There is a major fork in the road, so to speak, when you head up Vancouver Island and out of Victoria. The choice comes at the turnoff for Highway 14 from the Island Highway. Continue on the Island Highway and you will enter the Malahat Drive then pass through the semi-rural and residential heartland of the east coast of Vancouver Island. Take Highway 14 and you will head through an increasingly rustic and forested section of a west coast route that could lead to Port Renfrew and the deep wilderness beyond. You can follow that potential adventure to its conclusion in Chapter 3, but in this section the focus is on the more southeastern Sooke region. This area can be an extension of a short visit out of Victoria or the start of a wider exploration of Vancouver Island as you work your way up-island along the island’s southwest coast.
The geographic split dividing these two routes is substantial, both geographically and environmentally. A primary reason for the split is the Great Victoria water supply is hidden in the Sooke Hills behind Goldstream Provincial Park, making a vast inland portion of Vancouver Island inaccessible to protect the water supply. Coupled with that is an unforgiving geography that limits the opportunities for road connections. For that reason, the Malahat Drive portion of the Island Highway is the single highway route linking Victoria and locations along the east side of Vancouver Island.
Despite all this, or perhaps because of it, the overall region is an interesting mishmash of provincial parks, regional parks and conservation areas covering long swath through the region. All this justifies a circle tour, particularly if you want to try the Pacific Marine Circle Route, which offers a taste of wilderness and adventure in a very simple and accessible way.
Here is your chance to discover the Best of Sooke.