Juan de Fuca Park on the west coast of southern Vancouver Island offers scenic beauty, spectacular hiking, marine and wildlife viewing, and roaring surf in its course along the Pacific coastline of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
There are four main areas to the park: the China Beach Campground, the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail, the China Beach day-use area, and Botanical Beach.
A major feature of this park, the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail, follows 47km of wilderness stretching along the western shoreline of the southern Island. There are four trailheads to the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail at Juan de Fuca East (China Beach), Sombrio Beach, Parkinson Creek and Botanical Beach. Although most of the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail is designed for strenuous day or multi-day hiking and camping in this rugged and isolated area, some easy-to-moderate day hiking opportunities to the beach or along the trail are available starting from the trailheads.
At the east end of the park you’ll find the vehicle accessible China Beach Campground and the China Beach day-use area. The campground is in a forested area with open understory, about 1km east of the China Beach day-use area and the Juan de Fuca East (China Beach) trailhead. Trails connect the campground to China Beach and the adjacent smaller Second Beach, located east of the larger China Beach day-use.
At the west end of Juan de Fuca Park is Botanical Beach, one of the richest tidal areas along the west coast. Botanical Beach also has a unique shoreline framed by ridges of shale and quartz, which jut up through the black basalt to form huge tableaus. Botanical Beach is the western terminus for the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail and a popular day trip destination for visitors wishing to observe this sensitive and unique ecosystem. Wildlife viewing is best done at low tide, when visitors can walk out across the flat sandstone and granite outcroppings to view tide pools filled with brightly coloured marine life.
When visiting Botanical Beach, please look in the tide pools only. Do not touch the marine life.
Do not remove, collect or disturb any tide pool life, shells, plants, flowers, kelp, or other natural objects. Even touching the water in a tide pool with sunscreen on your hands can create an 'oil slick' that could kill the vulnerable creatures in this sensitive ecosystem. Remember to bring your camera, as photographs make great souvenirs.
Juan de Fuca Park offers ample opportunity to view larger marine mammals as well, including grey and killer whales, which can often be spotted feeding just off the points. The best time to see grey whales is during their migration from the Mexican coast to Alaska in March and April. Seals and sea lions can also often be seen playing offshore.
The Juan de Fuca Marine Trail is designed as a wilderness hiking trail. Hiking conditions are always changing and hikers should get up-to-date information before hiking. Additional advisories may be posted at the trailhead information shelters. Your fitness, knowledge, skills, and equipment must meet the challenges of the area. All hikers in your group must be prepared for at least the following:
Hikers should leave a plan of their trip, including which trail they are hiking, and arrival and departure times with a friend or relative.
The Juan de Fuca Trail does not connect to the West Coast Trail, part of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Private bus service to the Juan de Fuca Trail may be available from nearby communities.
Exposed beaches along Juan de Fuca Park are subject to rogue waves. Please show respect for surf and waves. Watch for unusually large rogue waves that occasionally hit the beach. These waves are capable of pulling a person into the water. Keep children away from the surf.
Watch for orange balls as you hike. They mark an exit from the beach to the trail. Beaches may be cut off from the trail during high tides and storms.
Tide tables are posted at trailheads and available at local bookstores. Use the Canadian Tide Tables Port Renfrew section. Remember to use PDT (Pacific Daylight Savings Time) for tidal times during May to October. Visitors should reference the Fisheries and Oceans tide table for Port Renfrew, Vancouver Island, British Columbia.
This park is prime habitat for bears. Please be bear aware and read our safety tips for visiting bear country. Remember, a fed bear is a deadbear.
This park contains numerous special natural features, including waterfalls, grottos, old growth forest, estuaries, tide pools and shale and quartz rock formations.
Park size: 1,528 hectares
Campsite reservations are accepted for the China Beach Campground through the BC Parks reservation service. First-come, first-served sites are also available.
There are no group campsites or reservable picnic shelters at this park.
Backcountry hike-in camping is available along the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail, sites are either on the beach or in the forest.
Please camp at established camping areas to minimize your impact.
The trail and campsites along the trail are open all year. Detailed maps of campsites are installed on the trail at each designated camping location.
Detailed maps of campsites are installed on the trail at each designated camping location.
Bear-proof food caches are available at the Mystic Beach, Chin Beach, Bear Beach, Sombrio Beach, Little Kuitsche Creek, and Payzant Creek campsites. If caches are full, it may be necessary for visitors to rig their own food cache. Cache food out of reach of animals. Plan to pack out what you pack in. Do not put garbage in pit toilets, it attracts bears.
Backcountry camping permits can be purchased ahead of time through the backcountry permit registration service. Although the system does not reserve a campsite, the system provides visitors the convenience of prepaying for their trip and not having to carry cash.
Self-registration envelopes and safes are located at each trailhead for depositing your camping fee if you have not prepaid. On-site fees are cash only (bring exact change).
The China Beach campground does not offer walk-in sites and is closed for the winter.
China Beach Campground: This area offers vehicle accessible campsites. The campground is located in a forested area with open understory just east of the China Beach day-use area and Juan de Fuca East trailhead. Campsite reservations are required during peak camping seasons.
Juan de Fuca Trail: No vehicle accessible camping except at three of the trailhead parking lots: Juan de Fuca East (China Beach), Sombrio Beach and Parkinson Creek. Camping in these parking lots are for self-contained vehicle units only. Fires and tents are prohibited at trailhead camping locations and backcountry camping fees do apply. There is no camping at the Botanical Beach Trailhead.
Vehicle-accessible camping fee: $20 per party per night
There are no wheelchair-accessible facilities at China Beach Campground.
Campfires are not permitted at the Botanical Beach and China Beach day-use areas.
China Beach Campground: While fires are allowed, we encourage visitors to conserve the environment by minimizing the use of fire and using stoves instead. Campfire rings are provided at each campsite. Firewood can be purchased from the Park Operator or you can bring your own wood. Fees for firewood are set locally and may vary.
To preserve vegetation and ground cover, please don’t gather firewood from the area around your campsite or elsewhere in the park (this is a ticketable offence under the Park Act). Dead wood is an important habitat element for many plants and animals and it adds organic matter to the soil. You can conserve firewood and air quality by keeping your campfire small. Limited burning hours or campfire bans may be implemented. Be prepared to bring a portable stove for cooking.
Juan de Fuca Marine Trail: Portable campstoves for cooking will be required at some campsites. Small fires are permitted on beaches below the high tide mark. Use only driftwood for fires – do not cut trees or snags or use other vegetation (this is a ticketable offence under the Park Act ). Never leave your fire unattended and practice "Leave No Trace" camping ethics.
Find out more about the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail.
For your own safety and the preservation of the park, obey posted signs and keep to designated trails. Shortcutting trails destroys plant life and soil structure.
There are no designated swimming areas at Juan de Fuca Park. There are no lifeguards on duty at provincial parks.
Canoeing and kayaking opportunities exist at this park, however exposure to the open Pacific Ocean can result in extreme sea conditions. Please be aware of ocean currents.
This park offers opportunities for salt-water fishing. Botanical Beach, Parkinson Creek from Little Kuitsche Creek to about Payzant Creek are closed to fishing.
Fishing is permitted as per provincial and federal fishing regulations. All anglers should check the current regulations issued by Fisheries and Oceans Canada prior to fishing. Anyone fishing or angling in British Columbia must have an appropriate licence.
There are interpretations services available at the Botanical Beach area of the park. For more information, please contact the park operator.
Terrific views can be seen from many points along the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail, particularly at the Loss Creek Suspension Bridge and the Minute Creek Suspension Bridge. The Juan de Fuca trail also offers spectacular views of the coastline, Juan de Fuca Strait, and the Olympic Mountains. Whales, marine birds, and other wildlife can also be seen in the park.
Botanical Beach offers one of the richest tidal areas found along the west coast and opportunities for viewing in these tide pools is excellent. A low tide of 1.2 metres or less is best for viewing the tide pools.
Visitors should reference a tide table prior to visiting the area. Use Canadian Tide Tables Port Renfrew section. Remember to use the PDT (Pacific Daylight Savings Time) for tidal times during March to November.
When visiting Botanical Beach, please look in the tide pools only. Do not touch the marine life.
Do not remove, collect or disturb any tide pool life, shells, plants, flowers, kelp, or other natural objects. Even touching the water in a tide pool with sunscreen on your hands can create an 'oil slick' that could kill the vulnerable creatures in this sensitive ecosystem. Photographs make great souvenirs.
Pets and other domestic animals are allowed, but must be on a leash at all times. You are responsible for their behaviour and must dispose of their excrement. Dogs are allowed on the trail but backcountry areas of this park are not suitable for dogs or other pets due to wildlife issues and the potential for problems with bears and cougars. It is recommended that pets be left at home.
Dogs are allowed on the beach area of China Beach and also China Beach day-use area, but please ensure that dogs are kept on a leash at all times.
Bicycles must keep to roadways. Cycling is not permitted on the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail. Various logging roads in the area may be available for mountain biking. Cycling on park trails is not permitted. Bicycle helmets are mandatory in British Columbia.
Please note that bicycles with electric assist motors (e-bikes) are not allowed on the trails within Juan De Fuca Provincial Park. E-bikes are restricted to park roads and areas where motorized use is permitted. The only exception to this policy will be for authorized and identified trail maintenance bikes conducting work on behalf of BC Parks.
Limited opportunities exist for scuba diving in Juan de Fuca Park due to the extreme ocean conditions, tides, and currents.
The foreshore around Botanical Beach and Botany Bay as well as the foreshore from Little Kuitsche to Payzant Creek is closed to scuba diving.
Located on the west coast of southern Vancouver Island, Juan de Fuca Park extends from China Beach, just west of the community of Jordan River, to Botanical Beach near Port Renfrew. The park is accessed by vehicle at various points along West Coast Highway 14 between Jordan River and Port Renfrew.
The China Beach campground is adjacent to Highway 14 just east of the China Beach day-use, 35km west of Sooke and 36km east of Port Renfrew. Nearby communities include Port Renfrew, Sooke, Victoria, and Duncan.
Any maps listed are for information only - they may not represent legal boundaries and should not be used for navigation.
The Juan de Fuca Marine Trail was created through the Commonwealth Nature Legacy as an enduring reminder of the 1994 Victoria Commonwealth Games. Preservation of a living legacy of unprecedented natural beauty, accessible to all, was considered a fitting tribute to the spirit of the games.
Construction and preservation of the trail has been made possible by the efforts of government, local industries, First Nations, and citizens. Land exchanges and gifts of land have come from Western Forest Products and Timber West. Trail upgrades have been undertaken with funding from Forest Renewal BC and the Environment Youth Team (E-Team).
The Juan de Fuca Marine Trail was originally part of a lifesaving trail that serviced this area, known at the time as the Graveyard of the Pacific.
The park protects significant marine tidal pool life at Botanical Beach as well as black bear and cougar habitat. The region is so biologically significant that the University of Minnesota installed the first marine research station in the Pacific Northwest at Botanical Beach in 1901.
Since then, the area has been used for research by a number of universities in BC and Washington. Red, purple and orange starfish and sea urchins, white gooseneck barnacles, blue mussels and green seas anemones, and sea cucumbers only begin to hint at the colourful spectrum of intertidal life thriving here.
Do not harvest shellfish or other plants and animals. They form an important part of the area’s natural environment and are protected under the Provincial Park Act.
BC Parks honours Indigenous Peoples’ connection to the land and respects the importance of their diverse teachings, traditions, and practices within these territories. This park webpage may not adequately represent the full history of this park and the connection of Indigenous Peoples to this land. We are working in partnership with Indigenous Peoples to update our websites so that they better reflect the history and cultures of these special places.