South Island / Sooke
23 min driving from Downtown Victoria
Teaming with a ludicrous amount of fern and following a creek through the forest, this trail begins as an easy double-wide trek that shortly turns into a single-wide uphill gauntlet. Bringing the trail map with a GPS-enabled smart phone is highly recommended as there are a number of forks that can lead hikers astray and onto neighbouring peaks. These include a fork to the right behind a large tree at around 1.76 km (20 min in), that leads to David's Delight. Also, to the left shortly afterwards that goes up to Townsend Hill to the south. Or, even at 2.3 km, a fork on the left after 30 minutes that leads to a variety of other peaks like Sugarloaf, Mike, Corner and Crows Nest. Stay to the main trail, which is evident by signs of usage (not signage).
Immediately after starting this trail keep left at the first fork, and then also keep left at the second lesser used fork. Six minutes in, cross the stream carefully using the rope and logs provided, then fork left or right to continue up the hill. These two trails shortly meet together.
Pass under large power lines around 2.4 km. The trail begins to trace the westerly slopes of Mt Braden at 2.7 km or 30 min in where there is a major fork. Hikers will later return by this fork after the descent. Keep left and enjoy the final moments of bliss before heading up hillside.
After 3.6 km, or 45 min, the trail has now reached a fork right at the creek. Hikes now begin their ascent to the right. If you’re not rapidly gaining elevation among a moss laden pathway, you’ve gone the wrong way!
At 4.5 km (or 1 hour) reach a sub peak amongst a lot of arbutus a short plateau, descent and then following ascent up Castle Peak The trail can be harder to follow at this point do the compact dirt and boulder like flooring. Keep a keen eye for signs of trail usage.
After 1.5 hours, hikers should be at the summit of Castle Peak. Evident due to its boulder crest with wide open view of the ocean with Mt. Braden dead ahead to the left. Descend one final time to the saddle and ascend the peak for a time of an hour forty five. Unobstructed views of all the mountains and ocean nearby. Cruise ships in the distance. Almost no city to be seen.
Head straight down the trail on the ocean side face of the peak back to just after that last major fork before all elevation gain began. The trail down has blue ribbon as of 2018 which makes it easy to follow. Turn left upon hitting the intersection at the bottom and walk one minute and arrive at that major fork we mentioned earlier. This descent will have taken around 30 minutes. Turn right to go back to the cars (which will take another 30 minutes).
Alternatively, from the summit, backtrack 1 min and fork east towards Plateau Peak and head down that way.
If hikers forget to cross the river on the way down and hit the Sooke Flowline, follow it to a private dirt driveway, turn left, walk to the highway, and then turn left on it. Then a few hundred meters up the road will be the parking area.
-- Trail description written by Josh Hoggan
|Duration Class:||Medium Hike|
|Seasons:||Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall|
|Difficulty Description:||Very easy to begin with, but steep and rocky sections on the final ascent.|
|Dogs:||OK on Leash|
|Children:||Ages 10 and up|
|Cell Service:||Poor (Telus 2018); watch out for USA roaming!|
We have a downloadable GPS map for this trail!
Last Updated on Thu, May 17, 2018Need help using it? See our FAQ. Already own it? Login.
|Duration Round-Trip (solo):||150 min|
|Duration Round-Trip (group):||240|
|Distance:||10.50 km (round-trip)|
|Elevation at Start:||129 meters|
|Elevation at End:||129 meters|
|Elevation Minimum:||129 meters|
|Elevation Maximum:||469 meters|
|Elevation Gain:||645 meters (round-trip)|
|Elevation Loss:||-645 meters (round-trip)|
|Slope Up:||9.80% (round-trip)|
|Slope Down:||-11.40% (round-trip)|
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