Jan 16, 2013 at 2:44 pm #1298108
I'm travelling to a meeting in Sydney, BC, next month and am considering the option of coming in a day or two early and doing a little hiking. I would love any and all suggestions on things to do. If I rent a car, are they any nice day hikes in big trees anyone can recommend? Or, is it worth spending a day driving around, maybe hanging out at a beach? I've been to Victoria once, but never to Sydney or beyond.Jan 19, 2013 at 12:03 am #1945191
@skopeoLocale: British Columbia
I just saw this post… here are a few suggestions that vary considerably in driving distance and trail distance (you didn't say anything about time/distance constraints) but I'm assuming day hiking.
If you want to stay close to Sidney:
Try Gowlland Tod Provincial Park. If you are looking for a short but very nice hike try the McKenzie Bight trail. If you want something longer just pick any trail that runs down the length of the park (all provide pretty nice walking in this park).
If you are looking for a beach nearby Sidney, head for Island View Beach.
If you don't mind a bit of a drive, head for Goldstream Park. For a short but interesting hike, walk up Mount Finlayson and/or walk to the estuary . For a bit longer hike, cross the road and ramble along the Gold Mine Trail (make sure you check out the Railway Trestle).
If you don't mind driving for a couple of hours and want something a bit wilder/remote, try East Sooke Park or the Juan de Fuca trail (JDF). The JDF is a thru hike, so either check out the short piece of trail from China Beach to Mystic Beach or walk in and explore Botanical Beach and a section of the trail that leads from that trail-head.
Edit to add: Mandatory to bring good rain gear!Jan 19, 2013 at 7:38 am #1945223
Thanks! I have to be in a hotel in Sidney by Monday night, so I was thinking about flying in Sunday and staying an extra night. That would give me Sunday afternoon and all day Monday to do something. It seems I will have to rent a car regardless of what I do, so the big decision is whether I should spend the day hiking, or driving somewhere and doing more hanging out. I love wild beaches, do you think it would be reasonable to drive to Port Renfrew or Ucluelet (or Sooke) and stay overnight there and maybe do a little hanging out by the Pacific? Or would my time be better spent hiking more local to Sidney.
I could even come in Saturday. I don't really want to spend too much extra money, but it may be worth it…Jan 19, 2013 at 8:39 am #1945236
I would do one of:
1) China beach (on Juan de Fuca trail) – about 3km (2mi) each way from TH. Beautiful. Neat waterfall over the escarpment.
2) Botanical beach (northern terminus of JDF) – shorter hike in, near Port Renfrew. Wonderful area. Maybe less remote than China, but there's more coast line to explore.
3) Carmanah – Where do I start…..the drive in (several hours on logging roads) is poor and rough, but that's what a rental car is for. It might be 4 hrs from Sydney (total guess). The park is amazing. Empty, vast old growth cathedral of huge trees, ferns and moss – barely saved from logging in the 80's/90's. The trail is actually in relatively good shape too with a few kms any direction from the TH. No one will be there. Home to the biggest tree in Canada (Carmanah Giant). Surreal. Spend a night.
Jan 28, 2013 at 1:00 pm #1948088
Hey folks. Thanks for all the great comments. First off, to the person that PM'd me a while back. Sorry, things got really really busy at work and now I can't find the link to PM you back. But the day I have free on Vancouver Island is Feb. 18 (I fly in that Sunday, and have Monday free). I am very tempted to try the logging roads and see the biggest Sitka Spruce, but am a bit chicken too…so I think I will go to China Beach. I'm thinking I'll have to come back with the kids for a week-long vacation. There seems to be a whole load of great stuff to do and see.Feb 1, 2013 at 8:33 pm #1949882
@thestuLocale: Victoria, BC
A little late, but another vote for any of the many things to see and do between Sooke and Port Renfrew in Juan de Fuca park. If you have the time my second vote would be for Mt. Finlayson, which was already mentioned. It's a great climb and some really gorgeous forest too.Feb 21, 2013 at 11:57 am #1956950
Hey folks, thanks again for your suggestions. I ran into one small problem: when I got to the car rental place, they told me my drivers' license was expired and I couldn't rent a car. Sure enough, it was. So, I took the bus out of Sidney to John Dean Provincial Park, and spent most of the day wandering around there in a light drizzle. There was maybe one other person in the park the whole day, and it was great just to wander aimlessly amongst the doug firs and spruce.
I'm slightly bummed I couldn't make it to the coast, but still it was a fun day, and next time I'll come back with a valid drivers' license and my family.
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