Juan da Fuca, Botanical Beach to Sombrio Beach, Port Renfrew, BC

18km, roughly 800m elevation gain cumulative over 2 days

Back in July, I decided to go on a short overnight on the Juan da Fuca trail with a new friend. I’ve always wanted to hike this trail since I completed the West Coast Trail. With my knee causing me some issues in the Spring, I knew I needed to take things easy while getting back into hiking and backpacking this summer. We decided to do one night, hiking from Botanical Beach towards East Sombrio Beach, stopping at Kuitshe Creek Campground.

We did about 14km on our first day from Botanical to Kuitshe Creek. We didn’t spend much time in the tide pools at Botanical because the fog was pretty thick in the morning. We took many breaks for lunch and resting in the sun on the beach trail when we could.

Because the West Coast Trail was completely closed this summer (due to Covid restrictions), a lot of people who were booked for the WCT ended up changing their plans at the last minute to come and hike the Juan da Fuca. Adding that to a pretty rainy start of the summer, the trail was a literal swamp. In many sections, we had mud up to our mid-calf and even knees. The ranger said this was quite unsual on the JdF, but all conditions this year made it for a lot more of trail traffic and damage.

We arrived at the campground towards the end of the afternoon and enjoyed the sunset by the water. The campground itself doesn’t have anything particularly exciting about it, it is in the forest with no views. However, if you take a few minutes to carry some of your dinner gear down to the beach, you can enjoy a really nice evening with some of the best views you could get on a coastal trail!

We took our time in the morning to sleep-in and get our breakfast going. We only had about 4km left to hike to Sombrio parking lot, but it still took us a few hours due to the mud. We got out of the forest as soon as we could find a beach trail that was passable and finished the last hour on the beach. We had lunch on Sombrio, watching the surfers and chatting with other hikers we had met the night before.

Not gonna lie, I was on my couch the next day resting my knees from the mud and the log crossings up and over the days before! It was such a nice trail and I am looking forward to hike the entire thing later… who knows, maybe next year will be the year for it!


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