While driving up to Sooke Potholes, there is a short 10-20 minute walk just off Sooke River Road. The 400-meter path takes you along Charters Creek, over two walking bridges along salmon ponds and through some magnificent old-growth trees and ferns blanketing the forest floor with a Jurassic Park vibe.
You will find yourself between the Charters River and the man-made channel built as part of a salmon habitat restoration project in 2013. The nature trail was built to allow viewers an educational opportunity to observe the salmon spawning activities. Throughout the walk, you will cross bridges and visit education stations with information on the local salmon and the restoration project.
Charters Creek was chosen as the first salmon habitat restoration project in the area to stabilize the water supply and create spawning beds close to the Sooke River. Many creeks and rivers in the area dry up during the summer months. To prevent a loss of fish from low water levels in Charters Creek, a landmark agreement with CRD Water Services Commission allows water to be released from the Charters Reservoir upstream in the dry months to sustain life in the river bed.
1.5 HA running from Charters River northward was leased to The Salmon Restoration Society by the Capital Regional District when the CRD acquired a block of land from Western Forest Products. The Society has made good use of the property, building an interpretive center, and with the Sooke Salmon, Enhancement Society building the Jack Brooks Hatchery that raises up to 700,000 salmon eggs a year.
We recommend you take the small turnout just before the Charters Creek bridge alongside Sooke River Road for access to the Charters Creek trail. There’s a larger parking lot just over the bridge at the Salmon Enhancement Society, but this parking lot will leave you on the wrong side of the river, making it a little more difficult to access the trail.
The trail is short, easy and beautiful. You will make your way over a couple of bridges and pass old-growth trees, all while walking along a babbling creek it’s a great place to visit any time of the year.
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