Roche Cove Regional Park - Hiking in Sooke, British Columbia

Difficulty: Both easy walking trails and moderate hiking trails start from Roche Cove Regional Park. Bikes are welcome along the Galloping Goose Trail portion of the park.

Roche Cove & the Galloping Goose Trail
Autumn along the Galloping Goose Trail near Roche Cove Regional Park.

Hiking at Roche Cove Park - Sooke, Vancouver Island, BC
The scenic Galloping Goose Trail as it passes Roche Cove.

Roche Cove Regional Park surrounds a picturesque, secluded cove on the eastern shores of the Sooke Basin. Located in East Sooke, about 30 minutes from Victoria, British Columbia, this quiet park features an intertidal beach, a heavily-treed walking path and incredible ocean views along the rugged shores of southern Vancouver Island.

These trails are perfect for a casual, romantic stroll along the high banks, and kayakers can enjoy a silent paddle in the still waters of this sheltered cove. The park is 163 hectares including the serene and secluded Roche Cove. The inlet is spanned by a wooden trestle bridge that prevents large ships from entering (kayakers and small boats can scoot underneath). Surrounded by the coastal mountains, Roche Cove is a little piece of paradise tucked away in a forested corner on Vancouver Island.

The Galloping Goose Trail is a 55 kilometer long trail that was previously used as a railway from downtown Victoria to the Sooke Hills. Today, it has been converted into a multi-use trail for bikers, hikers, walkers and equestrians. Near Roche Cove, the trail is wide and flat and heads east to Matheson Lake Regional Park. A small, steep trail leads down to the mouth of the Roche Cove where you'll find an intertidal pebble beach teaming with small crabs and jellyfish. Heading west, across Gillespie Road, the trail meanders alongside the Sooke Basin, high above the water. Open view points dot the thick forest to give expansive views of the Sooke Basin, the East Sooke Hills and even the Olympic Mountains of Washington State on a clear day. This part of the trail is not as well known as the others, but offers spectacular views.

Hikers can also trek through the Cedar Grove Trail which winds through a stand of old-growth cedar trees estimated at 500 years old. This 1.9 km trail starts from the parking lot, traverses up a small mountain and through a forest of maple trees, which turn beautiful colours in the fall. This trail is a bit overgrown and the junctions can be a bit confusing. The lush forest has obscured most coastal views but the area is a bird-watcher's haven, particularly in the spring and fall. Continue east through the cedar grove and the path will eventually drop down to the Galloping Goose trail where you can loop back to the parking lot or continue east to Matheson Lake Regional Park. Hiking boots are recommended for this trail.

There is also a second hiking trail between Roche Cove Park and Matheson Lake Park along an old portage trail used in the 1800's. The Matheson Creek Trail is a seasonal trail that starts near the end of Roche Cove and winds through the thick forest beside a fresh-water creek. The trail passes huge maple and cedar groves as well as bogs filled with huge swamp lantern plants which bloom in April and May. The trail is in a valley and may be impassible in the winter and spring. Hiking boots are recommended.

Extra Notes

  • An outhouse is located at the trail head near the parking lot.

  • Bikes are allowed on the Galloping Goose Trail.

  • Don't miss the lookout point at the mouth of Roche Cove. Kellett Point is located across Gillespie Road, along a short trail to the left of the main path. This is a perfect spot to bird-watch in the morning, to picnic in the afternoon or to appreciate a Pacific sunset in the evening.

  • It gets very dark on Vancouver Island. Make sure you time your trip to return to the parking lot before nightfall.

Trestle bridge at Roche Cove
Gillespie Road crosses over the narrow inlet to Roche Cove Regional Park.
Galloping Goose Trail - Sooke, BC
A Pacific sunset viewed near Roche Cove on the Galloping Goose Trail.

Local History

  • Roche Cove was named after Richard Roche who served aboard the British surveyor, the Herald, which surveyed the area in the mid-1800's.
  • Kellett point was named after Captain Henry Kellett who was in command the Herald.
  • How to Get to Roche Cove Park (from Madrona Cottage)

    The park is about 10 minutes away from Madrona Cottage.

    1. Turn left onto East Sooke Road (towards town).
    2. Turn left at the T-intersection at Bill's Food 'n Feed onto Gillespie Road.
    3. Continue along Gillespie Road for 5 minutes. Once you cross the one-lane, trestle bridge, look for the parking lot on the right hand side.

    Official Links


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