Mystic Beach is located at the east end of the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. This somewhat challenging hiking trail has so much to offer for nature lovers and adventure seekers.
As one of the area’s most scenic beaches, located along the shores of the Juan de Fuca Strait, Mystic beach is a popular night stay for the many who take on the 47 km Juan de Fuca Marine Trail to Port Renfrew. However, many come just for the day, as Mystic Beach makes for an excellent spot for taking in the rugged Vancouver Island coastline and exploring tidal pools, waterfalls, and even small sea caves.
Being known as one of the most beautiful beaches in Canada has its downfalls during the summer months, and on the weekends, parking can be a little tight and fill up by mid-morning.
There are two lots. The first, on the right, gives the easiest access to Mystic Beach. The second parking lot is perfect for the trail down to China Beach.
The gravelled parking lots are a decent size, and the Mystic Beach parking lot has two outhouses that are conveniently located in the center.
The Mystic Beach trail starts off nice and easy, as the sign starts you off on your journey, and the trail kilometre markers start. It only takes a few steps before it goes from flat and gravelled to a well-used dirt trail navigating over roots, around fallen trees and through puddles. You smile to yourself and take it all in as part of the adventure.
Follow the red markers as they guide you through the trees on the 2km walk to the beach. Expect a 45 min hike with 150 meters in elevation change. There are a couple of smaller creeks to navigate, and the suspension bridge over Pete Wolfe Creek is always a favourite.
The elevation change mostly comes as you get closer to the beach. Navigating around the muddier section of the trail, you will reach the top of two sets of uneven stairs, the second carved from a rather large, old tree. Be careful; the stairs have seen better days and are slippery when wet.
The trail can be muddy and challenging, but when you reach the beach and take a deep breath, you realize it was well worth the trek.
Sensory overload! As you descend the last few steps, the beach is within sight. Large driftwood logs and waves crash onto a mix of sand and pebbles. Like any west coast beach, the sights and smells can be worth the hike but look to the left, there above the beach is the famous waterfall dropping off the sandstone cliff into the water below, and at low tide, it’s possible to get right up to it.
Even at low tide, you can only go a little further past the waterfall, but you can head up the beach in the other direction, where you’ll find the backcountry camping spots, an outhouse and the access point to the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail.
Another benefit of visiting during low tide is walking through the large sea cave at the far end of Mystic Beach and singing on the rope swing.
Mystic Beach hike gives you a great sample of the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail. Stay for the day or the night, keep on trekking, and start building a lifetime of memories.
Try to go at low tide to get access to the sea cave, rope swing and waterfall. It’s still a beautiful beach low or high tide.
Toilets at the parking lot and on the beach. No running water.
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.
Two decent-sized parking lots shared with China Beach could fit a small RV if it’s not busy.
By Car –
An hour and a half from Victoria, Mystic Beach is just past Jordan River, about halfway between Sooke and Port Renfrew, in the Juan de Fuca Provincial Park. The two parking lots offer easy access. China Beach trailhead is located at the eastern end of the lower parking lot. In the upper parking lot, you will find the Mystic Beach trail access. Outhouses are located lower parking lot and at the beach. Directions – Google Maps
Take a Bus –
Planning an overnight hike along the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail? Need a way to get to the trail or back to your car? West Coast Trail Express offers a daily trail bus in the summer and every second day in the winter. Leaving Victoria and stopping at Sooke, China Beach/Mystic Beach, Sombrio and Port Renfrew.
As a designated campsite along the Juan de Fuca trail, camping is allowed on the beach at Mystic Beach. A backcountry camping permit is required and must be pre-purchased before camping at Mystic Beach.
If you do not want to camp on the beach, another option might be a small forested campground just down the highway from the trailhead. The China Beach Campground has large private spots with a fire pit and picnic table. The campground has pit toilets and potable water taps only 1km from the shore.
IS THE TRAIL OKAY FOR SMALL KIDS?
The trail can be muddy and somewhat challenging. 5+ should be fine.
IS THERE A WATERFALL IN SUMMER?
Depending on the time of year, in late summer, the waterfall can be a slight trickle.
ARE BEACH FIRES ALLOWED?
yes, they should be built below the high tide line
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We love Vancouver Island and want to keep the natural beauty. Please respect the places you visit and pack out what you pack in and leave the area better than when you arrived. We all know how much trash can spoil an experience and the environment, so please help us keep it clean!
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.
We would like to acknowledge the land we appreciate daily within the 50 First Nations that make up the traditional territories of the Coast Salish, Nuu chah nulth, and Kwakiutl–the first peoples of Vancouver Island .
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