Potholes is a set of naturally formed pools and unique rock formations
carved into the natural bedrock along Sooke River. The water in
the potholes has a beautiful aqua-green colour and cascades through
sets of waterfalls into deep clear pools offering just an excellent
array of swimming holes.
This part of the Sooke River is considered very sacred by the T'Sou'ke
First Nation - the area's native community.
km of Pools
The pools and swimming areas that are available for you span a length
of 5 km (3 miles) or so. The potholes start at the Sooke Potholes
Provincial Park located at the end of Sooke River Road and stop
at Leechtown that is situated at the end of the Galloping Goose
here from Victoria
From downtown Victoria take Douglas Sreet and travel west on Trans-Canada
Hwy 1 towards the West Shore Communities. You take the Colwood exit
10 and travel approximately for 30 minutes on Sooke Road-Hwy 14
to Sooke River Road. Watch for the Edward Milne Community School.
Sooke River Road is just beyond the school on the right. Turn here
and travel 5 km (3 miles) up to the end of Sooke River Road that
eventually reaches a parking lot.
You're Coming From Nanaimo
If you happen to be travelling south on the Trans-Canada Hwy 1 from
you need to turn off at the Millstream Road exit 14. This is located
just past the Shell Station at the Spencer Road traffic light on
Hwy 1. After you turn off here, take the Veterans' Memorial Parkway
through Langford then, just past the lights at Kelly Road, to Sooke
Road-Hwy 14. Travel to Sooke River Road.
Potholes Provincial Park
The first section of potholes is located in Sooke Potholes Provincial
Park right by the parking lot. The pools are smaller and not as
deep but if you have small children or need to be close to the parking
lot or pit toilets they are handy. Located here is a gravel beach
plus some nice smooth rocks for you to lie on.
The majority of the potholes are located outside of the Sooke Potholes
Provincial Park. These pools were, at one time, the property of
Deertrail Resort - a development strategy that was in the making.
For a long time the remains of timbers of the failed Deertrail Chateau
were present, but they have all since been removed with two new
parking lots added by the Capital Regional District (CRD).
- The Land Conservancy of British Columbia
Since 2005 TLC, The Land Conservancy of British Columbia, took over
the land holdings of Deertrail Resort. The TLC has since formed
the Sooke Potholes Regional Park. Today this natural treasure, thanks
to generous donations of various people, government and organizations,
is available for everyone to enjoy.
Once you're at the parking lot, walk for around 15 minutes or so
and you'll come to an area that was traditionally called '1st Beach.'
This is an excellent place to get introduced to the potholes. There
is a beach area plus some nice private areas along the rocks to
relax on. If you enjoy diving there are a few areas that can be
accessed. Please remember the rocks can be slippery so be cautious
and always check for the depth and clearances in the water.
The pools continue for a while past 1st Beach with access through
the various trails branching off from the main access road. Eventually
you'll come to the site of the failed Deertrail Chateau with the
only evidence remaining some stone work. This part of the Sooke
River flows through a gorge with a series of cascading waterfalls
and pools throughout. Look for the trail heading off towards the
After these pools, more potholes continue either by access through
the trails or by swimming up the river. There are fewer people around
with a greater amount of privacy along secluded beaches. Eventually,
you'll come to the campsite now operated by The Land Conservancy.
There are some pools here along with a good beach area. If you enjoy
camping, try this one especially during the weekdays when there
are not so many people.
Leechtown is an area of past historical significance for gold mining
and logging in the Sooke region. Once a thriving community larger
than Victoria during the gold rush era, it is now all abandoned
except for the odd piece of rusted machinery in the bush. The pools
here have one small rock to jump off into a nice secluded swimming
area. Expect to see few or no people here as it is quite some distance
from the parking lot.
Although vehicle parking has been add it is sometimes limited or
nonexistent especially in the summer so walking is the only way
into the potholes from the main parking lot at the Sooke Potholes
popular with the locals
Just remember that during the summer days the Sooke Potholes is
a very popular area with the local people. Sometimes the parking
area is a somewhat full and quite busy representing slight mayhem.
Remember because of this you might end up parking a little ways
from the parking lot on Sooke River Road. Please obey the signs
about parking on the pavement in order to avoid having your car
The Sooke Potholes Regional Park is along the corridor of the Galloping
Goose Regional Trail. If you enjoy cycling or walking make a point
during your visit to combine both visiting the Sooke Potholes and
experiencing the Galloping Goose Trail.
You can cycle from Victoria
along the 55 km (34 miles) trail right to the campsite located near
the 51 km post. The Sooke Potholes campground has set aside a number
of unique campsites high on the bluff overlooking the river for
people biking or hiking the trail.
If you plan on coming to the Sooke Potholes and require some supplies,
the Westshore Town Centre formerly the Can-West Mall shopping zone
is conveniently located in Langford.
If you are coming from Victoria, turn at Kelly Road just off Sooke
Road-Hwy 14 pass Royal Roads University or travel down Veterans'
Memorial Parkway off Trans-Canada Hwy 1 exit.
The Westshore Town Centre contains a Canadian Tire, Wal-Mart, Superstore,
Fairways, Shoppers Drug Mart and a Starbucks
and Serious Coffee. If you're on the Galloping Goose Trail, it goes
right past the shopping area as well.