get lost in the forest like us! This has definitely become a well-known spot but you’ll have to be comfortable exploring off-path and maybe a bit of bushwhacking.

To get here, you’ll follow a rough dirt road to the trailhead and parking lot. It’s about 20 minutes from Port Renfrew and 1 hour from Sooke. The trail itself is an easy walk and mostly downhill. You’ll want to walk towards East Sombrio Beach as it’s the most popular part and leads you to the waterfalls. When you reach the beach, you’ll start walking about 10-15 minutes to your left.

You’ll walk by 2 small creeks coming from the forest to the ocean. Continue to walk past the first, and stop at the second. Follow directly up the creek to lead you to the falls. We wore our boots and they got soaked! As you continue to walk up the creek, you’ll start to hear the roar of the waterfall and see the lush green canyon covered in moss. For more information on how to get here, check out our Epic Island Adventure: Finding Sombrio Beach’s Hidden Waterfall.

The third must-see beach on our list was one of our most fun days we’ve had in the Juan De Fuca Provincial Park. This beach features a rock beach rather than sand, and two 10-15ft waterfalls leading to the ocean. There’s a rope swing by the falls, and plenty of spots to camp, have a fire, or sit down on a log to relax.

To find this beach, you’ll park at the small gravel parking lot and hike for about 15 minutes through the rainforest. The trail itself is extremely charming and easy to navigate. You’ll climb down a few sets of stairs, so be prepared if you’re visiting with children or elderly people. Make sure you look out for the trees – some of them have faces.

When you reach the beach, you’ll want to navigate to the left of the beach to find the 2 waterfalls side-by-side. The best time to visit would be in the Spring so you can see these waterfalls at full force. You can climb behind the falls for an epic adventure, or use the log to help you climb onto the rope-swing nearby. This beach is a favourite of the locals, and I definitely recommend bringing lunch and staying for a while.

Plan a day-trip to visit Port Renfrew

Port Renfrew, named the tall tree capital of Canada, is a very small town that is often used as either a entry or exit point to the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail. The first time we came to this town we had no idea we would lose cell-service and had to do some exploring on our own. It’s a super popular destination for hikers and backpackers, and this coastal town is a must during your visit to Sooke.

The drive up Highway 14 from Sooke to Port Renfrew hugs the coast of the Juan de Fuca Strait and makes for one of our favourite drives in Canada. Make sure you’re prepared for the drive as you’ll lose cell-service and want to make sure you have directions download and a full tank of gas. The views of the Olympic Peninsula are fantastic from this drive.

Start your day trip with a visit to Shirley Delicious, a cute cafe outside of Jordan River. You’ll pick up your breakfast and maybe a couple of pastries before driving into Port Renfrew. The town itself is extremely charming and you should take your time exploring the town a little bit before visiting the Renfrew Pub to fuel your adventures.

The best thing to do in Port Renfrew is easily to visit Botanical Beach and check out the tide pools. You’ll definitely want to prepare your visit by checking the tide time, and I’ve included a link to Tidal Charts for Botanical Beach here. At low tide you will be able to find the tide pools filled with marine life and all sorts of colourful sea creatures.

The next best thing to do on our list of Port Renfrew would be to chase some old-growth big trees! You’ll want to visit Big Lonely Doug, the second largest Douglas fir in Canada. This giant stands alone amount a valley of other logged trees. There’s no explanation as to why this one tree was spared, but it is a symbol to preserve more of these massive trees on Vancouver Island. We’ve come up with a list for you in our blog post on Things you MUST-SEE in Port Renfrew.

Book a Fishing Charter & Catch a Big One!

Sooke is looked at as one of the top salmon fishing destinations in the world! This recommendation is for those who are interested in the excitement of reeling in up to 50 pound salmon or battling with a 200 pound halibut. These two main fish attract salt-water anglers from all over the world, and are fished year round. The halibut are peaking around June and the salmon are in abundance for most of the year.

Fishing here is a great experience with big catches, while simultaneously being protected from large rolling waves in the Juan de Fuca Strait. To top it off, fishing with a view of the Olympic Mountains on a clear day can be the cherry on top. Charters are usually booked as a half day or full day on the water and can get quite busy in the summer.

If you’re not into doing the fishing yourself, I would still recommend buying fresh fish directly from a fisherman that could be found on the pier at the Government docks.

Camp & Surf at Jordan River Campground

Jordan River Campground and day-use area might be one of our favourite spots to hangout close to Sooke. We’ve spent time camping in our camper van here and seriously enjoy this spot. A well-known secret to those who come here often would be that it’s a popular spot for surfing! Not only do we recommend spending time here because it’s beautiful, but surfing Jordan River is a great option for an adventure close to Sooke.

This is 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. 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. It’s close to the highway, but secluded by a crowd of trees. You’ll almost always catch a good sunset from here!

Hike Mount Quimper or Mount Brule

Hiking Mount Quimper is one of the tops trails in the area and a must for outdoor adventurers! When we realized that Mount Quimper was home to one of the last fire lookout towers on the island we knew we wanted to hike it. From the top of this hike you’ll find yourself admiring the views over East Sooke and the Olympic Mountains. This is a 10KM loop trail, and dogs are permitted on-leash. You should plan and prepare for a 3-4 hour day of hiking for this one!

Access to Mount Manuel Quimper starts at the parking area at the end of Harbourview road. This will be right before you reach Sooke if you’re coming from Victoria on Highway 14. The journey to the top starts off on Sooke Mountain trail which is fairly wide and well-maintained, making it a good start to the hike. While the elevation gain is not steep you will gradually climb for the first few kilometres.

With many signs along the way it would be hard to get lost on this one, and before you know it you’ll be climbing a few switchbacks before you reach the top. This is where you’ll find the fire lookout! It’s a great place to relax for a bit, stretch your legs, have a snack and enjoy the views. It would be a fantastic sunset spot too.

If you’re thinking 10KM is too much, I suggest looking at Mount Brule for a shorter and smaller day hike. This hike starts at the same trailhead, but is 6KM instead of 10KM. You’ll still find fantastic views from here with less of a challenge. Either way, these hikes are definitely worth adding to your list of things to do in Sooke!

Go for a walk along the Whiffin Spit

view of the whiffin spit trail facing towards the end of the spit

This is one of the easiest ways to explore the coast while staying in Sooke! Whiffin Spit trail offers a great coastal walk along the shoreline. This long stretch acts as a natural breakwater and extends just over a kilometre into the bay. This walk clocks in at around 2.5KM to the end and back and should take you about an hour.

This trail is a favourite for dog walkers because well-behaved dogs are allowed off-leash! You’ll notice that this is also a great spot for bird watchers and wildlife enthusiasts. There are a lot of seals in this area! The Whiffin Spit provides great views of Sooke and the Olympic Peninsula across the Juan de Fuca Strait.

It’s also important to note that this is a unique spot to visit at low-tide as you’ll have access to many side trails that will lead you down to the beaches. As always, make sure to check tide times and exercise caution.

Visit the Sheringham Point Lighthouse

view of Sheringham lighthouse in sooke bc

Located just off of the highway in Shirley, this Vancouver Island lighthouse is a great place to take in the fresh ocean air & fantastic photo opportunities. Access to this lighthouse is easy! This quick 500M trail is great for a stretch of the legs or even a picnic. If you’d like, you can extend your hike an extra 2KM along the coasts and through the forest to complete a loop back to the parking lot.

This lighthouse was first operational in 1912 and was built due to a large shipwreck accident along the shore. This now-historic structure sits on a rocky outcrop gazing across the Juan de Fuca Strait and towards the Olympic Peninsula. Definitely consider this easy option as you adventure around Sooke & surrounding areas.

Is it Worth it to Visit Sooke?

Absolutely! Sooke is a perfect adventure hub to base yourself out of while exploring the Southwest side of Vancouver Island. We appreciated the mix of easy walking trails and beautiful hikes, along with the accessible coastal beaches close by. It’s incredibly easy to take day-trips around the island from here, and if you’re road-tripping it is a perfect spot to reset.

Make the most out of your time staying in Sooke with our list of outdoor adventures, and you won’t regret it! As always, make sure you respect the outdoors and locals of this area, dispose of your trash properly, and support local businesses.

Please leave a comment and let me know if you’ve been to Sooke or if you’ve enjoyed any of these outdoor adventures listed! I’d love to answer any questions or comments you may have about Sooke. Check out more Vancouver Island adventures:

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