The sheer height above the canyon makes the Loss Creek Suspension Bridge one of the best views along the Juan de Fuca Marine trail. The longest suspension bridge on the trail stretches out one hundred feet and sits even higher above Loss Creek. The view from the suspension bridge looks down at a carved-out island sitting on the edge of the Juan de Fuca Strait at the mouth of the river.
What to Expect
Often compared to the West Coast Trail but with easier access. The Juan de Fuca Marine Trail is a rugged 47-kilometre hike along the southwest coast of Vancouver Island and should be on every overnight backcountry hiker’s bucket list.
What makes the Juan de Fuca Trail unique is the easy access points along the highway, making this spectacular trail a good choice for shorter day hikes. There are popular spots along the Juan de Fuca, like Sombrio and Mystic Beach and the day hikes can be just as spectacular.
Parking and Amenities
Loss Creek trailhead is a basic, lesser-used access point to the Juan de Fuca Trail, the entrance is an old decommissioned logging road and is hidden along Highway 14 just past the Loss Creek and the Jack Elliot Bridge.
Along the highway, you will find enough room to pull over, but the parking lot and this section of the trail have no amenities, so be sure to come prepared.
On the way back you’ll find a fork in the trail about 200 metres from the bridge and it’s easy to miss. Follow the ribbons, or you may end up putting in some extra steps!
The head of the trail is not marked other than the bright yellow gate closing the old logging road off to vehicles. The hike starts off easy and flat for your first kilometre and a half as you make your way along the logging road. You’ll see a sign indicating that you’ve met with the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail from the Sombrio Beach section.
Continue heading southwest, note that the trail becomes more challenging as you descend toward Loss Creek.
Most of this area has been heavily logged throughout the last century, and this hike has a little bit of everything from younger trees to a few old-growth trees that somehow survived.
Walking along the ridge and looking through the forest gives a unique look at the diversity of the land, and you can see quite far through the thinned-out forest.
As the elevation drops and you make your way down, you can’t miss the giant old-growth tree that is completely hollowed out, the center is big enough that you can walk through it.
As you get closer to the shoreline, you can hear the waves in the distance and you can peek through the trees to see the bridge hanging over the river.
Built-in the late 1990s as part of the Juan de Fuca Trail through the Commonwealth Nature Legacy, commemorating the 1994 Victoria Commonwealth Games. The suspension bridge is 100 feet in the air, offering a great photo opportunity to look at the mouth of the Loss Creek River as it opens up to the Juan de Fuca Strait.
In winter, you can get a slight glimpse of a 100 foot waterfall. The trail is located on the west side of the creek just before you cross the bridge.
Keep your eyes peeled, as it’s not very well marked, but as you duck down through the overgrowth, making your way through the shrubs, it opens up a little. Make your way over fallen trees towards the cliff but be careful as the edge goes from 0 to 100-foot drop very quickly. Through the trees and the branches, you can see this narrow waterfall crashing over the cliff on the other side of Loss Creek. Unfortunately, getting a great view is hard as the shrubs and trees are pretty thick.
As you head back to the bridge, cross over and follow the trail for just over a kilometre through muddy trails up and over a few ridges. An access point to the shore has fantastic photo opportunities of fallen rocks, cliffs and beach views. Be sure to go at low tide if you want to access the beach.
It’s all uphill from here and a bit of a slog, but the natural beauty removes some of the aches and pains as you head back uphill from the bridge. Keep an eye on the trail ribbons, 200 metres after the bridge, it’s easy to take the wrong route. There’s one corner that is easy to miss (I’ve done it twice). Pick the wrong trail and you will end up at the top of the wrong ridge, it’s not the end of the world but a great way to get in extra steps, elevation and waist time.
The Loss Creek suspension bridge is a perfect hiking spot for day hikers, especially those looking for a trail less challenging than other sections of the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail.
It’s not easy, but the trail offers a range of experiences that make it fun for any hiker and will finish off strong with a fantastic view at the end.
Be sure to pack accordingly and come prepared with all the essentials, as there are no amenities along the loss creek trailhead of the Juan de Fuca Trail.
Happy Hiking! :)
Twenty minutes up Highway 14 you’ll find the small village of Port Renfrew with a few restaurants, bed and breakfasts and campgrounds. Complete the whole loop to tick the Pacific Marine Circle Route off your Bucket List.
Are there washrooms at Loss Creek?
This parking lot and section of the trail have no washrooms.
Cell Coverage: As of August 2023 there is cell coverage for Shaw and Rogers users but as for Telus and Bell users the service is not great, most likely reaching American towers.
Are dogs allowed?
Dogs are allowed on the trail, be cautious, as there is wildlife in the area, including bears and cougars. This section of trail is not as challenging for dogs, but there are drastic drops along the canyon by the bridge.
How challenging is the trail?
This section of the Juan de Fuca is less challenging than others, but it doesn’t mean it’s easy. After you pass the logging road, elevation drops, and the trail is less stable.
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Tide and Seasonal Safety:
Changing seasons and tides can have a drastic effect on most locations on Vancouver Island. Please be cautious as the information in this post may vary depending on the time of year and weather. Make sure to check for current weather and tide information before you make your journey!
When visiting the beach, it’s essential to pay attention and stay safe! Please be cautious walking on the shore during high tide. At this time, some areas may not be accessible. Click here for the tides in your area. Be aware of ocean currents before swimming, paddle boarding or kayaking.
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