Hiking in East Sooke Park - Aylard Farm

Difficulty: Short and easy. It's more of a walk than a hike.

White sand and drift wood
The white sand beach at Aylard Farm, East Sooke Park.

East Sooke Park is a hiker's paradise located just outside of Victoria, BC and only 10 minutes from Madrona Cottage. This 3500 acre park has over 50 kilometers of trails that range from challenging coastal hikes to easy walks through the rainforest.

The Aylard Farm Trail is an easy hike that meanders through an old apple orchard and an open farmer's field and leads to a sandy pocket beach. It takes only 10 minutes to get to the shore where you can enjoy a picnic on the white sand beach amongst huge driftwood husks. This is a family-friendly area, and toilet & sheltered picnic facilities are available. To reserve the picnic shelter for large gatherings, call the Capital Regional District Parks at 250-478-3344.

After enjoying a break at the beach, take a side trip to the Creyke Point outcrop which overlooks Becher Bay and the Juan de Fuca Strait. This is one of our favourite view points! You can often see seal, otter, and eagle and even if you don't, the scenery is beautiful. The trail meanders through the second-growth forest that includes Douglas Firs, Hemlock and Arbutus trees that are over 100 years old. The path is well groomed with rock-shale. Walking up to the rocky lookout can be a bit slippery when wet, but running shoes are usually adequate (still, hiking shoes are great if you have them). This easy hike will take about 40 minutes if you go slowly and enjoy the views.

Aylard Farm Entrance
A welcoming entrance to Aylard Farm in East Sooke Park.

A coastal walk to Creyke Point.
An easy walk along the coast to Creyke Point and spectacular views.

We've seen eagles, herons, geese and many other birds in this sheltered coastal area. Seals can be spotted off the coast and river otters can be seen on the rocky shores when the park is less crowded. This is a popular day-hike and picnic area for the locals and the beach area can be crowded, especially in the afternoons. We find it most peaceful in the early mornings and early evenings when the crowds have dissipated. It's during these quieter times that we tend to see more wildlife. Once, we unknowingly walked beneath a roosting eagle only to be startled by the loud flap of its wings as it took to flight!

How to Get to Aylard Farm (from Madrona Cottage)

East Sooke Park has three parking lots at Pike Road, Anderson Cove and Aylard Farm. The Aylard Farm parking lot is the furthest from the cottage and is about 10 minutes away.

  1. Turn left onto East Sooke Road (towards town).
  2. Go straight through the T-intersection past Gillespie Road (past Bill's Food 'n Feed).
  3. After about 5 minutes on the windy roads, turn right on Becher Bay Road (you've gone too far if you enter the Becher Bay Reserve).
  4. Follow Becher Bay Road as it narrows. At the end you'll find the large parking lot for Aylard Farm.

Notes

  • The park is home to wildlife including raccoons, squirrels, deer, many types of birds, marten, and the occasional cougar and black bear.

  • Offshore, you may spot seal, sea lion and river otter. Killer whales can sometimes be seen in the distant offshore from May through to September. Gray whales may be seen from February to April as they migrate north.

  • Bikes are not permitted within East Sooke Park to prevent the deterioration of the trails and tree roots.

  • Canadian cell phone coverage is intermittent on the coastal shores of East Sooke Park, but roaming coverage is available through the American network across the Juan de Fuca Strait. This comes in handy for emergencies but can be expensive!

  • The Aylard Farm entrance is the starting point for the challenging Coast Trail day hike. This 10 kilometer trek is not a round trip so make sure you arrange for a pickup at the other end, at the Pike Road Parking lot.

  • There is very good signage throughout the park, but be sure to leave enough time to return to the parking lot before sunset. It gets very dark very quickly in the coastal rainforest. Bring a flashlight!

Official Links

 

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