Hike along a cool creek at midday or paddle still waters in early morning light at this serene 163-hectare park. You’ll find a secluded cove, ocean views and lush vegetation, including old-growth cedar trees. Explore the park’s seven kilometres of forested trails, or picnic at the secludedbeach. Roche Cove Roche Cove and Roche Harbour in Sooke Basin are named for Richard Roche, 3rd Lieutenant on HMS Satellite, a British naval vessel stationed in Victoria from 1857 to 1860. Picnic at the protected cove after an easy walk from the parking area. The sand reveals little-neck clams and barnacles at low tide. At high tide, look for sea stars moving over broken shells in search of food. On the water, you might see migrating ducks, such as red-breasted mergansers, Barrow’s golden-eye or buffleheads.
Matheson Creek Trail
This scenic trail follows the creek through a forest lush with bracken fern and a grove of western red cedar trees. (Note: The trail may be impassable in winter.)
Cedar Grove Trail
For a more invigorating hike, try the Cedar Grove Trail. Follow the trail along dry, rocky outcrops, up a moderate incline into lush temperate rainforest and down through large big-leaf maples. Look up into the canopy, where the limbs of these giants support a microcosm of licorice ferns, mosses and lichens. The viewpoint trail to the right leads to a peaceful place to stop and have lunch, though trees have grown up to obscure the view of Roche Cove. From the main trail, keep right at the first fork and you will come upon a huge fallen cedar, one of several cedars in this grove that are over 500 years old. Past the Cedar Grove, an alder forest on your left is an excellent birding spot in the fall and spring. The trail emerges onto the Galloping Goose Regional Trail, where you can turn right to return to the Roche Cove parking lot. Along this abandoned rail line, you’ll find patche of stonecrop, a native succulent that blooms in late spring/early summer.
There is an information kiosk, bike rack, accessible picnic area and accessible toilet off the parking lot. The parking has space for 12 vehicles and room for mid-size buses.