Sooke Potholes Provincial Park presents visitors with a wonderful series of deep, polished rock pools and potholes, carved naturally into the sandstone bedrock of the Sooke River.
Glacial action during the last ice age 15,000 years ago is responsible for the sandstone 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.
Water in the pools and potholes is beautifully clean and clear, providing a delightful swimming and picnicking area during summer. Hiking trails in the park are not well developed or marked, but if you can find your way, it can be fun exploring the area.
Visitors to the Sooke Potholes should watch for rising and falling water after periods of heavy rainfall, especially from September to July. There are steep cliffs in some areas of this park; visitors should use caution in these areas.
In the Sooke region you’ll find excellent salmon fishing in the Sooke River, where the annual salmon run is best viewed from Sooke Potholes Provincial Park. The 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
One of the most interesting rural sections of the Galloping Goose Trail runs for about 20 km from Roche Cove Regional Park to Sooke Potholes Provincial Park and Leechtown.
Picnic tables line the river next to the parking area, with the potholes just steps beyond. Other facilities are fairly basic, and are limited to parking and toilets.
This site has been luring picnickers from the Victoria region for years, so don’t be surprised by the controlled mayhem when you arrive. Either get down to the river early, or be prepared to park further up the road.
The park has a bike-friendly campsite located about 3 kilometres in from the bottom of the Sooke Potholes. The six-group-spot site, part of the larger potholes 66-site campsite, was the first site to specifically cater to cycling campers on Southern Vancouver Island. The facility is equipped with bike lock-ups, a shelter for cooking, and a fire pit, which allows bikers to go on hiking trips while their bikes and gear are safe and secure.
Located on the banks of the spectacular Sooke River, and in a beautiful forest setting, the campground has been a draw for locals for over a century.
The Land Conservancy of British Columbia (TLC) purchased the Sooke Potholes to prevent development of the neighbouring area. The Capital Region District of Victoria purchased part of the land from The Land Conservancy a year later and created the Sooke Potholes Regional Park, which was subsequently designated as a provincial park, thereby permanently preserving the popular potholes.
The 7.28-hectare Sooke Potholes Provincial Park is located in Sooke, near Victoria on Southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia, 3 miles (5 km) north of West Coast Highway 14. The park is accessed via Sooke River Road to the parking lot.
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