Mystic Beach can be found just four kilometers past the Jordan River and kicks off the Juan De Fuca Marine Trail with a gorgeous start. Besides scenery that will take your breath away, there are convenient campgrounds nearby and even multiple super cool caves to explore at low tide. This place can be an excellent way to find out whether or not hiking the whole of the Juan De Fuca Marine Trail is for you.
Welcome to Mystic Beach
How to get to Mystic Beach
Slightly confusingly, to reach Mystic Beach you have to begin by heading to the day-use parking lot at the nearby China Beach.
So, how to find China Beach? Assuming you are starting in downtown Victoria, follow Douglas Street to the north and leave the city on Highway #1. After that, take exit #14 towards Langford and loop all the way around the off-ramp, crossing the highway and proceeding down Veteran’s Memorial Parkway. Turn right when you see the intersection to Sooke Road and follow the signposted route to Sooke.
You will finally find the China Beach day-use area a little past Sooke. Once you have passed the Jordan River, you are almost there. Follow the signposted route to China Beach Campground and around half a kilometer past that you will see a turnoff. Turn left and once you have reached the gravel parking lot you are there.
The final step is to find the start of the trail near the wooden map board and let the adventure begin.
Mystic Beach Hike
One of the best parts about Mystic Beach is that it is not accessible by car, so the only people who get to enjoy it are those who are committed enough to hike their way out there!
The Mystic Beach Trail is one of my favourite hikes on Vancouver Island.
The roots of these trees spread throughout a vast network, connecting to each other, the earth, the rocks – offering others a space for other creatures to call home. It’s all connected and if you take your time to pause, you might witness the complex community that you, too are a part of.
If you wander with wonder like us, it will take you hours.
Otherwise, it is a fairly intermediate two-kilometer hike through a stunning ancient forest. The whole thing should only take you an average of an hour and the trail, while well maintained, is fairly rooty and not suitable for strollers and such.
The only problem you may encounter while walking this trail is that there are various ways that you can come off the trail to Mystic Beach without noticing as it is not particularly well signposted. We would highly recommend downloading a hiking app for British Columbia, such as AllTrails, to help track your route and ensure that you stay on track the whole time.
From your starting point at the wooden map board mentioned above, ensure that you are at the start of the correct trail. You want the start of the Jaun de Fuca trail, not the trail to China Beach.
While the map will display the entire route of the Juan de Fuca trail, do not be intimidated as Mystic Beach is the very first stop.
Start off your way through the forest and be careful, as sometimes this section of the route can be muddy if the weather has been wet recently. Around halfway through your walk, you will encounter a suspension bridge that crosses over Pete Wolfe Creek.
Once you are over the bridge, continue following the trail, and again be careful of tree roots and logs that can be a trip hazard.
Before long, you will begin to hear the sound of lapping waves. Descend the stairs which have been carved out of a fallen tree, keeping left, and make your final descent to the beach.
You can also find a set of pit toilets close to the point where the trail arrives at Mystic Beach.
Now it is time to enjoy the ridiculously gorgeous scenery that Mystic Beach has to offer!
Exploring Mystic Beach
As with all of our Vancouver Island Beach destinations, it’s best to explore at low tide. To find out when low tide is while you are visiting, you can use this handy online tide chart resource.
The intricate details of this beach could fascinate you for hours. Let’s start with the Mystic Beach Caves, because those were our favourite parts.
This first cave was off to the right if you are facing the ocean and yes, must be accessed at low tide.
My view of the sea from here:
You will find many cairns, but here’s why you shouldn’t build them.
Another cool cave, that you have best access at low tide:
Then there’s the Moss. How can anyone not be fascinated with moss? It’s my favourite thing.
This tiny moss is a master of “the patient gleaming of light” — and what is the greatest feat of the human spirit, the measure of a life well lived, if not a “patient gleaming of light”?
We read all about a rope swing, but couldn’t find it for the life of us.
We visited in September, so the ‘spectacular’ waterfall was little more than a trickle. However, the overall caves, sea, and forest make this spot worth every moment.
Although we are passionate photographers, it’s not about getting that Instagram-worthy shot, but more about witnessing the wild ways you can only experience on Vancouver Island. We are wildly wow’d with or dramatic waterfalls.
The History of the Area’s First Nations Peoples
This part of Canada has been home to various First Nations peoples for millennia. In fact, archaeological evidence and anthropological accounts point to the existence of indigenous cultures in these parts as far back in time as 5,000 years ago.
The reason for this is the vast breadbasket of resources that have been available in this area throughout time. The bountiful sea and swathes of backcountry have provided communities with access to fresh fish, valuable shells, whale oil, furs, and various other treasures. These were traded between communities and even to traveling explorers and traders from far afield.
Juan De Fuca Provincial Park, where Mystic Beach can be found, has historically been home to two main First Nations peoples: the Pacheedaht and Lkwungen. The clues to these peoples’ intractable relationship with the sea can be found in the translation of their names, which mean ‘Children of the Sea Foam’ and ‘place to smoke herring,’ respectively.
The land here’s sustaining of indigenous civilization goes further than that, however. This part of Vancouver Island was so rich in natural resources that it also had a key part to play in maintaining the neighboring Makah, Elwa Klallam, Ts’ouke, and Schian’exw peoples.
Wherever you go in British Columbia, there is bound to be a rich heritage of First Nations history that permeates the surroundings, soil, and the spiritual realm you inhabit. To get the most out of your visit, it is incredibly rewarding to seek knowledge and retain respect for these cultures.
A Word on the Local Wildlife
Backcountry trails like the one that leads to Mystic Beach are home to both bears and cougars. This means that you need to remain aware of your surroundings, how to handle an encounter, and ensure that you do not bring dogs as they are likely to interfere with the local wildlife.
If you do spot a bear, ensure that you do not approach it. Instead, make plenty of noise so that you do not take it by surprise. If the occasion arises that you do come into contact with a bear, it is important to back away slowly to avoid the bear giving chase. Packing bear spray on these sorts of routes is an excellent way to ensure your safety.
As with any place where bears are native, it is important that you handle any garbage or food waste responsibly, taking it with you when you go and not leaving it lying around. Not only might the smell attract a bear, but ingesting the garbage could also kill them.
Where to Stay Near Mystic Beach
If you wanted to spend the night close to Mystic Beach, you have a number of options available to you.
Front country campgrounds can be found at both China Beach Provincial Park and French Beach Provincial Park. If you want serviced camping, you will have to head back to Sooke.
Additionally, if you prefer backcountry camping, this is also possible at Mystic Beach if you have the correct backcountry camping permit for this area. To find out more information on how to obtain one of these permits, pay a visit to the BC Parks website. These permits are well worth it as they can be used to backcountry camp at many locations along the Juan de Fuca Trail.
Finally, if you would prefer a more cushy place to relax after a long day of hiking and having fun at Mystic Beach, there are cabins you can rent nearby.
Point No Point Resort has 25 different cabins to select from, which are all kitted out with fireplaces, kitchens, and enjoy splendid views of the stunning ocean which has sustained the local people for thousands of years.
All of the cabins at Point No Point are as rustic as they come, built in the 1950s but subtly updated for comfort throughout the decades. They even offer an in-cabin massage service from Sooke West Coast Wellness, if you really want to take your pampering to the next level.
Discover some of the Best Ever Vancouver Island Experiences:
Vancouver Island Beaches:
- Mystic Beach
- Sombrio Beach
- French Beach
- Sandcut Beach
- Chesterman Beach
- Long Beach
- Rathtrevor Provincial Park
- Botanical Beach
Vancouver Island Waterfalls:
Tofino Camping Spots:
- Crystal Cove Beach Resort
- Bella Pacifica Campground
- Mackenzie Beach Campground
- Surf Grove Campground
- Green Point Campground