Hiking in East Sooke Park - Petroglyphs at Allridge Point (Aylard Farm)

Difficulty: There are two hiking trails to the petroglyphs in East Sooke Park. One trail is easy, the other difficult.

Hiking in East Sooke Park
Coastal views along the shores of East Sooke Park.

The original inhabitants of southern Vancouver Island have been roaming these shores for thousands of years and some of their ancient artwork has survived the ravages of time. Protected in East Sooke Park, a petroglyph of a seal can be witnessed on a seaside rock. It's amazing to stand before artwork that's thousands of years old. Could the artist have imagined that his work would have lasted for millennia?

The trail to the petroglyphs starts at the parking lot of the Aylard Farm entrance. It takes about 1.5 hours to complete the trek (round trip) and can be reached by the way of two paths. One path takes you on a relatively easy trail through the forest while the other follows the rugged but scenic shores of the Coast Trail.

The easy trail starts at the entrance of the parking lot and immediately enters the coastal rainforest. The branches of the trees in this lushly forested park creates a cozy tunnel along the well-groomed path. There is little elevation gain when heading out to the coast and the trail is suitable for people of all fitness levels. Amongst the trees, birds take shelter on the edge of the forest, including eagles. There are a few trail junctions along the way so follow the signs that clearly mark the way. Nearing the petroglyph, there are rocks you'll have to hop across but a good pair of running shoes should provide sufficient traction.

The more difficult hiking trail to the petroglyph is along the Coast Trail. From the parking lot, head towards the beach, through the old apple orchard and then turn right. The narrow path follows the contour of the coast line and takes you along the rocky shores. Hiking boots are a must since there are rocky crags and muddy sections. There are excellent views of the Olympic Mountains and of the boats in the Juan de Fuca Strait. The designated route is well marked with yellow, metal route markers attached to the rock-face. This trail is probably most suited to those with a good fitness level, agility, and no knee problems.

 

Hiking trail on Vancouver Island
An ancient petroglyph on southern Vancouver Island

Coast Trail, East Sooke Park
The Coast Trail heading to Alldridge Point in East Sooke Park.

How to Get to Aylard Farm & the Petroglyphs (from Madrona Cottage)

The Aylard Farm parking lot is located on the eastern side of the park at the end of the Becher Bay Road. It takes about 10 minutes to get there from Madrona Cottage.

  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). Continue past the Endurance Ridge trail head.
  3. Turn right on Becher Bay Road (you've gone too far if you enter the Becher Bay Reserve).
  4. Follow Becher Bay Road to the end. The large parking lot at Aylard Farm is located at the end. The trailhead that leads to the Petroglyphs is right near the front of the parking lot (just as you enter).

Notes

  • You may be lucky enough to come across raccoons, squirrels, deer, many types of birds, marten, and the occasional cougar and black bear.

  • East Sooke Park is not bike-friendly. Even though the trails would be a cyclist's paradise, the Capital Regional District is trying to prevent destruction of the trails and the fragile tree roots.

  • Emergency cell phone coverage from American service providers exists along the shores of East Sooke Park. Canadian coverage is sparse.

  • You can follow the Coast Trail from Aylard Farm to the petroglyph at Alldridge Point. If you choose to continue on this 10 km trek, arrange for a pickup at the other end, at the Pike Road Parking lot.

  • Leave plenty of time to return to the parking lot before sunset. It gets very dark in the rainforest. Bring a flashlight and a whistle just in case.

Official Links

 

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