Sandcut Beach is just one of the many beautiful beaches found along this stretch of the Juan de Fuca Strait. The beach has an unusual little waterfall dropping down from sandstone cliffs into rocks before disappearing beneath the smooth wave-washed baseball-sized pebbles.
Sandcut Beach is a favourite day trip along Vancouver Island’s southern west coast. Just past French Beach Provincial Park, the hour-long drive from Victoria, on West Coast Rd. Access to the beach from a small parking lot just alongside the highway makes this destination worth visiting any time of the year!
Part of the Jordan River Regional Park Sandcut Beach offers a great hike, a beautiful beach walk, and a waterfall that splits into two as it breaks over the sandstone cliff. In summer, walk above the waterfalls to explore the dried-up riverbed.
The 400 Meter hike down to Sandcut Beach is beautiful all on its own. With lush greenery in abundance thanks to old-growth cedar trees, ferns and moss. Notice the traces from the old logging industry using the springboard method to chop down trees; the giant stumps now resemble faces sprinkled throughout the forest.
Unlike other stops along West Coast road, Sandcut Beach isn’t about the beach as much as the walk to the beach and the waterfall. Of course, you will still find wonderful views, wildlife and a great beach.
Amenities: There is a pit toilet in the parking lot
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.
Parking: Small parking lot but well maintained right on the highway
Along the way, you may find some slippery conditions during the rainy season, but with boardwalks keeping you above the low-lying areas, this shouldn’t pose too much of an issue! The hike to the beach is a family-friendly walk, not too challenging. Although there are stairs and an elevation change of 34 meters, be prepared for the walk back up.
Once you reach the beach, there’s a beautiful view of the Olympic Mountains across Juan de Fuca Strait. This body of water is famous for whale watching; keep your eyes open for seals sunning themselves and try to spot bald eagles looking for their next meal!
Once you reach the beach, you will turn left to head to the famous waterfall. Some might find the walk along the wave-swept pebble beach a little challenging, but the 400-meter hike to the waterfall is well worth it.
Although the waterfall is only a few meters high, it’s pretty unique for the area. The ocean waves eroded the sandstone cliffs from underneath the creek, causing it to abruptly end, flowing over the edge into the pool that disappears under the pebble rocks at the foot of the waterfall.
The waterfall offers a new experience every time you visit. The constant war between the ocean and the river. The rocky beach levels out from high tides and storms and the river counteracts with high flows after heavy rains digging out large craters directly under the falls.
Get close to the sandstone cliffs or take a look at the ledges under the waterfall. You will find signs of fossils of shells and sea life that have been locked into the cement-like rock formed millions of years ago.
There are a few areas to explore, walk further down the beach along the sandstone cliffs and look for more fossils and at low tide and walk in between the large black rock outcrops to find small coves of soft sand.
Our favourite thing to do is to climb up to the top of the falls and wander back, following the creek into the forest. The alien landscape is quite remarkable. It feels like you are on the set of a movie or a ride at Disneyland.
No matter the time of year the waterfalls at Sandcut Beach are worth the visit but may have a different experience.
In winter, there is a lot more runoff and the amount of water coming over the waterfall is much higher due to the rain. The powerful waterfalls pools below and often has a small river running into the ocean.
During the strong winter storms, the waves move the pebbles against the bank, filling in the cavities and causing the waterfalls to be a bit shorter. Climbing up above the waterfall becomes more difficult to explore as the and wide creek limits the areas you can walk.
In summer, you will still find water flowing but it will be more of a trickle as the water disipears into the pebbles below. Although the waterfall is less impressive the dry conditions allow for easy exploring as cimbing up above the falls becomes much easier. Walk around the dried up riverbed past the bridge exploring and jumping over the small pools and meandring water.
ARE FIRES ALLOWED
Beach fires and camping are not allowed on this beach.
HOW FAR OF WALK TO THE WATERFALL?
From the parking lot, the waterfall is just under 1km. Plan for a 2km walk, but it does feel further.
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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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