the wandering chick
...Southwest V. I.
coastal hikes, madrones and lighthouses

Anyone looking for rugged coastal hikes filled with scenic vistas should absolutely visit this most southwestern region of Vancouver Island. Hiking trails are endless, from easy peasy to multi-day.

But wait! There's more! Hikes are just a part of what the area has to offer. Two lighthouses grace the waters of the Esquimalt harbor and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. A third can be seen at sea.

The photos on this page cover the area between Victoria and Port Renfrew. Ocean Blvd juts off the Highway 1A and leads to a spit of land that separates the Strait of Juan de Fuca from the Esquimalt Lagoon where various seabirds can be viewed. Almost within walking distance of this spit are Fort Rodd Hill and the Fisgard Lighthouse, both National Historic Sites.

Down the scenic road is the East Sooke Regional Park and farther still, westward, is Port Renfrew via Highway 14 and the end of the road in this wonderfully exciting but quiet corner of Vancouver Island.

Enjoy the photos!

seagull with clam in mouth
Oyster catcher
Seagull with clam shell
Oyster catcher
bridge on spit of land
mountains in clouds
The birds in the previous photos were taken here on the Coburg Peninsula, a spit that separates the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Esquimalt Lagoon.
Fisgard Lighthouse
Barely peeking out are the Olympic Mountains also taken from the Coburg Peninsula.
The Fisgard Lighthouse is Canada's first lighthouse on its west coast. Built in 1860, it is still a working lighthouse as it aids mariners into the Esquimalt and Victoria harbors.
water tank
In retrospect, I should have taken a couple photos at least of the Fort Rodd Hill defense fortress located on the shore of the Juan de Fuca Strait. But, truthfully, other than the lighthouse, this 'fisherman's cabin" was the only thing picturesque. It is not, however, a true fisherman's cabin, but rather a disguise. It is one of several searchlight emplacements. As the enemy approaches land, the 'cabin' opens its doors to shine a powerful searchlight, pinpointing enemy locations.
madrona bark
deer face, closeup
One of the highlights of my Vancouver trip has been the many madrones or arbutus trees that I have seen. Magnificent in color, shape and size, they gained the attention of my camera many times over. They are common all along the ruggest coasts of the island, but are also found in coastal areas of the U.S. Pacific northwest. This one was seen on the grounds of the Fort Rodd Hill, as was the deer below.
madrone tree
Fisgard Lighthouse
lombardy poplars lane
A Mr. Henry C. Hegelsen planted this row of Lombardy poplars as an entrance to his Sherwood Farm in 1903, The farm burned in 1933, but the tree-lined road, Lombard Drive, remains. It's in the town of Metchosen and is a historic site.
Just a few more pictures of this beautiful lighthouse.
A quaint harbor at Spirit Bay on East Sooke Rd.
The refurbished boat house on the grounds of the lighthouse.
Typical rugged coastline along Vancouver Island's most southern coast.
hiking trail
The next several shots were taken in the East Sooke Regional Park on the Creyke Trail which is part of the Coast Trail and leads to Creyke Point.
Creyke Trail, East Sooke Regional Park
Creyke Trail, East Sooke Regional Park
Creyke Trail, East Sooke Regional Park
Creyke Trail, East Sooke Regional Park
tree trunk formation
Creyke Trail, East Sooke Regional Park
Creyke Trail, East Sooke Regional Park
Creyke Trail, East Sooke Regional Park
I see something in this bug-eyed tree trunk, but I'm not sure what.
trestle over water
pond and marsh
Just a scenic spot along the Highway 14 across Deering Creek
marsh and pond
China Beach
China Beach is part of the Juan de Fuca Provincial Park halfway between Sooke and Port Renfrew off Highway 14. The China Beach Trailhead is a 15-or 20-minute slightly downhill walk to the China Beach day-use area.
the various colors of driftwood
old-growth forest
old-growth forest
harbor dock
Port Renfrew Hotel
The community dock behind the Port Renfrew Hotel and Pub (seen in the photo on the right.)
dock house
My travel partner and I happened upon this Sheringham Lighthouse practically by accident. We had turned into a restaurant on Highway 14 called Shirley Delicious (in the town of Shirley). It was closed, which may be fortunate because as we were turning around to leave the parking lot we saw a lamp post banner that said Sheringham Lighthouse. We followed the road and shortly began to see signs for parking. Nowhere on the dozens of maps that my excellent navigator had did we see mention of this charming landmark. Built in 1912 and currently owned by the Coast Guard, it stands stately on a rocky knoll aiding vessels through the waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. C'mon, C.G., Shirley you can raise its awareness to us sightseers.
The rocky cliffs around the Sheringham Point Lighthouse in Shirley.
coastal rock
blue-water cove
One doesn't have to travel far to find quiet blue-water coves such as this called Roche Cove anywhere on Vancouver Island's coast.
forest bridge
A second hike in the East Sooke Regional Park was from Aylard Farm, a grassy meadow near the parking lot, to Beechy Head. As seen in the picture, it started out with a very light fog which got heavier at the beach. Once it lifted, the weather could not have been better along this rocky but well-maintained coastal trail. I think it will go down as one of our all-time favorites. I've posted nearly 30 pictures from this ruggedly remarkable hike, so if you're still viewing, take a break, go grab some coffee and come back to finish out the page.
A nice hike in the Juan de Fuca Provincial Park is the Botanical Beach to Botany Bay Loop. The next several shots (including the one to the left) were taken along this old-growth forest to tidal pools hike.
old bridge
two small cairns on a log
forest scene with tall trees
gnarled trees
beach scene
beach scene
beach scene
trees in forest
rocky beach
coastal cliff
beach scene
tree trunk
It seems around every corner on this fabulous old-growth forested trail were some of the most interestingly shaped trees I've ever come across.
waterfall over beach rock
fog on meadow
forest view
lighthouse on rocks
madrone tree limb
fog over water
madrone in fog
trees in fog
madrone tree
madrone in fog
madone tree over water
fog lifting
rocks in water
race rocks lighthouse
It didn't take long for the fog to lift at Botanical Beach, our first destination on this amazing trek.
seal with head above water
And out of the mist rises ....a lone seal, there one minute and gone the next.
From certain points along the trail, one can see Race Rocks Light far off in the distance. It's located approximately 9 miles (15km) southwest of Victoria in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and is only accessible by boat.
heron on rock
trees over water
seal petroglyph
It is believed that the Coast Salish First Nation people carved petroglyphs into the rock at Alldridge Point. Sadly, erosion is causing the petroglyphs to fade, as they're located so close to the high-tide line.
driftwood over water
trees over water
trees over water
looking out over the water
tree shaped like saguaro
The tree at the top of this rock caught my eye...I think it's an Arizona saguaro wanna-be.
tree trunk
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