Pacheedaht Recreation OVERVIEWThe recreational potential in the Pacheedaht region is becoming a driving force in the local economy, as the resource-based economic activities diminish. Visitors coming through Victoria, as well as Sooke and Victoria residents, can drive to the Pacheedaht region within an hour and enjoy a "west coast" experience.
Many beaches line the coast of this region, from French Beach in the south to the spectacular Botanical Beach at Port Renfrew. Beach camping is permitted at Mystic Beach, China Beach, Bear Beach and Sombrio Beach.
Port Renfrew offers accommodation and camping facilities for tourists. It also has a boat launch for small recreational boating, and hosts commercial sportfishing charters for visitors interested in saltwater fishing. Local waters have produced record salmon and halibut catches. The San Juan River offers freshwater fishing for cutthroat trout and steelhead.
There are good paddling opportunities for canoeists and kayakers in the sheltered waters of the San Juan River, a beautiful stretch of which can be reached from the Forest Service recreation site at Fairy Lake. Hand-carried boats can be launched from the beach here. Offshore, in calm conditions, seakayakers can explore the 60-km ocean route between Sooke and Port Renfrew.
Botanical Beach Provincial Park
A short walk from Port Renfrew, Botanical Beach is one of the best opportunities to view intertidal marine creatures and plants on Vancouver Island. Gentle forest trails, wave-sculpted rocks and rich tide pools make Botanical Beach an excellent destination in its own right. The park also is the starting point for the new Juan de Fuca Marine Trail, a 29-mile hiking trail.
Juan de Fuca Marine Trail
The northern terminus of the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail is located near Port Renfrew. The trail leads for almost 47 km along the southwestern coast of Vancouver Island, from Botanical Beach Provincial Park to China Beach Provincial Park. Intended as an alternative to the increasingly popular West Coast Trail, the easiest section of the trail is near its northern terminus at Botanical Beach.
The West Coast Trail
This world-class hiking trail stretches 77km from Port Renfrew on the south to Bamfield on the north end. The trail is difficult, and not for casual hikers. The 29km section from Port Renfrew to Carmanah is the most challenging section, requiring stream crossings, gullies, fallen trees, near vertical ladders and narrow log bridges. The 47km section from Carmanah Point to Pachena Bay, near Bamfield, is mainly a wide and clear path; part of it can be covered on the beach, especially at low tides.
Pacheedaht First Nations runs a small ferry service, from April to September, for hikers entering the West Coast Trail from the southern end, at the Gorden River Trailhead, across from Port Renfrew.
China Beach Provincial Park
Fronting the Pacific Ocean near the small community of Jordan River, China Beach is the southern terminus of the Juan de Fuca marine trail. China Beach day-use area is a spectacular spot for family outings and day trips. The China Beach Campground is a separate facility, located in a forested area with open understory just east of the China Beach day-use area and Juan de Fuca East trailhead. China Beach and nearby Jordan River are also popular destinations for windsurfers. Read more
This large cobbled beach is a popular surfing destination. Sombrio can be reached via a 250-meter access trail from the Sombrio Beach Trailhead parking lot, off Hwy 14. There are two designated wilderness camping areas at Sombrio Beach; one at East Sombrio and one at West Sombrio.
Snuggery Cove Resort Project - Plans for the resort include 32 cabins, a 21-suite hotel and a restaurant. It is estimated that once completed, the resort will create up to 40 full-time jobs.