Sooke Potholes Provincial Park
provides access to the series of deep, polished rock pools and potholes carved naturally into the bedrock of the Sooke River. This area is a favourite day-use destination for many local and regional residents.
Glacial action during the last ice age 15,000 years ago is responsible for the formations, as the moving, melting ice packs stripped the surface area and carved a path deep into the natural bedrock. Huge boulders carried along by the rushing river became lodged, were swirled against the canyon walls and consequently carved out the potholes that can be seen today.
The water in this very popular park is beautifully clean and clear, providing a wonderful swimming and picnicking destination in the summer. The Sooke River is also an important coho and Chinook salmon spawning river, and opportunities exist for catch and release fishing. Sooke Potholes Provincial Park provides an ideal location to view the annual salmon spawning run.
Park Size: 7.28 Hectares.
Nature and Culture
- Conservation: This park provides wildlife viewing opportunities along an important coho and Chinook salmon spawning river. Located within the Leeward Island Mountains Ecosection, the park protects remnant old-growth Douglas fir and associated sensitive plant communities that line Sooke River. The Sierra wood fern, a red-listed plant, is found in the park. The river itself is an important wildlife corridor for all species, including black bear and Roosevelt elk, as it connects the Sooke Hills and Capital Region greenbelt.
Activities Available at this Park
There are limited opportunities for canoeing or kayaking in this park.
Opportunities for catch-and-release fishing exist in this park; restrictions apply. All anglers should check the current regulations issued by Fisheries and Oceans Canada prior to fishing. Anyone fishing or angling in British Columbia must have an appropriate licence.
Pets on Leash
Facilities Available at this Park
Pit or Flush Toilets
This park has 2 pit toilets, located at the parking lot.
- Visitors to Sooke Potholes Provincial Park should watch for rising and falling water after periods of heavy rainfall, especially from September through July.
- There are steep cliffs in some areas of this park; visitors should use caution in these areas.
Sooke Potholes Regional Park
Located adjacent to the Provincial Park is the regional park.
Sooke Potholes Regional Park is located on the banks of the spectacular Sooke River. Enjoy the views, explore the trails, camp under the stars, or take a refreshing dip on a hot summer day!
- Spring Salmon Place (KWL-UCHUN) Campground
- Spectacular views of the Sooke River
- Freshwater swimming
- Access to the Galloping Goose Regional Trail
- Hiking on forest trails
Trail Rating: Easy to Moderate
Summer hours: 8am to 9pm
Things to Do
You can picnic or swim at the river, explore the short forest trails, camp under the stars, or enjoy the stunning vistas from one of several viewpoints. You may see black-tailed deer, red squirrels or bald eagles riding the breezes overhead.
The “potholes” are unique geological formations – deep pools in the river rock – that offer some of the best freshwater swimming in the region.
The Sooke River is the second largest on southern Vancouver Island and home to a salmon run every fall.
Riding the Goose
Sooke Potholes Regional Park is a great starting point for a trip by bicycle or on foot on the Galloping Goose Regional Trail. Travel south toward Roche Cove Regional Park, or through wilderness scenery all the way to the end of the trail.
The Spring Salmon Place (KWL-UCHUN) Campground operates seasonally each summer on a first-come, first-served basis. No online or phone reservations. The campground is open until Monday, October 3, 2016.
The 67-site RV and tent campground is located at the north end of Sooke Potholes Regional Park and adjacent to the Galloping Goose Regional Trail. The campground is a local favorite on Vancouver Island and offers a high quality, self-contained wilderness camping experience.
- Some riverfront views
- Public garbage bins, food scraps bins and recycle bins
- Drinking water station
- Picnic areas
- Individual fire rings, firewood for sale (except in case of fire ban)
- Caretaker on site
The campground does not provide hydro, dumping station or showers.
Cellular phone service is limited.
The Spring Salmon Place (KWL-UCHUN) Campground is managed by the CRD and operated by T’Sou-ke Nation.
Questions? Call T’Sou-ke Nation at 250.642.3957 or CRD Regional Parks 250.478.3344
How to Get There
Follow the Trans-Canada Highway from Victoria, and take the Millstream Road exit (Exit 14) to Sooke. Follow Veterans Memorial Parkway, then turn right on Sooke Road. Turn right on Sooke River Road and follow the signs. Allow approximately 45 minutes driving time from Victoria.
Take BC Transit #61 from Victoria to Sooke River Road (ask the driver to let you off as close as possible), then a several kilometre hike along Sooke River Road. Contact BC Transit for schedule information.
There is great biking here … follow for miles along the Galloping Goose Trail up to the old site of Leechtown. You’ll cross a beautiful trestle and view some beautiful scenery. The trail is an old rail line so it’s fairly flat and easy to ride.
Be warned: If you decide to stop at the potholes … be careful! People have great fun diving off the cliffs into the pools … but many get into trouble as there are numerous rocks under the water.