You are hereA Day Trip from Victoria, BC - Rainforest, Rocky Shores & Big Trees along the Pacific Marine Circle Route
A Day Trip from Victoria, BC - Rainforest, Rocky Shores & Big Trees along the Pacific Marine Circle Route
For some reason, when people think of a Vancouver Island Road trip, they think of coastal beaches, hippies in the woods and clear cut forests. Ok, so some of that may be true but the amazing thing about a day trip from Victoria, BC along the Pacific Marine Circle Route – from the dense rainforests on the west coast to the interior Cowichan Mountains – is that most of it is still open and isolated, undeveloped and wild. Where you can drive for over an hour and have the entire area all to yourself.
View Pacific Marine Circle Route in a larger map
Starting at the southern tip of the Vancouver Island in Victoria, BC, and winding up the west coast of the island, the Pacific Marine Circle Route is more than just a car ride. There are plenty of places to stop along the way and to discover the rugged beauty of the coast. The road winds through the hidden splendor of the thick rainforest and through attractive towns filled with warm & welcoming people.
The 6-8 hour journey starts in Victoria and heads up the west coast of Vancouver Island, through the forested interior of the Cowichan Mountains and then down the scenic eastern coast. Travellers should prepare to stop along the way to enjoy short hikes, scenic viewpoints and quaint restaurants.
Along the way, people will notice the vast amount of natural beauty of the place. Even though Vancouver Island is separated from the mainland, the amount of land, forest and coastline is huge. The natural beauty of the place is well preserved (except in the logged areas) and there are plenty of historical sites as well. In Sooke, there’s a monument to where the first Europeans came ashore. In Port Renfrew, there’s a roadside turnoff to view giant spruce trees that are over 400 years old. And of course, along the Malahat Highway (Highway #1), there’s scenic lookout where the old highway once ran.
Tips for Driving the Pacific Marine Circle Route
- Driving time alone is about 7 hours total. Making pit-stops, which is highly recommended, will extend the road trip.
- Any type of vehicle can make the trip, from small cars to SUV's.
- Your vehicle should be in good mechanical condition since cell phone service is limited in the rural areas.
- Obey all service signs that state the distance to the next gas station!
- If the weather is rainy, visibility will be limited and the views limited. Instead, make the trip on a sunny day.
- I love Vancouver Island but the Pacific Marine Route was a long drive. The ocean views from Sooke to Prot Renfrew are limited because of the tall trees and the hikes to get to the shore were muddy. It's an adventure alright.
The Pacific Marine Circle Route is a coast-to-coast journey into the wilds of Vancouver Island. It’s a long day trip from Victoria. Make stops along the way to hike coastal trails or to enjoy a relaxing meal. Taking this route is a good way to explore the slower pace of island life.
Check out other road trips in Canada.
Get more insider tips on Canadian Adventures at Scenic Travel Canada.