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Sooke: Parks: Sooke Pot Holes

A SWIMMERíS PARADISE, the Sooke potholes are one of the most popular swimming spots in Sooke and Greater Victoria, BC.

Pick any Sunday during the dog days of summer. Chances are itís sunny, about 25 degrees outside and you wish you could peel your skin off to beat the heat. But instead of practicing your Robbie Robertson impersonations, why not just go to the beach instead. If youíre willing to travel somewhere picturesque, then the Sooke Potholes is where you should be headed. This cool swimming spot is a scenic half hour drive from the city centre. Most traces of Victoria disappear the closer you get to Sooke and are replaced with lush forests and single lane traffic each way along Sooke Road. To get there, take Douglas Street out of the city. Head towards Colwood by following the signs. You might be tempted to stop in Colwood and take a dip at Thetis Lake, but continue on towards Sooke, passing through Colwood, Langford and Metchosin. Once in Sooke, watch for Edward Milne High. Itís on your right. Head down Sooke River Road for about five to 10 minutes. The road ends at the Potholes Park.

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Secluded beach areas at Sooke Pot Holes

The water is clear and cool, and the scenery looks a lot like a Tourism B.C. brochure photo shoot. But just because this place is tucked away off the Sooke River, and is at least half an hour outside of Victoria by car, that doesnít mean it isnít popular with locals. Parking can be a problem during the peak of summer. Either get down to the river early or be prepared to park further up the road. (Hereís a tip: If you park anywhere outside of the parking lot make sure that your tires are not touching the paved road. Otherwise you will be towed.) You can also get to the potholes by biking along the Galloping Goose Trail. The trail passes right beside the park. Keep in mind that from Victoria, itís more than a 30-km trip. If you take your bicycle, make sure youíve got the stamina for the ride, the swim and the ride back home. Thereís more to the Sooke Potholes than just swimming. A small creek runs under a wooden bridge on the way from the parking lot. Further upstream along the creek, there is a modest, but photo worthy spot, complete with a waterfall, mossy rocks and shallow pools of clear water. Since most people will be heading for the beach, thereís a chance that you will have this waterfall to yourself for a while.

Sooke Pot Holes

There are also several bush trails in the area that are ideal for light hiking. For the most part, the trails around the creek do not require any intense commitment on the part of explorers, but only venture where youíre comfortable and keep in mind that cougars have been spotted in this area. They have known to wander right inside of some more populated areas of the Sooke district. Enjoy yourself, but stay alert, especially if youíre with young children. The water in the Sooke Potholes always seems to be just right on a hot summer day. And because there are small beaches along much of the accessible river, thereís plenty of room to splash around. One of the more interesting sights to see at the Sooke Potholes are the cliff divers, usually younger men or boys who climb up the stony cliffs surrounding the potholes and then jump into the water. While this may appear fun, local authorities invariably rescue people who do not quite reach the water. Sooke Fire Rescue had to be called to the potholes on at least three occasions last summer. Two of those calls were diving related accidents. Because the Sooke Potholes is a provincial park and not a Capital Region Park, there are no lifeguards on duty. The closest rescue vehicles are several minutes away, so itís always a good idea to play it safe.

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hiking trails at Sooke Pot Holes - CLICK PICTURE TO ENLARGE swimming pools at Sooke Pot Holes - CLICK PICTURE TO ENLARGE swimming pools at Sooke Pot Holes - CLICK PICTURE TO ENLARGE river at Sooke Pot Holes - CLICK PICTURE TO ENLARGE
swimming pools at Sooke Pot Holes - CLICK PICTURE TO ENLARGE gorge at Sooke Pot Holes - CLICK PICTURE TO ENLARGE

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