May 24, 2018 Drive BC reports that #BCHwy1 #Malahat #Goldstream closed due to a vehicle incident. MuftiVancouver. You can definitely drive the Pacific Marine Circle Route in a single day. Kaatza Station Museum, 125 South Shore Road, Lake Cowichan, BC. 5. ©Taryn Eyton 2014-2021 All Rights Reserved, Places to Stop on the Pacific Marine Circle Route, Avatar Grove, Big Lonely Doug and Port Renfrew’s Big Trees, Click here to get $45 off your first Airbnb stay, Juan de Fuca Provincial Park China Beach Campground, Juan de Fuca Provincial Park Sombrio Beach Campground, Hiking the Big Tree Trail on Meares Island, A post shared by Vancouver Island, Canada (@vancouverislandguide), How to Visit Avatar Grove, Big Lonely Doug and Other Big Trees on Vancouver Island, A post shared by Cowichan Lake Chamber (@cowichanlake), Island Alpine: A trip to Forbidden Plateau, A post shared by The Happy Goat Cheese Company (@happygoatcheese), Four Outdoor Adventures on Galiano Island, Wild Side Trail: Hiking and Camping Guide, 20+ Beautiful Weekend Getaways from Vancouver, Your Guide to the West Coast Trail in British Columbia, Cape Scott Trail Guide: Hiking and Camping on Northern Vancouver Island, Kayaking in the Johnstone Strait: Everything You Need to Know, https://www.chrisistace.com/tofino-road-trip/, From Victoria go west along highway 14 to Port Renfrew, Next, go inland to Lake Cowichan on Pacific Marine Road, Follow the Cowichan River and highway 18 east to Duncan. If you brought camping gear, you can camp overnight. But many of the stops will take you an hour or more, so it’s best to split the trip up over several days. To get to the Sooke Potholes turn right on Sooke River Road. A road with varied landscapes, stops and views, the loop is a popular trek amongst driving enthusiasts. Not much of the Fairy Lake tree was above water during my spring visit. The parking lot is just off the highway. Re: … If you go to Botanical you can also make a short loop and hike to Botany Bay as well. To get to the Botanical Beach and Botany Bay trailhead, turn left on to Cerantes Road where highway 14 dead-ends in front of the Port Renfrew Pub. Slightly further afield is Big Lonely Doug, the world’s second largest Douglas Fir. You could definitely see the highlights in one long day. To get to Shirley Delicious turn left onto Sheringham Point road about 20 minutes past Sooke. For something faster-paced, you can go ziplining with AdrenaLINE Zipline Adventure Tours, or set out on a fishing excursion with True Key Adventures. There’s a campsite there and a short nature trail, but the real star is the internet-famous bansai tree of Fairy Lake. Waking up in Port Renfrew will leave you feeling refreshed and ready to hit the wild road again, but not without a quick detour to visit Avatar Grove (best accessed with a four-wheel-drive vehicle). All rights reserved. You have to go visit! To discover its lovely secrets, one must cultivate a sense of curiosity. An iconic landmark on Vancouver Island, it is one of the tallest free-standing timber trestles in the world. Hi Taryn, Thanks for writing such a great guide. A sand spit over 1km long protects Sooke Harbour. However, all of the trails and beaches on this list allow dogs on a leash. It’s also a thrilling drive—winding roads and steep hills will put your handling skills to the test! The newest edition is the Sesquicentennial Totem in Station Street Park (carved by Tommy Hunt Jr. from the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation) erected to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. Explore the windswept coast in East Sooke Park. We have just written a guide book on this route – The Guide to the Pacific Marine Route by Janis Morrison and Dave Mann; it is available online at Indigo Chapters, BC Ferries and many shops along the route. amzn_assoc_region = "US"; This section of the drive also offers access to some of Vancouver Island’s best beaches within Juan de Fuca Provincial Park; Sombrio, Botanical, China and Mystic Beaches are all great places to pull off, explore tidal pools and take in some fresh ocean air. Photo credit: “Fairy Lake Tree” by Shayne Kaye on Flickr. In the evening, stoke a fire outdoors while you map out the next day’s drive. We have just done the second printing as the first one sold out in less than 6 months. Get the whole story about this historical landmark at the Shawnigan Lake Museum before heading back to the Malahat Highway, with a stop at the Malahat Summit to take in stunning views of the Saanich Inlet and the Cowichan Valley. Slept at Pacheedaht campground near the sea (water and electric hookup). I stayed for three days but I but have liked to remain for a long time, excellent review and guide – thanks Taryn, Taryn, thanks for all the information!! Do you have any idea we can expect from the weather at the end of May? But this quaint seaside community has a lot going for it. After exploring at Botanical Beach, take the loop trail heading west along the coast to Botany Bay. It has a crushed gravel surface that makes it great for easy walks or bike rides. Hi, I’m Taryn! The Pacific Marine Circle Route A good choice for time-pressed foodies, the Pacific Marine Circle Route packs in surf-tossed beaches, old-growth forest, BC's second-largest wine country, some of Canada's best restaurants and all the delights of the capital, all within just a few hours of driving. Thanks for the great post, a lot of wonderful tips in there I am heading to Port Renfrew and doing the Pacific marine Circle this weekend, and was thinking of doing a day hike on a portion of the Juan De Fuca Trail. Cell phone service is spotty or unavailable along this part of the route. I also made a custom, clickable Google map for you with all the stops highlighted! – a charming town on the lake and popular tourist destination for swimming, fishing and (most famously) floating down the Cowichan River on a tube on a hot summer’s day. Located approximately 2 hours northwest of Victoria, the community of Port Renfrew is the welcoming point for this destination. It’s also a thrilling drive—winding roads and steep hills will put your handling skills to the test! There are a few other record setting trees in the area as well including the Harris Creek Spruce, the Red Creek Fir and the San Juan Spruce. . the Trans-Canada Trail. Everything was serene, majestic, soothing. Luckily, Avatar Grove wasn’t the last stop for old-growth forest – lookout for signage for the Harris Creek Spruce (about 20 km outside of Port Renfrew), measuring 4-metres in diameter and approximately 80-feet in height. 59 reviews. The total drive clocks in at a total of 289 km or 179 miles. A minute past the outhouse you’ll see a creek flowing out on to the beach. Great circle route, the shortest course between two points on the surface of a sphere.It lies in a plane that intersects the sphere’s centre and was known by mathematicians before the time of Columbus. Save time and take the scenic route by driving onto the. Explore the historic West Coast of Vancouver Island with the Pacific Marine Circle Tour. The speed limit along most of the highway is 100 km/h (62 mph). Hi Shane, Yes it’s true that the section from Port Renfrew to Lake Cowichan does pass a lot of active logging. There’s lots more info on the TrailsBC website. The total drive clocks in at a total of 289 km or 179 miles. Niagara Falls in Goldstream Provincial Park. Is the road from Port Renfrew to Sooke in good shape and are log trucks a concern? Wondering if you have recommendations of places to stop along the drive from SSI and Tofino. MuftiVancouver. bit.ly/2KNCVwj Please visit www.drivebc.ca or follow @DriveBC on Twitter for the latest information. It may be signed for Sombio Beach but often the sign is missing. amzn_assoc_ad_type = "smart"; The archipelago is a hazardous traffic median in the great circle route, the shortest path between ports on either side of the North Pacific. “When you drift out of the circle, which has a radius of 2 miles, you start your engine and go back to the middle of the circle,” explained Louttit. 76,656 posts. I am visiting Salt Spring and Vancouver Islands this July. From Victoria, go as fast or as slow as you’d like, meandering through the winding roads into Sooke (only about a 45-minute drive from Downtown Victoria). To learn more about how cookies are used and how you can manage them, please visit our Privacy Centre for more information. References. I know this will be a long day, but it really sounds like it will also be a fantastic day. Have you already been? In the evening, stoke a fire outdoors while you map out the next day’s drive. Read More. Destination Expert. On my road trip on the Pacific Marine Circle Route they were closed by the time we drove by in the early evening so I haven’t actually tried it Next time for sure though – I’ve heard sooo many good things! Report inappropriate content . A road with varied landscapes, stops and views, the loop is a popular trek amongst driving enthusiasts. Driving directions are as follows: The entire route is well signed so you won’t get lost. 2. Hi Taryn, planning to do this trip this summer. There’s a seasonal gas station at the marina and a brand new gas station right at the entrance to town. You can visit some of the world’s largest and oldest trees near Port Renfrew. 77,377 posts. Used under CC BY-SA 2.0. Idyllic and secluded beach access, interesting museums, fewer crowds at, Cowichan has long been revered as a Vancouver Island’s culinary destination, especially for craft beverages. I grew up on the Island and have done many of places that you mention. Booking.com Wild Renfrew cottages in Port Renfrew is my favourite place to stay and I believe they do accept pets with a pet fee. Driving times can vary depending on conditions and type of vehicle. Sombrio Beach is located around the mid-point of the Juan de Fuca Trail. You can also hike on the numerous trails to get great views of the river. This is definitely a good time for a road trip! This magical clutch of old-growth is where you’ll discover some of the Island’s oldest old-growth forest – Western Red Cedar and Douglas Fir giants – including Canada’s Gnarliest Tree and a bit further down the road, Big Lonely Doug. The trail starts from either side of the bridge. Just go slow and pull over to let traffic pass you when you can (there aren’t any passing lanes), and you’ll have a great time. Cowichan Bay offers the opportunity to truly “slow down and savour life”: pay a visit to an Old World-style bakery, True Grain Bread, explore Indigenous art at the Arthur Vickers Gallery or call it a day in the car and hop onto a zodiac for whale watching tour with Ocean Ecoventures. The route is composed of Highway 14, Pacific Marine Road, Shore Road, Highway 18, and a segment of the Trans-Canada Highway. The winding forest road will eventually deliver you into Lake Cowichan – a charming town on the lake and popular tourist destination for swimming, fishing and (most famously) floating down the Cowichan River on a tube on a hot summer’s day. There are several sections that are very twisty and despite being paved, the road is a bit bumpy. The Pacific Marine Circle Route was established by the British Columbia Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture with the promise of an … It was great to sit on the patio, listening to the rain on the roof after a long day of exploring. It’s a tiny town at the end of highway 14. Vancouver, Canada. Be sure to pull over at the Malahat Lookout to peer down to the inlet and across to the bluffs in Gowland Tod Provincial Park. Manicured lawns and shrubs line the waterfront, calm waters cradle the hulls of boats stored along the docks, and historic stone buildings create a picture-perfect postcard for visitors. Destination British Columbia. Exploring the sandstone shelf at Botanical Beach. Re: … Terrific job on your blog! Standing 44-metres tall and spanning 187-metres, it is part of The Great Trail spanning across the country. This one has been replaced but there are still a few left. Look for a gravel road on your left. Errors and omissions excepted. It’s about 7 minutes past Sandcut Beach. Background Traffic considerations 11 Vessels transiting the Aleutian Islands area are typically moving commercial goods and raw materials along the North Pacific Great Circle Route between western North America and East Asia (DNV and ERM, 2010a). You can travel the loop in either direction, but I did a clockwise loop so I’m describing it that way here. We recommend a quick detour en route to. I haven’t driven the route in a RV, but I know many people do drive RVs on the Pacific Marine Circle Route each year. The small maritime town is the first “Cittaslow” village in North American; a network of towns and villages in over 28 countries, and an offshoot of the Slow Food Movement founded in Italy. Thanks for your help. Hi Robert, The Cowichan region is well known for it’s world class vineyards – Image by Fields & Forests. There are several beach access trails at Botany Bay, plus a couple of great view points on the bluff above the beach. There are a few cafes, coffee shops and fast food options if you need to take a break. ferry for a quick (and stunning) 25-minute crossing to Sidney. The trail also crosses a few old wooden train trestles high above the valley. Now expected to re-open sometime between Midnight and 2 AM but please check @DriveBC for the latest updates. You will lose cell service between Sooke and Lake Cowichan. There are lots of accommodation options on the Pacific Marine Circle Route, from cute cabins, to waterfront campsites to posh inns. Besides parts of the section on highway 1 between Duncan and Victoria, it’s a two lane road with few opportunities for passing. 1 to 3 days, 289.08 km (179.63 mi) This coast to coast journey on Vancouver Island offers panoramic views of the Juan de Fuca, Haro and Georgia straits as well as the Saanich Peninsula. I just started one in January and appreciate your detailed content. The quaint Sidney-by-the-Sea is a seaside sanctuary with plenty to do. 58 reviews. The section closest to Port Renfrew is really windy with some one-lane bridges, but take it slow and you’ll be fine. Follow the road to it’s end past the famous Sooke Harbour House hotel and restaurant. I’m wondering if the road from Port Renfrew to Cowichan Lake is advisable. Or the northern most section to Botanical Beach. It’s still a beautiful area, but it’s on a busier highway and isn’t nearly as scenic. There also aren’t any crazy sharp turns so having a longer rig and a tow vehicle should be fine. To get to Whiffen Spit, turn left onto Whiffen Spit road about 2km after the round about in “downtown” Sooke. Isn’t the Pacheedaht campground beautiful?! You may also want to stretch your legs with a walk along the lakeshore at the community park. A few of the trees require 4 wheel drive to visit, but most are on easily accessible (but bumpy) gravel roads. Instead we stayed one night at the cabins at Wild Renfrew. Take a short detour off the highway towards downtown and wander through over 40 magnificent carved totems that each depict a unique story told by the Indigenous carver. It used to have a gravel portion between Port Renfrew and Lake Cowichan but it was paved almost a decade ago. The oceanside town is also home to some spectacular local haunts like Stick in the Mud Cafe, and the 17-Mile House Pub (its namesake is the distance from Victoria’s City Hall) on route into town. I know this will be a long day, but it really sounds like it will also be a fantastic day. p.parentNode.insertBefore(s,p); You’ll love Vancouver Island. We suggest stocking up on supplies before you head out; stores become scarce the further west you head, and you don’t want to find yourself without a picnic to enjoy on the beaches. That is also where I heard about the Pacific Marine Circle Route. Botanical Beach is located along the west coast of Vancouver Island. To get to Mystic Beach turn left into the China Beach day use parking lot in Juan de Fuca Provincial Park. Check out my list of the best cabin rentals in BC.). If your trip is a bit longer, you could consider booking accommodation in Sooke, Lake Cowichan or the Cowichan Valley as well. There are tons of farms, wineries, and dairies. Botanical Beach is located along the west coast of Vancouver Island. With the beach pull outs, broad ocean views and a leg that takes you past some of the most majestic old-growth forest on Vancouver Island, the Pacific Marine Circle Route ranks high amongst drivers. Downtown Victoria, British Columbia’s blossoming capital city, comes to life with activity during the warm summer months. 5. We are in Victoria for a couple of days en route to Vancouver for a cruise and we really fancy renting a car for the day and doing this drive. One of the most interesting features of the beach is the waterfall hidden in a mossy canyon. A drive for the city-slicker and nature enthusiast alike, the Pacific Marine Circle Route will take you from urban sprawl to the wild west coast and back again. Have a great trip! That is also where I heard about the Pacific Marine Circle Route. The Hot Springs and Heritage Circle Tour is a great way to start the touring season, soaking your way through the scenic Kootenay Rockies. , a.k.a “The City of Totems,” is a great stop for a walkabout and a cultural experience. Is this route RV friendly? I spent 3 days driving the Pacific Marine Circle Route this spring and honestly, I wish I had spent a few more days. Here are the best places to wet your whistle in the Cowichan Valley: Hop On Over To A Few Cowichan Breweries, Go full circle on Southern Vancouver Island with the Pacific Marine Circle Route. The North Pacific Great Circle Route that connects the west coast of the United States with major ports in Asia transits directly through the Aleutian archipelago. Unlike some of other trips on BC’s backroads, this one is entirely paved and you go through tiny (and adorable towns) every few hours. The trail can be muddy. The route averages 250km and can be divided up into smaller legs providing overnight stays between two and four days … One of the old one lane bridges on highway 14. On my trip we camped one night at the Pacheedaht campground and spend our second night in town at the fabulous waterfront Wild Renfrew cabins. Also known as Juan de Fuca provincial park, it is situated at the northern end of the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail. Pacific Marine Circle Route: Victoria - Port Renfrew Loop - 1 to 3 days, 289 km (180 mi) - This coast to coast journey on Vancouver Island offers panoramic views of the Juan de Fuca, Haro and Georgia straits as well as the Saanich Peninsula. In between totems, explore the town’s boutique clothing shops, book shop and, if you’re in town on a Saturday, the Duncan Farmers’ Market. Charging stations: Kerry Park Recreation, 1035 Shawnigan Mill Bay Rd, Mill Bay, © 2021 Tourism Vancouver Island (the "Region"). You can find construction and road conditions updates for all highways in British Columbia on drivebc.ca. An iconic landmark on Vancouver Island, it is one of the tallest free-standing timber trestles in the world. Port Renfrew is pretty unique. Perhaps I should be asking about other portions of the loop you describe, I don’t know. Destination Expert. On my trip we actually spent two nights in Port Renfrew as you can take lots of great day trips from there. 98 helpful votes. From Victoria, go as fast or as slow as you’d like, meandering through the winding roads into. Hot Springs and Heritage Circle Tour. In the winter not all of the businesses along the route will be open, but most of them are. You can start at whichever point along the loop that you please (heading in either direction), but we suggest launching from. Yes, the route is close to sea level so its pretty rare to get snow in that area so you can drive this route all year long. Discover information and vessel positions for vessels around the world. My quest…are the west coast beaches and trails all dog friendly? Dogs are allowed on leash on all parks and beaches except at Whiffin Spit where they are allowed off-leash. Are very twisty and despite being paved, the loop that you mention any side trips for with! Vessel positions for vessels around the mid-point of the Juan de Fuca Provincial Park logging road.! A small parking area with some one-lane bridges, but it really sounds like it will be. Winter not all of the trip a long day of exploring my list of the wild Renfrew poking! Get lost the way you ’ re going to want to find the hidden waterfall, turn into. In good shape and are log trucks a concern left and walk down the beach this... 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