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Drone photo of Whiffin Spit walk in Sooke Vancouver Island

Whiffin Spit

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Activity:
Walk
Difficulty:
Easy
Location:
Sooke
Time:
30min -1 hr
Distance:
2.7km (1.7mi)

Activity:

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Accessibility:

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All ages elderly Icon
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Highlights Include:

Info Map

Whiffin Spit - Easy walk with Sooke Harbour Views

Whiffin Spit is a popular Sooke hike found on the edge of town. A beautiful spot for photos, fresh air and bird watching. The small natural peninsula offers a nice easy walking trail with unique charm. Separating the beautiful Sooke Harbour from the rough waters of the Juan de Fuca Strait framed by the Olympic Mountains.

Whiffin Spit

Separating the beautiful harbour from the rough waters of the Juan de Fuca Strait framed by the Olympic Mountains. There are many reasons to visit Whiffin Spit, but the views of Sooke Basin and the spectacular backdrop of the American Olympic mountains peaking over the Juan de Fuca Strait make it worth your while. Add in wildlife, driftwood, sunrise and sunsets it’s a popular spot for photographers and bird watchers.

Being dog-friendly, the locals take advantage of this open park. The area is well travelled; however, most visitors stay on the trail, a full parking lot won’t stop you from finding a quiet spot on the beach or a bench away from the crowds.

This easy 2.7km walk will take you along a flat gravel path with ocean views on both sides, weaving along rocky beaches and lapping waves. At the end of the trail, you’ll find a small lighthouse and a glimpse of Vancouver Island’s history spotted along the trail. During most of the 20th century, the area was the ideal location to build up the lumber and fishing industries.

As you get to near the end, you will reach a large driftwood fort that is topped off with a small Canadian Flag. The two-room fort has even been featured in many videos including Stealth Camper Steve Wallis. In the area around the fort, you may notice some cement pilings left from a salmon cannery, the remanence of past commercial industries.

Tips and Suggestions

Dress For A Breeze: The temperature change by a few degrees on the drive down from Sooke. Add in an ocean breeze, and this Sooke walk can be cooler than you might think.

Parking: Busy parking lot, not enough room for RV. It’s a small parking lot, but even if it looks full, it doesn’t take long for someone to finish their walk. Cars are coming and going every few minutes. If it’s hectic, street parking is available just up the hill.

Amenities: Pit toilet, water fountain, dog fountain, garbage cans and bike rack.

Getting There: This Sooke walk is 40km southwest of Victoria on hwy 14. The turn-off is easy to miss.
Drive through Sooke on Hwy 14 (West Coast Road). You will turn south onto Whiffin Spit Rd. The sign is small and hidden, so keep your eyes open. An easier sign to see is the Sooke Harbour House, located next to the park.

What To Expect

Wildlife
You never know what you might see out on the spit. Harbour seals, geese, small crabs and herons are common but always keep your eyes open for the chance to see orcas, eagles and owls.

Amenities
At the entrance is a water fountain and bottle filler, plus a dog fountain and a bike rack.
As you walk down the path, many great resting locations with benches are provided to take in the views.
Trash bins along the path and doggie bags are provided at the entrance.
There are pit toilets at the parking lot beside the small park and another one halfway down the trail.

Small Hidden Green Space
Off to the side of the parking lot, you’ll find a small park with two carvings hidden away. Commemorating the first voyage into the strait in 1790 by a European ship flying the flag of Spain under the command of Manuel Quimper.
The Second Carving is in tribute to the T’Su-ke people who thrived in the area with abundant food from the river, sea and forest.

"This is an amazing and beautiful coastal walk between the ocean and Sooke harbour. We walked to the end and back and have seen seals that caught a fish in front of us. It was amazing. It's about a 30 minutes drive from Victoria in Sooke but it's worth it."

History of Whiffin Spit

A spit is a natural break that occurs due to the abrupt change in the coastline and the prevailing winds blowing at an angle to the coastline. This results in longshore drift formed from material and sediment depositing over time.

Legends say the spit was originally a lookout post for the T’Souke Nation protecting their large community and abundant food sources.

The Spanish were the first Europeans to visit the area in 1790. Over the last century, the spit has been the home to sawmills, fish trap pilings storage and a fish reduction plant. There was a cabin at the end of the spit when built by a retired whaler, who lived on the spit until the 1940s.

On your walk, you may see the ruins of a leftover foundation from the Reduction Plant operated by the Standfast Bible Students, just past the far washrooms and close to the driftwood pile fort.
In 1907 repairs were completed, the south side of the Spit you can spot the old breakwater pilings. In 1995 the larger rock breakwater was added to help control erosion for the park.

Christmas Tree? If you happen to be visiting Sooke during the Christmas season, you might find a nice surprise on Whiffin Spit. Since 1995 there has been a festive tradition, decorating a single tree with local handmade kids crafts and colourful Christmas decorations.

Polar Bear Swim – January 1st is celebrated by the annual Polar Bear Swim that’s hosted by the Otter Point Fire Department

Surfing at the Spit – It’s not a common surfing location but during winter storms, surfers have been spotted taking advantage of easy access to the waves at Whiffin Spit.

Whiffin Spit hike map

Should you visit Whiffin Spit?

If you find yourself in Sooke for a day or two, Whiffin Spit is pretty much a given. This easy hike is the perfect way to spend an hour or two, the part of the day you need to fill while on vacation or away for the weekend. It’s a quick and easy walk that is unique whether you are from the island or visiting abroad.

Helpful links:

 

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FAQ:

How long is Whiffin Spit?
An easy walk 2.7km or 1.7mi

Can you swim at Whiffin Spit
Whiffin Spit is mostly a rocky beach, you can find one small area with sand. You rarely see swimmers with exceptions on New Year’s day for the Polar Bear Plunge.

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Original Author:

Modified: May 17, 2023
Last Visit: April 23, 2023
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Black bears, cougars and even wolves are common on Vancouver Island for more on Wildlife Safety Click Here 

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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!
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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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