Hiking the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail
Canada › Juan de Fuca Marine Trail
Added by Rachel Kristensen
The Juan de Fuca Trail is a 47km marine trail that starts at multiple areas (China Beach or Botanical Beach being 2 of the popular). Starting at Botanical is about a 3 day trek to the other end of this 1-way route. Plenty of chances to see wildlife, from bears to whales. Dense rainforests and changing eco-systems along this west coast hike. Duration: Multiple days.
This is no walk on the beach. There are many ascents and descents that range from not so steep to hold on for your life as the mud cliff crumbles steep. You might think 200m of elevation gain isn't much, but it is a constant ascend and descend trail in the moderate-difficult sections.
A high level of fitness and experience is required because if you hurt yourself, it’s a hard walk to get out of the trail, sometimes 10km of walking through mud and forests with no cell reception to call for help.
Beach walking is possible in a few 1-2km stretches, but keep an eye on tide forecasts.
We backpacked and hiked the trail, while some people packed in surfboards to surf the Pacific swells in the evenings. Our highlight was just chilling in the evening, resting our weary feet and watching the campfire burn.
If you're going, note that even if the weather has been beautiful for weeks, it is constantly muddy on these trails. The rainforest climate of the Pacific Northwest coast means the weather can change in an instant as well.
Always set up camp on high ground, know your tide changes, and understand the distances from one camp to the next. Be sure to pay for parking and get your camping permit at the same time at any of the trailheads.
On the drive back to Victoria BC, stop in Sooke at the 17 Mile House. Amazing carbs and beer after a long hike and sometimes music bingo!
Before you go, google and print a Juan de Fuca Marine Trail Map (found on the BC Parks Website).
- Gaiters, don’t go without them
- Proper rain gear
- Sleeping Bag
- Sleeping Pad
- Mosquito repellent
- Bear Spray
- A bear vault for your food
- Good hiking clothes and shoes
- Camera - make sure your camera works in low light of the dense forest
The trail is dead simple to follow but be warned there are no places to refuel on electricity, snacks, or to make a phone call. So plan accordingly.
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More
Backpacking, Camping, Chillin, Hiking, Photography, Surfing
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I highly recommend this hike! Gorgeous views at every turn. My boyfriend and I hiked it in 4 days/ 3 nights. Longest day was 17 km (1st day) then 12, 12, and 9 out. We made it to every campsite before 2pm so had all afternoon to set up camp, filter water, and enjoy dinner Ocean side while watching seals play in the waves. We packed lightish, our bags each weighed 30lbs. Would 100% do it again.
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