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.
Autumn along the Galloping Goose Trail near Roche Cove Regional Park.
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.
Gillespie Road crosses over the narrow inlet to Roche Cove Regional Park.
A Pacific sunset viewed near Roche Cove on the Galloping Goose Trail.
The park is about 10 minutes away from Madrona Cottage.
Ready to visit Sooke? Contact us for availability!