Vancouver Island is a treasure trove of gorgeous beaches and secret coves that are well worth the trouble to seek out. One of our favorites is Sandcut Beach, which features an intriguing woodland walk, a beautiful pebbled beach, and a waterfall that you actually walk behind and on top of!
Welcome to Sandcut Beach
The walk to Sandcut Beach is pleasant enough to be a full part of your day trip, taking up a minimal 500 meters or so.
The stroll will take you along a rough trail and a couple of slightly deteriorating boardwalks. It can get quite muddy along the track, but the conditions are usually easy-going, apart from a few root systems to navigate. Even in the highest suns of summer, the flanking rainforest will keep the heat off you nicely.
The forest is a beautiful old-growth forest with giant cedar, douglas fir, and spruce trees. Many of the trees along the trail are draped and dripping with a fascinating luminescent moss and a plant known as witch’s hair or old man’s beard.
To add to the mystical vibe, you will find many huge tree stumps which have been carved to look like faces, complete with carefully selected stones from the beach for eyes. Look even closer, and you will notice the rich amount of flora and fauna on the forest floor, including clusters of mushrooms and tiny toadstools.
The whole walk down to the beach is downhill, which is a pleasant way to start your day but will result in a slightly more strenuous trip back to the parking lot.
Exploring Sandcut Beach
Sandcut Beach, despite the name, is a rolling pebbly beach. Please resist the urge to collect pebbles, take only pictures.
If the weather is clear, the view across the Juan De Fuca Strait is stunning and you will even be able to see the peaks of the Olympic National Park over in Washington State peeking over the horizon. If you keep your eyes peeled, you may be able to spot majestic whales passing the beach and seals lazing on the rocks in the sun.
The waves here can get quite large, as the beach is located near to Jordan River which is one of the most popular surfing locations on Vancouver Island.
Even if you are not a surfer, the sea here is a beautiful place to swim on mild days and you can find some small sandy patches amongst the stones that make the water easier to access with bare feet.
If you are a fan of picturesque sunset locations, look no further than Sandcut Beach – the stunning scenery and the breath-taking view out to sea perfectly capture the magic of golden hour.
Sandcut Beach is dog friendly, however as the backcountry in this area is home to cougars and bears, ensure that you keep them on their leads and under control.
Fires are usually allowed here, but it is important to check whether any restrictions have been placed on campfires during the time of your visit.
As with any wild and beautiful location, make sure that you take all of your trash and belongings away with you at the end of the day and leave no trace! Being careful with garbage is especially important as not only can it attract bears, but it can also kill these beautiful animals if ingested.
The Waterfalls at Sandcut Beach
There is a waterfall at Sandcut Beach, which you can reach by heading left for a couple of hundred meters once arriving on the beach from the trail. There are many clusters of fallen trees and enchanting driftwood along the way.
One of the best things about the waterfalls here is that the sandstone is undercut, so if you crouch you can actually slide in behind the falling water. You may get a little bit damp, but peering out from behind the crashing sheets of water is well worth it. If you fancied a little bit of extra adrenaline, you can also find a swing at one of the falls!
There are a plethora of beautiful spots for capturing the beauty of this end of the beach from different angles. One particularly nice place is a rock formation at the end of the beach where you can clamber up to be rewarded by a stunning panoramic bird’s eye view of the surrounding beach, cliffs, and rolling waves.
How to Get to Sandcut Beach
To enjoy Sandcut Beach, it will be necessary for you to make a small hike from the trailhead car park. However, even if you are not the trekking sort, do not fear. The walk is only around half a kilometer each way and will reward your efforts with near-mystical scenery along the way.
To get to the Sandcut Beach car parking lot, you will need to leave Highway 14 around 7 kilometers to the west of Shirley. This should only be about a 10-minute drive. If you are coming from further afield, it is 25 kilometers west of Sooke and 65 kilometers from Victoria. These will take you 30 minutes and one hour 15 minutes, respectively.
When you come in from the east, you will pass French Beach Provincial Park (which boasts a deservedly popular and accessible family beach location and campground), and then Point No Point Resort. After these, you will see a sign for Sandcut Creek shortly afterward.
The parking lot at Sandcut Beach does fill up to capacity occasionally, but you should be able to find a parking space with little trouble along the nearby highway if this happens.
Since you are going to be leaving the car and taking a short walk, we would advise you to never leave any valuables in the car while you are gone.
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
Vancouver Island Hiking: