East Sooke Park Loop

June 5, 2021

~ submitted by Bil Derby

We met at the Aylard Farm trailhead at 08:00 under somewhat promising skies and nearly ideal hiking temperatures.  Depending on the weather forecast source, we were either in for a wet day, consistent with a “Bil Trip” as Mike points out, or a dry day and warming temperatures. We were not disappointed – were able to enjoy both forecasts throughout the day.

Heading out the trail quickly transitions into a mixed environment of bare rock, rooted paths, and lovely trails. With any good coastal trail, there is an expectation of quite a lot of up and down in and out of the creek drainages.  The Coast Trail does not disappoint, and just for fun there are even a handful of lovely rock slopes to ascend and descend.

Frequent stops to soak in the views and chat slowed the pace considerably but increased the enjoyment of being out on the trails together again. We stopped for lunch at Iron Mine bay before turning inland and upwards to gain the Interior Trail.

After making the long steady climb up from sea level through a mixed forest and along a combination of old roads and forest trails we arrived at the junction with the trail to the summit of Mt. Maguire where, despite some friendly cajoling, no one took up the offer of the ascent.  From here to the trail junction south east of Babbington Hill one travels through a pleasant mixed species forest sprinkled with the odd moss meadow creating an experience only highlighted by the ever-present micro terrain – one must take the good with the bad. From here it’s all “downhill” and we were soon back at Aylard Farm and our vehicles.

Wrapping up the day at the 17 Mile Public House was a fine finish to a grand day.

Trip Data:
26km (13,978 steps)
1420m of elevation gain and loss (almost 400 flights of stairs)
9.75 hours

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