Vancouver Island is an adventure paradise. We were thrilled to return in 2022 for a week and we lined up some of the best experiences in recent memory.

First stop was Sooke. The weather was hot and we had never been to the nearby potholes before so we gave them a try. Excellent fun for the whole family. The best parts involved a slight bit of naughtiness. Some of the best pothole swimholes/waterfalls can only be access by climbing up the canyon into areas that are out of park bounds. It is also hard to resist taking a peek into the abandoned deer trail ruins despite the fences that deter onlookers.

Deertrail Ruins and Sooke Potholes

Aside from exploring, cliff-jumping and swimming in the potholes, we also wanted to get a taste of the nearby galloping goose trail (which we hope to cycle at some point). Also nearby is an old concrete pipe stretching from Sooke Lake to Victoria. It was once a vital water source for BC’s capital. Nowadays, walking on top of the pipe (the Sooke Flowline) makes for very interesting walks through the forest.

Next up was cherry-picking some spots along the Juan de Fuca trail. We didn’t want to do the whole hike this trip so we hiked in a few spots like Mystic and Sobrio beaches. These places have become hot spots for overnight campers and photo-ops.

‘secret’ waterfall at Sombrio Beach
Mystic Beach photo-op waterfall spot

Next up we arranged a stay at the ACC hut on 5040 peak. Getting to the hut is the hard part. Access is near Port Alberni across a pretty rough road. Then there is grueling dayhike up the mountain, usually across snow until very late in the year.

We spent 2 nights at the hut and had an unbelievably good adventure.

Summit of 5040 Peak

We hiked off 5040 peak and immediately drove to Bamfield because we wanted to hike into Keeha Beach the same day. This resulted in a tense parking lot repacking to change gears from mountain hike to beach camping. Keeha Beach turned out to be a secluded paradise. Not far from the start of the West Coast Trail, this beach can only be accessed by a muddy rainforest trail full off roots and obstacles. After the arduous journey in, camping on the beach for a couple nights is the best way to enhance the experience.