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.