The Sooke Potholes are one of the most recognized and most loved features of the Southern Vancouver Island landscape. Famous far and wide as a spectacular swimming spot, many residents of the Capital Region have fond memories of their visits to the Potholes.
The property acquired by TLC stretches for five km along the Sooke River where the deep, polished rock pools and canyons known as the Potholes are located. It comprises 63 hectares (156 acres) immediately north of the Sooke Potholes Provincial Park. It is bounded on the west by the Sooke River and on the east by the Galloping Goose Regional Trail.
Lying adjacent to the Galloping Goose Regional Trail, and connected by other trails to the Sea to Sea Greenbelt and the Sooke Hills, the area offers many recreational opportunities. Cyclists, runners, hikers, horseback riders use the area extensively, in addition to those who come to the Potholes to swim, or to just enjoy the captivating scenery.
The Potholes were formed during the last ice age, about 15,000 years ago. As the moving, melting ice packs stripped the surface, violent torrents of meltwater, pressurized beneath hundreds of metres of ice, carved a path deep into the natural bedrock. Huge boulders carried by the glacial action became lodged and were swirled against the canyon walls, consequently carving out the potholes that can be seen today.
This area also contains significant wildlife habitat. The river itself is a major salmon river, containing both Coho and Chinook salmon runs. There is a remnant of old-growth Douglas fir ecosystem and associated sensitive plant communities. Pacific yew, Garry oak and Meadow death-camas are found on the property. The red-listed Sierra wood fern is found in the area, as are the blue-listed Pacific waterleaf and Common bluecup. Continuous with the Sooke Hills, it also provides habitat for large mammals, including black bear and cougar.
Directions to Potholes
Click here to download the map (pdf format)
- Follow Hwy 14 North, towards Sooke, BC.
- Just past Edward Milne School, turn right onto Sooke River Rd.
- Stay on this road for 15 minutes until it ends. There you will reach Sooke Potholes Provincial Park.
Paid parking is available for day use in lots operated by CRD Parks and BC Parks.