Trails in the Juan de Fuca and Sooke area
Broom Hill - Blanchard St Access to Summit
This trail is good for hikers and mountain biking.
Access: From Otter Point Road turn up Burr Rd, then left onto Petemar, right onto Blanchard. Parking is available at the top of Blanchard Street.
Difficulty: Level 3 to 4
Time: numerous trails of approximately 3 hours
The views of the whole Sooke Basin and Strait of Juan de Fuca can be seen. The house of Calhoun Grant and John Muir is visible as the Woodside Farm. This is Ground Zero for the Broom infestation. However, despite the name Broom Hill, there are beautiful fir forests including numerous old growth trees on the south facing slope.
Grassy Lake Trail
Access: The trail is accessed from the Sooke River Road up the abandoned Peden Lake Road. Located just before the yellow gates of the Sooke Pot Holes Provincial Park, the coordinates are [48 25.440N; 123 42.879W].
Difficulty: Level 3 to 4
Time: Round trip is approximately 5 hours
Set aside approximately 5 hours for this trip and be in reasonable shape as it is quite a climb. In the warmer months, bring you bathing suit and swim among the red, white and pink water lilies that populate the lake.
Ironmine/Mt. Maguire trail (East Sooke Park)
This trail is for hikers.
Access: This trail is accessed from the Pike Road trail head in East Sooke Park.
Difficulty: Level 2
Time: 1.5 hours
This is a loop trail. Proceed down the main trail to Iron Mine Bay. This is an easy section suitable for nearly everyone. The forests are remarkable and are an excellent showcase of our West Coast Rain Forest. To continue the loop proceed along the coast trail at Iron Mine Bay for about 100 meters until the sign for the Mt. Maguire Trail is reached. Follow the Mt. Maguire trail uphill and inland and continue the loop in accordance with the trail description. The beginning of the Mt. Maguire trail is quite steep but only for a little while.
King Creek Trail
This trail is ideal for hikers and equestrians. It is one of the few places where sight lines allow horses to canter in safety.
Access: Otter Point Road across from Farmer Road, with parking on the side of the road. This trail is also accessed from from Kemp Lake Road.
Difficulty level 1- 1.5 hours.
Time: 1 to 2 hours.
Important Notes: please ensure water levels on King Creek are passable before crossing.
Matterhorn Trail - Priest Cabin to Matterhorn
Distance: 9 km
Elevation Change: 460M
Difficulty level: 3 out of 5
Timber West has completed logging operations and the trail is open
NOTES on the Matterhorn Trail
The Matterhorn trail is historically used by the public though it is entirely on private land. The Juan de Fuca Electoral Area Parks and Recreation Commission has established a statutory right of way through the private block immediately above the Priest Cabin Park. This right of way extends along the forest road from the yellow gate, across the Power Line to the top of the hill almost to Jacob Creek. At that point the trail enters Timber West Private forest land all the way to the promontory and down to the private block above Eagle Light store.
The Timber West lands have been logged. On request of the Juan de Fuca Community Trails Society, Timber West has agreed to continue to allow the public access to promontory and to preserve a route after active logging has ceased.
Matterhorn from Eagle Light Store on Tieulie Place - This is a moderately difficult level 3 hike. It is best to budget approximately 5 hours and be prepared for a 460 meter climb, although in stages. Wear good boots and dress for the weather. Follow the logging road up the hill, stay to the left. At the second junction take the left hand fork and follow up to the tree line. Find the trail marked with blue paint along a small creek at the edge of logging operations. Follow the trail as marked. This is a very steep ascent to the base of the Matterhorn. The base of the matterhorn is an impressively massive cliff defining the edge of a beautiful creek and valley. Follow the trail around an up the back of the Matterhorn first in a counter clockwise than in a clockwise direction to the top. Be rewarded with panoramic views of the Straits of Juan de Fuca from Race Rocks to Tatooch Island which forms the corner of continental United States. Return by reversing this path. The total round trip distance is 8.0 Km.
Juan de Fuca Rd to the Priest Cabin The turn off is quite steep following an eroding gravel road. After the first climb you will reach a relatively flat part. There is a road cutting in from the right. Do not turn here but continue straight. There are two tracks coming in from the left, stay right following the main track. Eventually it turns sharply uphill to the left. The footing here is precarious as the road bed is washed out and it is all rocks. The elevation change is about 120 Meters over a relatively short distance of 1.1 km. Good views of the Straits of Juan de Fuca and the Olympic Mountains characterize this leg. The Priest Cabin turn off is a washed out road to the right about 50 meters after the hairpin turn. One can take a side trip into Priest Cabin Community Park. The trail is currently quite visible; it takes off at 90 degrees into the tree line. The trail is short but the woods show considerable blow down. The highlight of this Juan De Fuca Electoral Area park is the magnificent view of the Olympic Mountains and the entire Strait of Juan de Fuca. The park takes its name from the remains of a log cabin which was once the summer retreat of a priest.
The Matterhorn Trail continues on the gravel road past the Priest Cabin turn off to a gate and enters into second growth fir, hemlock and cedar forest. Through some quirk of wind & weather these woods show little evidence of blow down The trail follows an old logging for 700 meters reaching the power line at elevation 270M. Cross the power line corridor and the next section is severely washed out, very rocky trail proceeding uphill in a North Easterly direction. It levels out and soon (at 2.6 Km, elevation 320M) you can hear the rush of Jacob's Creek and glimpse the creek at the bottom of an impressive canyon. The woods open out as you come to a junction. Take the overgrown trail to the right and follow this in an Easterly direction for about 1.0.Km. it is relatively flat old logging road, skirting a wetland. On June 2009 some work was done clipping the brush, your clipping would help. This section comes to a tee at a well defined, old logging road. Turn right at the logging road and proceed downhill for about 120 M.
At Milestone 106; N48 24 44.4, W123 56 47.9; elevation 345m), the Matterhorn Trail comes off this road via a sharp hairpin turn to the left. It is now a single track forest trail proceeding north western for a while and then reverting to an easterly direction. This part is the 'Enchanted Forest' and consists mostly of planted second growth fir. The trail winds and dips but soon imposes an increasingly steep ascent. At elevation 420 meters the trail flattens somewhat and proceeds to the Matterhorn turn off at milestone 105 (N48 24 48.4, W123 55 33.4, elevation 467M). The Matterhorn turn off is flagged. Turn right off the main trail and proceed about 153 meters to the Matterhorn promontory (N48 24 44.1 W123 55 31.0, elevation 492 M). The reward is a spectacular view from Race Rocks to Cape Flattery. Spend some time here.
Sandcut Beach Trail
This trail is for hikers.
Access: The trail head is at a parking lot, on Highway 14, approximately 6.4 km past French Beach Provincial Park, and just past the Sandcut Creek bridge. Coordinates are: [48:25.05N; 124:01.00W].
Difficulty: Level 2
Time: Round trip 45 minutes to an hour.
The trail itself is a short walk through a pleasant, mostly spruce and cedar forest. The last stretch is steep, leading to a beautiful cobble beach. There is something here for everyone including a waterfall where Sandcut Creek drops to the beach.
Other Resources on Local Trails
Rural Observer - see the following issues for other information on local trails:
Volume 7 Issue 5 December 2010 - descriptions of the William Simmons Memorial Park with its Panama Rail Trail and a description of the Sun River Nature Trail.
Volume 8 Issue 3 July 2011 - description of a number of trails in the Juan de Fuca/Sooke area