Here you face the open ocean, where nothing breaks the rolling swells or deflects the sting of winter storms. For those who listen for the voice of the West Coast, here it begins to speak up, way up. Many a dark chapter has been written about ships and crews that perished in the violent storms that rake the raw shoreline. This is the Pacific Davy Jones’s Locker. Thrown up on the beach, survivors considered themselves blessed if they could reach the nearby West Coast Lifesaving Trail. As harsh today as then, less-endangered people willingly subject themselves to this legendary trail’s test of endurance.
Such a reputation adds a wild spice to adventuring here. Do not treat this environment lightly. Each year some unfortunate soul ventures too close to the ocean and pays the ultimate price. Venture with care and you’ll come away with wonderful memories of your time spent by the shoreline, where many creatures live in splendid harmony with the ocean’s deep rhythms.
Location: The West Coast Road is runs along the southwest shores of Vancouver Island. Owing to the ruggedness of the region, access to this area is limited to the paved coastal Highway 14 and several unpaved backroads. Highway 14 begins in the Victoria suburb of Colwood. It links the village of Sooke on the west side of Sooke Basin with Port Renfrew on the south shore of Port San Juan (actually a wide bay), a distance of 45 miles (70 km). To the north, the Harris Creek Mainline and Hillcrest Mainline Logging Roads link Port Renfrew with Cowichan Lake, and from there with Highway 18 and the Cowichan Valley.
View maps of the area
The following towns are located on or near Highway 14 (east to west):
Situated between Colwood and the Malahat, and incorporating the head of Finlayson Arm and Mount Finlayson, Langford offers an accessible diversity of beautiful parks and lakes and limitless recreational activities.
Originally one of four large farms established by the Hudson’s Bay Company in the 1850’s to supply the steadily increasing population of Fort Victoria, Colwood is now itself a thriving satellite city in the largely residential area of the Western Communities.
A rural community of wide open spaces, pastoral countryside and bountiful farmland, Metchosin was first inhabited by Coast Salish peoples. Metchosin, or Smets-shosin as it is called in the Native Coast Salish language, was incorporated in 1984.
The pleasant harbourside village of Sooke provides a tranquil refuge from the bustle of city life. Sooke enjoys a relaxed, casual lifestyle in a rural setting that also affords many of the amenities of city life. For centuries, this area was a thriving Coast Salish settlement.
The tiny logging community of Jordan River offers a terrific view of the open Pacific Ocean. Highway 14 makes its only approach to the ocean here before beginning to climb San Juan Ridge once more. Jordan River lies about 19 miles (30 km) south of Sombrio Beach.
A small village at the end of Highway 14, Port Renfrew calls itself The Jewel of the West Coast, where you can experience the tranquility and beauty that has made the West Coast famous. Port Renfrew is best known as the trailhead for both the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail and the historic West Coast Trail.
Parks located along or near Highway 14:
The Pacific Marine Circle Tour, which incorporates West Coast Highway 14 from Victoria to Port Renfrew, is an excellent way to explore the historic West Coast of southern Vancouver Island. The wilderness route traces the coastline from Victoria through Sooke and Port Renfrew, continuing on to Cowichan Lake and the Cowichan Valley, and looping back down the Trans-Canada Highway via Duncan and the Malahat to Victoria.
FarOut WildernessFarOut Wilderness
FarOut Wilderness is an outdoor adventure travel company specializing in overland vehicle rentals and tailor-made itineraries in British Columbia. We use our local knowledge and experience to transform your ideas into an authentic and unique adventure.
Our self-drive itineraries allow you to explore off the beaten track at your own pace. We provide you with the resources to re-connect with nature and most importantly each another. All of our vehicles are fully insured for driving on unpaved roads and are equipped with a rooftop tent, camping equipment and GPS Messenger service.
FarOut Wilderness operates in all seasons and has one pet friendly vehicle. We offer complimentary vehicle collection and drop off at the following locations: Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal, Victoria Airport, Victoria Downtown, Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal, Vancouver Downtown, and Vancouver Airport. If you have another collection or drop off location in mind, please contact us!
Sooke Harbour Resort & MarinaSooke Harbour Resort & Marina
Nestled in the quaint seaside village of Sooke, just 35 minutes from Victoria, Sooke Harbour Resort & Marina is the perfect year-round oceanside getaway, surrounded by the rugged natural beauty for which Vancouver Island is known. Our resort vacation rental accommodation provides all of the comforts of home, giving you plenty of room to stretch out and enjoy your own space, under the same roof as your friends and family. Fully-furnished suites have fully-equipped gourmet kitchens, electric fireplaces, private balconies, and full or partial views overlooking our private 114-slip marina and the Strait of Juan de Fuca! Indulge in year-round sport fishing, world-class golf, kayaking, whale watching, winery tours, hiking and eco-tours.
Orca Spirit AdventuresOrca Spirit Adventures
Trip Departures: Coast Victoria Harbourside Hotel – Marina Level 146 Kingston Street Victoria BC V8V 1V4 postalPhone: 250-383-8411homeFax: 250-383-4666homefaxToll Free: firstname.lastname@example.orgINTERNETVisit Website
Orca Spirit Adventures is Victoria’s premier whale watching company, offering carbon-neutral covered vessel and zodiac tours led by certified marine naturalists whose knowledge and passion for Vancouver Island’s marine wildlife is unequaled in the industry.
Tours are three hours in length, with April through October being the ideal whale watching months. In this peak season, Orca Spirit Adventures boasts a greater than 95% success rate of spotting whales, including humpback whales, Bigg’s and resident orcas (killer whales), and gray whales!
Other wildlife you may encounter include harbour seals and elephant seals, sea lions, Dall’s and harbour porpoises, otters and marine birds such as cormorants and bald eagles.
Unlucky tour? Join us again using our WHALE GUARANTEE for a complimentary whale watching tour!
EMR Vacation RentalsEMR Vacation Rentals
#106-1016 McCallum Road Victoria BC V9B 4C6 workPhone: 250-483-6790homeFax: 530-660-3079workfaxToll Free: email@example.comINTERNETVisit Website
EMR is a fully licensed Travel Agency offering fully furnished vacation homes, condos, suites, and estates in Victoria, Vancouver, Tofino, Whistler, the Okanagan, and on Vancouver Island. We have a large inventory of unique properties to select from. This includes properties that feature oceanfront, beach front, breathtaking views, private hot tubs, luxurious settings and more.