East Sookes coast trail is considered one
of the premier day hikes in Canada, a west coast wilderness experience
within easy reach of the city. The 10 kilometer trail is rough and
winding, a challenging 6 hour trip even for experienced hikers.
One moment you travel across a bluff of windswept pines, the ocean
crashing at you feet. Next you enter a dark rainforest at the end
of a ravine. Turn a corner and youre back in sunlight, at
the edge of the sea.
Begin your hike at Pike Road, and take the trail
to Iron Mine Bay. The forest is thick with Douglas fir, Western
Hemlock, and closer to shore, Sitka Spruce. The route to the small,
horseshoe- shaped bay is lush with mosses, ferns, and shrubs like
fruit bearing Salmonberry. Heading east along the Coast Trail, you
pass sharp cliffs where Pelagic Cormorants roost. Watch them swoop
and dive for food, then fly back to their rocky homes. Later, stop
at Cabin Point where a small trap shack is testimony to a fishing
As you travel the trail look for plants as old
as time - Kinnikinnik, Oregon Grape, and Salal- surviving despite
the hard wind and salt spray. Continue east to Beechy Head. Here
the wild and beautiful coastline is marked by jagged bluffs, a reminder
of the ageless struggle between land and sea.
Feel the presence of the Coast Salish people
at Alldridge Point, designated as a Provincial Heritage Site in
1927. Here youll see petroglyphs bruised into the rock, a
style particular to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Near the end of
the Coast Trail is Creyke Point, a rocky headland of unusual shapes
against emerald green water.
Your hike ends at Aylard Farm. A heritage
apple orchard is all that remains of the last settlement. Where
livestock once grazed, meadows are now sweet with Clover, Wild Rose,
and Blue-eyed Grass. At dusk, Columbian Black-tailed Deer wander
in from the surrounding forest to feed.