VIBL logo Vancouver Island Bucket List horz wht
VANCOUVER ISLAND - Where to Next?
970x90-Booking-Vancouver
320x50-Booking-Vancouver
Hike

Where to next on Vancouver Island: Priest Cabin Park Trail

•  Moderate-Strenuous
•  Shirley
Time:
1hr
Length:
2.7km (1.7mi)

Activity:

Hiking Icon
View point icon
abandon building icon

Accessibility:

Dogs on leash Icon

A Short & Challenging Hike with Fantastic Views

728x90-Palli-Banner-Ad
320x50-Palli-Banner-Ad

Priest Cabin Park Trail Photos:

The Priest Cabin Park is situated only 1km beyond French Beach Provincial Park and is a lesser-known property managed by the CRD. The natural 17-acre park features a 1.7km out-and-back trail that offers a spectacular view and boasts the ruins of a cabin built by a Jesuit Priest (which is how the park got its name) but was never completed.

Parking

There is no marked parking lot, so it is best to park just off West Coast Road at the start of Cedar Coast Dr before the gate. There is room along the side and within a turn-around loop. There won’t be enough room if you are towing a trailer. Note – the gate does get locked, so parking at the entrance is highly recommended.

Beyond the gate, it’s private property, noted by the large contradicting sign that says to keep out and enter at your own risk. Stay on the road until you reach the trailhead and head to the CRD public property.

Priest Cabin Community Park Trailhead

After leaving the parking lot, make your way up the gradual incline of the logging road for about 200 meters. On your right, you will see the well-marked trailhead. You can’t miss the signs stating that there is no alcohol, campfires, smoking, motorized vehicles and camping allowed in the park.

 

The Trail

Elevation Gain: 165 m (514ft) in 1km
Grade: up to 21% in some spots
Distance: 2.4km (from the trailhead)
Time: 1hr

The trail is well-used and easy to follow. You will climb the whole way up through a lush, thick young forest from the trailhead to the top. The trail narrows and crisscrosses up the hill with one very short partial scramble. The path is not difficult; take it slow and be prepared for elevation gain.

All Trails Link – Priest Cabin

Priest Cabin Trail Map

Directions via Google Map

Reach the top, and oh, that view

The effort is worth it as you reach the top, it flattens out, and the remains of the log cabin come into view. The 14’x18′ bunk house is set into the trees a few meters away from the lookout to protect it from the wind and rain.
Hiked to the top of Priest Cabin trail and look out over the Juan de Fuca Strait and French Beach during a sunrise in August

As you pass by the wood structure, it’s just a few more steps down the trail, and everything opens up. You will come up to a conveniently added bench, allowing you to catch your breath as you sit and take in the view of the beautiful Juan de Fuca Strait and the extended beach that makes French Beach Provincial Park such a popular stop for visitors.

The trail ends here, but you can walk along the opening and head to the left for another view looking back at the hills and forests.

Overall the Priest Cabin Hike is a great one to add to your list if you are staying at French Beach Campground or in the area and have limited time but what to get a quick hike in. Priest Cabin Park offers a challenging climb with a great payoff and view.

Artisan's-Gardens-728x90-Leaderboard
Artisan's-Garden-320x50-Mobile-Leaderboard
DISCOVER MORE
the best spots directly in your inbox

Unsubscribe anytime. For more details, review our Privacy Policy.

Winter vs Summer

I have visited the Priest Cabin Park trail on two occasions, once in December and then again more recently in August. Both visits were thoroughly enjoyable, and I would like to share their differences and what to expect on this trail, depending on the season.

Summer

As I woke up very early in the morning, I had the ideal experience planned. In my head, it was going to be the perfect picture opportunity. I was going to get to the bottom of Priest Cabin Trail in the dark, walk up and as I get up to the top, it will be perfect timing to watch the golden rays of the rising sun brighten up the hills and onto French Beach.

In reality, I forgot one important fact about living on the west coast, most mornings start with heavy fog and low visibility. I quickly realized this as I began to gain elevation, hiking in the dark and I heard the dew droplets that sounded like light rain as my glasses promptly fogged up.

As I get to the top and the morning light brightens the path, I look over the hill to see absolutely nothing. The only thing I could do was wait, pour myself a coffee and hope that the morning sun would burn off the fog.

About a half hour after the sun rose, I could start seeing signs of the shoreline, and within another twenty minutes, the fog started clearing out, revealing the blue sky, glowing trees and all of French Beach down below.

Although things didn’t go as planned, what a morning it was the perfect way to start the day with no distractions, a cup of coffee with a view looking over one of the best places in the world, and I was able to get some beautiful photos of the sun gleaming off the trees and cabin and the blue water of the Juan de Fuca Strait.

Winter

The trail itself in winter is similar. It’s steep enough that the water doesn’t pool and the trail is protected from the elements due to the thick forest canopy. During our hike in December, the path was still covered by fallen leaves from the autumn and although the trail was damp there was very little mud.

During winter, it is unlikely to have clear blue skies, but the cloud cover is generally high. However, there is still a good possibility of seeing across the Juan de Fuca Strait.

Upon reaching the summit, the weather can be blustery and damp, however during our hike it was calm. We could distinctly hear the sound of the winter waves crashing against the shoreline, it was so clear and crisp that it was difficult to fathom that French Beach was only two kilometres away.

 

The History of the Cabin

Priest Cabin

The park is named after Father Sherburne, a Jesuit Priest who, in 1981 made an agreement with Merrill & Ring Company (the land owners at the time) allowing him to build a Forest Warden’s Cabin and a shed on the property using logs and stone available on site. The plan was to gradually build a retirement residence over the next 6-10 years.

The cabin was never completed. With the changing local development, a new road and increasing vandalism, the site no longer offered the solitude the Jesuit Priest sought.

 

The History of Priest Cabin From the Rural Observer

728x90-Booking-Vancouver
320x50-Booking-Vancouver

Gear Tips For Vancouver Island

THE NORTH FACE women's waterproof antora jacket sq
THE NORTH FACE Women's
Waterproof Antora Jacket
North face mens antora Rain Hoodie black sq
THE NORTH FACE Men's
Antora Rain Hoodie
Helly Hansen Mens seven J waterproof rain coat sq
Helly Hansen Men's
Breathable Rain Coat
Polygon 32 oz waterbottle sq
32oz Water Bottle
for Fitness and Outdoor
Osprey Sportlite 20 Hiking Backpack sq
Osprey Sportlite 20
Hiking Backpack
adventure first aid kit
Adventure Medical Kit
Ultralight and Watertight

When you’re gearing up for an outdoor adventure on Vancouver Island, the key is to dress in layers, no matter the season. The island’s weather can throw curveballs, with conditions varying significantly from the sheltered forests to the breezy coastlines.

For those cool winter escapades, your go-to should include quality rain gear, topped off with a cozy beanie or toque, and a pair of light gloves to keep the chill at bay.

Summer explorers, don’t be fooled by the warmer temps; that same waterproof shell that kept you dry in the winter will be your best friend against the cool ocean breezes.

Remember, the right clothing and gear can make or break your outdoor experience on Vancouver Island, ensuring you enjoy every moment, come rain or shine.

Advertise-with-us-300x250-Medium-Rectangle
Huntingdon Manor Hotel Victoria BC
breakfast-coffee-and-croissant-icon-single
spa-massage-icon-single
camping-icon-wifi
pet-dog-friendly-icon-single
Shopping and dining on Government Street are 1 km from The Huntingdon...
Swans Brewery Pub and Hotel
camping-icon-wifi
icon directory food
This all-suite hotel is located in Old Town Victoria, 5 minutes' walk...
the beacon Inn at Sidney
breakfast-coffee-and-croissant-icon-single
romantic-heart-icon-single
camping-icon-wifi
Wonderful location in Sidney and 10 minute’s drive from the Victoria ...
Wild Coast Wilderness Resort
kitchen-icon-single
patio-outdoor-space-icon-single
camping-icon-wifi
pet-dog-friendly-icon-single
Located in the center of Port Renfrew, Wild Coast Wilderness Resort b...
300x600-All-Trails
Vancouver Island Guides & Maps
snorkelling Adventures Vancouver Island
Snorkelling Adventures Around Vancouver Island
lonely planet
Vancouver & Victoria - Lonely Planet
adventure road map
Vancouver Island Folded Map
Back road maps
Backroad Map - Vancouver Island

Discover new places and find your way around Vancouver Island. Many areas do not have cell service so maps and guidebooks can be very helpful for the curious.

Experience The Area
Full Melt Fishing Charters fishing rod
You’re likely to go after Chinook Salmon, Coho Salmon, Pink Salmon,...
c8
There is no better way to discover Denman and Hornby Island than on...
8b
Try sailing, the perfect 4-hour sailing adventure on the Strait of ...
Goin Coastal Fishing Charters catch
Goin Coastal Fishing Charters runs amazing trips out of Sooke, BC, ...

Did we miss something?
Have more to add?

Original Author:

Modified: January 3, 2024
Last Visit: August 4, 2023

Thank you for visiting – I hope you found the information you were looking for at VIBL (Vancouver Island Bucket List) please continue to discover all of the great places that makes Vancouver Island so great! 

Adrena-Line-970x90-Large-Leaderboard
Adrena-Line-320x50-Mobile-Leaderboard

Pack Out:
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!

Wildlife:
Vancouver Island is a land of natural beauty and abundant wildlife. Please be aware of your surroundings and take the usual precautions for personal and wildlife safety.
Black bears, cougars and even wolves are common on Vancouver Island for more on Wildlife Safety Click Here 

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! Click here for the tides in your area. 

Be aware of ocean currents before swimming, paddle boarding or kayaking.

Land Acknowledgement:
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 .

Disclaimer:
The information on this website should not be taken as accurate, complete or up-to-date. Please check and look into the information yourself. We do not assume any liabilities for the use of this information. It is unreasonable to rely solely upon the information from this website. 

Submit a change suggestion:

max of 4 images
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email