About Sandcut Beach Waterfall
The Sandcut Beach Waterfall was a modestly-sized 10-15ft tall set of waterfalls spilling right onto a pebbly beach before the Sandcut Creek ultimately rejoined the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which separated Vancouver Island and the Olympic Peninsula. This waterfall represented one of those rare instances where we could combine a waterfall with a beach so it was fun for the whole family, and perhaps most pleasant of all was that the long and spacious beach only had a few dozen people so it didn’t feel crowded at all! Perhaps that was because getting to the beach required a short hike through a temperate rainforest as well as a bit of a drive well west of Victoria. In addition to being family friendly and naturesque (how many places on earth does a rainforest meet the Pacific?), it was also a nice place to view the sunset. Indeed, this place introduced to us the type of relatively “hidden” or lesser known treasures of Vancouver Island (at least outside of Victoria Harbour and Butchart Gardens), and I’m sure on a return trip to British Columbia, we’ll be sure to spend more time outside the usual spots and seek out more gems like this.
Logistically, our visit took place in early August on a year when there was pretty heavy rainfall in the Winter and Spring but very dry and hot conditions since the beginning of June. During that time, the waterfall took on a light-flowing two-segmented shape though I’ve seen pictures where the falls could easily widen out to three or more segments under heavier flows earlier in the year. The rainforest hike separating the highway from the beach was roughly 300m in length (about 10 minutes each way), but it was all downhill on the way there so it was a slightly more strenuous uphill hike on the return. However, walking to the waterfall slightly more than doubled the length of the hike as it was all beach walking to get there. As far as the tides were concerned (we checked this tide forecast), our visit took place while it was transitioning to high tide, but there was still ample space on the beach to reach the waterfall while staying dry.
Our hike began from a modest car park along Hwy 14 (see directions below). Then, we promptly walked past a Jordan River Reserve sign (talking about beach ethics to protect the ecosystem) before we followed a well-maintained trail flanked by the tall trees and lower bush providing ample shade from the afternoon sun. Boards were placed on the ground to help when the trail would be muddy and prone to erosion, and perhaps the roughest part involved climbing over and past some exposed tree roots. Eventually, we left the canopy of the rainforest and descended right towards the calm pebble beach of Sandcut Beach. While Julie and Tahia were content to play and relax at the beach, I was still interested in seeking out the waterfall so I continued hiking.
So once on Sandcut Beach, I pretty much followed the shoreline east (to the left after facing the sea) and resumed walking for another 450m or so. I pretty much skirted the wet sand to make the walking easier (as the further away from the water I was, the more pebbles and stones would make the walking more challenging). Along the way, I noticed some interesting things like some seaweed that looked more like giant worms as well as driftwood that made their way to these shores. The water was calm with gentle waves (more like wakes) because it was protected from the open ocean in the channel known as the Strait of Juan de Fuca so it behaved similarly to the way the English Channel did between the southern shores England and the northern beaches of France. Eventually after another 10 minutes of walking, I finally reached Sandcut Beach Waterfall, where there was also a rope swing next to the falls as well as some private home or building above the short cliffs nestled within the rainforest a short distance upstream.
Since we had based ourselves in Victoria during our visit to Sandcut Beach, we’ll describe the driving directions from there. So we first headed north on Douglas St, which eventually became the Hwy 1. We followed Hwy 1 for about 12km before keeping right to exit 14 bound for Hwy 14 towards Langford, Sooke, and the Highlands. Once onto Millstream Road, we then followed this surface street for the next 3.4km before turning right onto Sooke Rd (Hwy 14). Then, we continued on Hwy 14 for about 50km before reaching the trailhead parking for Sandcut Beach on the left (about 3km beyond Point No Point Resort, 7km past French Beach, and 26km past Sooke). Since parking space was limited, we found some space on the road shoulder to park nearby. Overall, this drive took us about 75 minutes, but most of that time was spent waiting to pass slower vehicles as it was pretty much two-lane highway with very sparse passing opportunities throughout Hwy 14.
To give you some geographical context, Sooke was 40km (around an hour drive) east of Victoria, 71km (about 75-90 minutes drive) east of Port Renfrew, about 122km (about 2 hours drive) south of Nanaimo.
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