Explore hiking trails and secluded beaches and spot Canada’s amazing wildlife, such as whales and bears, at this park in the south of Vancouver Island.
At Juan de Fuca Provincial Park you will find isolated beaches and some awe-inspiring wildlife. Opened in the 1990s, the park covers an area of 3,775 acres (1,528 hectares) and borders the Pacific coastline of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The park looks out over the Olympic Mountains in Washington State, U.S.
A major feature of the park is the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail. This 29-mile (47-kilometer) long hiking trail passes through a forest of cedar trees and along the southwest shore of Vancouver Island. Allow 3-5 days to walk the entire trail. Alternatively, visit the park on a day-trip and take shorter hikes along the beaches and up to lookout points.
The park has four designated trailheads: China Beach, Sombrio Beach, Parkinson Creek and Botanical Beach. Each trailhead has a picnic area. Go to China Beach to enjoy forest trails and an easy walk to a waterfall. Sombrio Beach is popular with surfers and windsurfers. From there, walk to Loss Creek Suspension Bridge to take in panoramic views of the coastline and the Olympic Mountains.
The park is ideal for wildlife spotting. Along the coast, keep an eye out for orcas, gray whales, seals and sea lions. Don’t miss the tidal pools at Botanical Beach where you can see starfish and sea urchins, colorful marine plants and mollusk. Black bears and cougars also inhabit the park, and bear sightings are quite common.
Located on the southwest coast of Vancouver Island, Juan de Fuca Park is 70 miles (113 kilometers) west of downtown Victoria. From May to September a shuttle bus services the park. If you are driving, there is free car parking. Note that you are advised not to leave any valuables in your car. For safety, let someone know your planned route and arriving date.
Juan de Fuca Park is always accessible, but bad weather events can result in trail or beach closures. There are no lifeguards on the beaches. Visit the park’s official website to find information about the current conditions and camping options. Don’t feed the wildlife and especially keep your distance from cougars and black bears.