The China Beach Trailhead area spawned weekenders with coolers and heavily-loaded backpackers. Hemlocks rising out of fallen logs like snakes from a charmer's basket. The car was there, lonely in the vast empty parking lot. Then we round a bend and the real thing makes us gasp and gaze upward in awe. The official BC Parks Juan de Fuca Park Map and Brochure [PDF] is good for an overview. Spruce so big my arms can't span half around. The near-end trailhead (China Beach) is about an hour by car west of Victoria. The secret tent spot was available along the eastern beach access trail. Campfires smoldered. The beach is a bright, welcome sanctuary from the darker forest sections. "Oh my," she offers, "have you been out long? Seventeen miles of climbing along the Olympic coast south of Third Beach. From here visitors can either start the forty-seven kilometre hike or take a two and a half kilometre day trip to beautiful Mystic Beach. He remarked that he was glad to see us, because that meant that all the spider webs were clear from that point forward! We were probably a little crazy to hike the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail on a long weekend in May. The Juan de Fuca (JDF) trail is one of 3 classic, long coastal trails on Vancouver Island (the others being the West Coast Trail and the North Coast Trail). Our final descent brought us to a rock shelf and pebble beach. On our last day, we relished the fact that we didn’t have to beat crowds to a campsite. Stone P. Coastal Hikes: A Guide to West Coast Hiking in British Columbia and Washington State. That bear became the famous Botanical Beach resident that closed access to the Botanical Beach trailhead for much of the 2020 summer hiking season. The extended partial trail closure from East Sombrio to Mystic faded any hopes of a thru-hike until after Jun 30. After photos, we walked along the hot pavement to Port Renfrew for French fries and cold beverages. This is the place to stay for more than one night if planning an extended trip. The most dramatic backpack on this continent? All you really need is the simple B.C. The Juan de Fuca Marine Trail is a remarkable multi-day hike along the coast of Vancouver Island, Canada, progressing over beautiful beaches and through spectacular indigenous forest. All are accessible off Highway 14 between Jordan River and Port Renfrew. Boardwalk sections punctuated the smoother trail from Payzant Creek to Botanical Beach Trailhead. Even the two sorry tent sites near the pit toilets were crammed with unsmiling hikers scraping noodles out of pots. The moon was 98% full and Mars glowed like a red ember just below. The Juan de Fuca Marine Trail is a great place to train your body and test your gear for longer coastal trips like the West Coast Trail or the North Coast Trail. My backpack was loaded with the essentials and a few extra pieces of gear to test, plus some new dehydrated food recipes. The trail was closed beyond East Sombrio Beach. Our minds had trouble shaking the city and we weren’t “feeling the flow” as quickly as usual. There is even a small lagoon pool for swimming or bathing if you embrace the chill. To the right, a 40-foot cliff capped by a head-high tangle of impenetrable greenery. Be prepared to walk a few kilometres along the road to Port Renfrew from Botanical Beach (or hope for a ride). The Mystic Beach Camp (2.2 km) is very pretty with a waterfall at the east end and stretches of sand. The best guide book to plan your Juan de Fuca Marine Trail hike is Coastal Hikes by Philip Stone. Instead of rejoining the Juan de Fuca, we stick to the coast, as per our new plan. By contrast, our newfound walk requires nothing more than a trailhead payment of C$6 per night for camping privileges, good for a party of four. Excellent training. We hike and scramble along the untrailed shore, stopping often to gawk at tidal pools that brim with salty life, until the inevitable cliff blocks our coastal passage. About Juan De Fuca Marine Trail. The east camping zone was the preferable space to camp. This coastal adventure is a Vancouver Island essential along with it’s wilder counterparts: the West Coast Trail, the North Coast Trail, and the Nootka Trail. It was closed until June 1, 2020 due to COVID-19. I have a confession to make. Fortunately, the tension didn’t last forever. It’s close to the popular Botanical Beach Trailhead and falls along the easiest part of the Juan de Fuca Trail. We ate a hot lunch on the fascinating tilted rock that dominates the area. Nowhere can a hiker bushwhack easily, and in some places a combination of cliffs and dense brush would make escape from incoming tides downright unthinkable. There are four official trailheads: China Beach, Sombrio Beach, Parkinson Creek, and Botanical Beach. 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