The Juan de Fuca Marine Trail was created through the Commonwealth Nature Legacy as an enduring reminder of the 1994 Victoria Commonwealth Games. Preservation of a living legacy of unprecedented natural beauty, accessible to all, was considered a fitting tribute to the spirit of the Games.
Construction and preservation of the Trail has been made possible by the efforts of government, local industries, First Nations and citizens. Land exchanges and gifts of land have come from Western Forest Products and Timber West. Trail upgrades have been undertaken with funding from Forest Renewal BC and the Environment Youth Team (E-Team).
The Juan de Fuca Marine Trail was originally part of a lifesaving trail that serviced this area, known at the time as the Graveyard of the Pacific.
The park protects significant marine tidal pool life at Botanical Beach as well as black bear and cougar habitat. The region is so biologically significant that the University of Minnesota installed the first marine research station in the Pacific Northwest at Botanical Beach in 1901. Since then, the area has been used for research by a number of universities in BC and Washington.
Botanical Beach offers one of the richest tidal areas found along the west coast, and opportunities for viewing in these tide pools is excellent. Red, purple and orange starfish and sea urchins, white gooseneck barnacles, blue mussels and green seas anemones and sea cucumbers only begin to hint at the colourful spectrum of intertidal life thriving here.
Terrific views can be seen from many points along the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail, particularly at the Loss Creek Suspension Bridge and the Minute Creek Suspension Bridge. The Juan de Fuca trail also offers spectacular views of the coastline, Juan de Fuca Strait and the Olympic Mountains. Whales, marine birds and other wildlife can also be seen in the park.
The three main areas to visit in the park are as follows:
The western section of the park around Botanical Beach contains two smaller trails: Mill Bay and Botanical Loop. The Mill Bay Trail accesses a small pebble and shell beach; portions of this trail are steep. Parking for this trail is at the Mill Bay Trailhead, beside the road to Botanical Beach. Botanical Loop Trail connects Botanical Beach and Botany Bay. This is an easy to moderate walk, but in the golden hour, the photography opportunities are endless.
China Beach day-use: A scenic 1 km trail leads from the parking lot through mature forest to the beach. A large viewing deck offers views of the beach and Juan de Fuca Strait. This is an easy to moderate, fairly steep trail with lots to see and photograph.
Second Beach Trail: Second Beach can be reached from the China Beach campground via stairs and a 1 km long fairly steep gravel trail. The 15-20 minute hike (each way) through the mature forest of Sitka spruce, Douglas fir and Western red cedar leads visitors to the great rolling breakers of a tumultuous sea. Benches and viewing areas along the way provide a spot for photographers to stop to enjoy the views of Juan de Fuca Strait and all is beauty.
We visit Juan de Fuca Provincial Park on our Vancouver Island Workshops. Why don’t you consider joining us, all the details are found here, http://northof49photography.com/vancouver-island-workshop