West Coast Trail …but first, the Juan de Fuca Trail!

On this trail there is a lot of women. There is also a lot of mud. So if you like both, this rugged and technical challenge is for you.

Day 1 – 27km China Beach to Sombrio Beach (East)

The Juan de Fuca Trail is a 47km thru hike on the west coast of southern Vancouver Island. Starting from China Beach heading northbound to Botanical Beach, Port Renfrew. It is a strenuous and isolated multi day trek through a scenic area. There is also opportunity for easy to moderate day use along the beaches or in the rainforest.

I caught the West Coast Trail shuttle in Victoria at 6:45am. I was fully intending to take the 2 1/2 hour bus ride to Port Renfrew to the start of the famous West Coast Trail. But I met Katy on the bus. She is hiking the Juan de Fuca Trail so I suddenly decided to get off the bus with her at the Jordan River/China beach trailhead.

The trail winds through the forest most of the day. There are peek-a-boo views through the trees to the sparkling ocean and across the water in the distance is the Olympic Peninsula, USA.

I love hiking through the damp, mossy woods. The trail is soft under my shoes and the air is cool on my skin.

Mid morning I lost Katy when I had to stop on the beach for the park ranger who asked to see my permit.



In my haste and last minute change of plans, I did not consider a permit. The park ranger read my embarrassment and only charged me $20 for the one night I was planning to camp and thankfully let me go without fining me $115. Very kind.

As the day wore on it got hot and I was tiring. It is a tough slog. Mucky, slippery roots, steep ups and downs. Passing by Mystic beach and Bear beach with hikers setting up camp for the night.  I caught up to Katy who had had enough and stopped to set up camp at Chin beach. I carried on another 2 hours to Sombrio beach. As soon as I got there I found the first sandy, flat spot and set up my tent. I was beat, sore and achy. 8 hours of tough hiking. The sun was setting as I watched the surf and ate my dinner. So peaceful.

6 thoughts on “West Coast Trail …but first, the Juan de Fuca Trail!

  1. Ah, the mud….
    Some things never change….
    1999 August walked Jordan R to Port Renfrew over six days w/ Mark 8 and Megan 12.
    As we walked they named it ‘Evil Mud’…and to this day, mud is what they remember of the Juan de Fuca Trail.
    Good on you!
    And thanks for the gorgeous photos…brings back wonderful memories of long ago.


    1. Hi Mary! There has been much maintenance done on the Juan de Fuca over the years. This year it was closed for an extended period and a lot of improvements were made. 20 years ago would have been extremely challenging. What a great family experience and lifelong memories for your kids. “Evil mud” perfect.


  2. Sally so glad you have made this trail walk, in mud, rock, roots, sunshine or clouds and rain. So god for me to revisit these sites when I cannot do them any more. Memories, great!
    Maybe we see each other in Victoria? Soon.


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