An image of two women standing on Mystic Beach, Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.
Articles,  Outdoor Adventure

Experiencing Mystic Beach on Vancouver Island

Mystic beach is a hidden oasis located on the southern coast of Vancouver Island. One visit to this beach and it’s clear why it was given its name. With a short but beautiful trail through the ancient forest of Juan de Fuca Provincial Park and a waterfall cascading off a cliff onto the beach shore, you are sure to gain an experience with the perfect combination of adventure and relaxation in British Columbia’s natural paradise.

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An image of a group of hikers hiking to Mystic Beach, Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.
The trail to Mystic Beach is really well maintained with boardwalks and stairs. Photo by Garrett Iverson.

Getting to Mystic Beach on Vancouver Island

Mystic beach is located about 75 km from Victoria on Vancouver Island. The drive along highway 14 is incredibly scenic, however, with only single lane driving and an abundance of construction in the summer months, you may want to budget some extra time for the drive. I would say the drive will probably take you close to 1.5 hours. If you’re leaving from downtown Victoria, take Douglas Street north and follow it as it turns into Highway #1 (about 15 km), then take Exit #14 to Langford to the Veterans Memorial Parkway, take a right onto Sooke Road and stay on that until you arrive (about 55 km).

There is no signage directing you towards Mystic Beach or the trailhead. Instead, you will see a sign for China Beach and the Juan De Fuca Provincial Park Day Use trailhead. This will be where you will turn off to park and begin your hike to Mystic Beach. The trailhead is located at the west end of the upper parking lot, next to a wooden sign marking the beginning of the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail.

An image of tree roots on the trail to Mystic Beach, Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.
The trail, though well maintained, has many exposed tree roots that can make this hike difficult to find your footing. Photo by Garrett Iverson.

Everything to Know about Hiking to Mystic Beach, Vancouver Island

The short hike to Mystic Beach is also the start of the much longer, 47 km Juan De Fuca Marine Trail. This trail takes most people about three to four days to complete and is often said to be a shorter and easier version of the popular West Coast Trail. Completing the 2 km hike to Mystic Beach will give you a pretty good idea of what the Juan De Fuca Marine Trail looks like.

The hike is through one of Vancouver Island’s ancient forests, which means the trail is covered in exposed tree roots and mud. Appropriate footwear is a must. Additionally, the trail is very hilly. You will find yourself switching between walking uphill and downhill often as you weave through the forest. This may make the hike feel a little longer than 2 km. Expect about 45 minutes to an hour for the hike in and out.

An image of two hikers on a suspension  bridge hiking to Mystic Beach, Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.
The suspension bridge is a fun addition to an already fantastic hike. Photo by Garrett Iverson.

During your hike, you will come to a suspension bridge over Pete Wolfe Creek. As you descend towards the beach there are steps carved out of a log followed by a boardwalk type of trail. All in all, the trail is very well maintained. As an Albertan girl, who is used to summiting mountains in the Canadian Rockies, I considered this trail to be relatively easy.

Related: Check out my post, Nihahi Ridge – 360 Degree Views in Kananaskis Country.

An image of a wooden staircase leading to Mystic Beach, Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.
You get a wonderful view as you descend the final steps to the shore of Mystic Beach. Photo by Garrett Iverson.

What to Bring on Your Hike to Mystic Beach, Vancouver Island

The hike to Mystic Beach on Vancouver Island isn’t long, but you still need to be prepared. Bring a day pack with snacks, a water bottle, a blanket or a towel, a first aid kit, and a jacket. Be sure to wear a hat and good footwear. Sunscreen is also useful.

Bring your Fitbit to keep track of your steps on this wonderful hike!

Mystic Beach, Vancouver Island

You’ll know you’re getting close to the beach when you hear the sound of waves crashing on the shore. As you descend the wooden steps, you will come to a gorgeous clearing which means you have arrived. If you plan to spend some time at the beach, bringing a blanket or some towels is a good idea. We found a spot to relax on the beach while we ate lunch and admired the spectacular view. When you’re ready, you can walk down the beach and right up to the waterfall. Depending on the time of year, the waterfall may be a slow trickle in the dryer months or a stronger surge of water at other times. We made the trek in August which meant the waterfall was moving slower but still nonetheless, spectacular. A short way past the waterfall, you will find a little cave that you can go in. If you visit during high tide, it may not be possible to walk up to the waterfall and cave so you would have to admire from afar, unless you want to take a swim.

An image of a couple standing on Mystic Beach, Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.
Whether you do this adventure solo, with a partner, or with a group, it is well worth the effort. Photo by Christina Mentanko.

Mystic Beach Camping

Camping is allowed at Mystic Beach. It is the first main camping spot along the Juan De Fuca Marine Trail. A backcountry camping permit is required, which can be purchased from BC Parks. Pitch your tent along the beach rather than in the forest to help protect the vegetation. The tide will change. Ensure that you set up camp far enough away from the ocean to avoid any unwelcome surprises. 

An image of a dog playing on Mystic Beach, Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.
Dogs are allowed at Mystic Beach but they should be on a leash. Photo by Kelsey Olsen.

Best Hotels Near Mystic Beach

If camping isn’t really your thing, the town of Sooke is a short 35 minute drive from Mystic Beach. There are several hotels and inns in Sooke, but one of the most popular hotels is the Prestige Ocean Front Resort. The Ocean Wilderness Inn near Shirley is a nice B&B that is only a 15 minute drive to the trailhead for the Mystic Beach hike.

A Unique Adventure that Truly Immerses you in Vancouver Island’s Natural Landscape!

We spent a couple of hours at Mystic Beach before making the trek back up to the parking lot. I’m glad that we decided to spend the day exploring this part of Vancouver Island. Although a bit of a drive from Victoria, the journey was well worth it. I will remember this adventure for many years to come.

An amazing adventure with some of the best people. Photo by Garrett Iverson.

Environmental and Safety Notes

Wildlife: Vancouver Island is full of an abundance of wildlife. It’s important to be aware of and prepared for any encounters with wildlife; particularly bears and cougars. Take the usual precautions to ensure safety when entering the homes of these animals.

Maintaining the natural beauty: Whether you are camping overnight or completing a day hike, make sure that you are packing out any garbage and belongings from the area. Always leave the area better than you found it so that these special places can be enjoyed for many years to come.

Be prepared: Vancouver Island receives all kinds of weather. Always ensure that you check weather reports and show up prepared for any adverse conditions.

Related: If you like adventurous hikes that lead to magical places, read our post, Halfway Hot Springs – A Natural Oasis.

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