Jordan River is home to many small wonders: stunning views of the strait, the Cold Shoulder Cafe, a number of abandoned homes that will fall first victim to any tsunami waves approaching the south coast- but a favourite for myself, and many others, is the easily accessed Jordan River Regional Park.
Heading west from Victoria, make sure to gas up in Sooke- it’ll be your last chance unless you plan on visiting Renfrew too. From there, it’s only a twenty minute drive to a seemingly secluded stone beach, with a spectacular sandstone cliff off of which the nearby Sandcut Creek falls.
TRAVEL TIP: If you plan on visiting through the months of the wet season, you may want to ensure you’re adequately equipped: snow tires are legally required from October through March on this stretch of the highway.
The highway narrows as you start to enter logging lands, and the road begins winding wildly, with plenty of awesome places to stop along the way that could easily otherwise get missed. Who wants pizza? Stop at Stoked. Maybe you’d like to learn about some liquor: check out the Tugwell Meadery or the Sheringham Distillery. Craving caffeine? There’s the Stick in the Mud in Sooke, Shirley Delicious in – you guessed it – Shirley, or the Cold Shoulder all visible from the highway.
When you start to see signs for Jordan River Regional Park, you’ll need to keep your eyes peeled: the parking lot is only ever so slightly visible from the westbound lane, and turning left off the highway can be a tricky task when you’re uncomfortable on or unfamiliar with the island roads. In the summer months, it’s best to go early in the morning or later in the evening: this location is so easy to access, it has become a popular picnic spot for adventurers and families alike.
Once there, it’s a short, albeit hilly hike from the lot to the beach. Plenty of interesting trees line the trail along the way, and the classic coastal rainforest light that drips in through the canopy may just leave you momentarily in awe.
The bulk of your exercise will come from walking a kilometre or so down the pebble beach to find Sandcut Falls. If you happen to be there during the wet season, you’ll probably see them almost instantly; if not, you’ll definitely see the masses of people wandering in the same direction down the beach.
Pack a picnic or some camping gear, because you’ll want to hang around a while. Three and a half kilometres of cobble beach, lined by thick hemlock and cedar forests, Jordan River Regional Park also boasts some twenty campsites for your leisure.
Take your time to explore the beauty this park has to offer. From the gorgeous south coast cliffs to the falls-side rope swing, there’s something for everyone. If you’re so bold, there’s a path above the sandstone cliff right beside the falls, leading to a beautiful viewpoint of the creek above: roll up your pant legs and wander up the river to get a closer look at the highway overpass towering overhead.
Have no fear if you struggle to find the trail walking back down the beach: simply keep your eyes peeled for a yield sign marking the path back into the brush.