Nature Challenge
Botanical Beach
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  Tide Pool   Botanical Beach is a part of Juan de Fuca Provincial Park which is located along the southwestern shoreline of Vancouver Island. Juan de Fuca is made up of Botanical Beach, China Beach and the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail. Botanical Beach is located just passed the town of Port Renfrew at the terminus of Highway 14. The areas geology makes it unique, which in turn provides for some fascinating biology. Tide pools abound along the shoreline, carved out of rock ledges and basins. The pools are alive with a variety of interesting plants and animals all interacting in the unique ecology of the inter-tidal zone. Clams, barnicals, starfish, anenomes, sea cucumbers and a variety of crab (the comic relief, perhaps) make up a large part of the show's cast.  
  If you observe the pools for a while you'll noticing just how animated they really are. Children are particulary fascinated by the pools but be careful to keep them away from the edge for thier sake (many of the pools are deep) and that of the sea life within. Just a small amount of sun screen can contaminate the pool's water and threaten the life within. Make a particular effort not to disturb the pools in any way to ensure they survive intact for generations to come.  
  Botanical Beach's Amazing Geology
  Botanical Beach is one of three seperate entities that make up the park proper. In this region you'll find the tide pools, hiking trails and the trailhead for the forty seven kilometre Juan de Fuca Trail, which streatches along the shoreline to the eastern region of the park at China Beach. You'll find amenities at the nearby town of Port Renfrew as well as several towns along the parks access route.  
For the best viewing of the pools arrive just before the low tide of the day. The lower the tide the better of course. Have a look at our resources section for a link to the Federal Governments tides and water levels site.

Botanical Beach doesn't have any camping. China Beach at the far end of the Juan de Fuca Trail has a wonderful campground. There is also a rustic campground in Port Renfrew at the Pacheedaht Reserve. Along route from Victoria you'll also find camping at French Beach Provincial Park and in the Town of Sooke. This streach of shoreline is very popular and reservations are recommended during the high season.
Wilderness camping is available for backpackers along the Juan de Fuca Trail.
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The tide pools are of course the principle attaction here, but by no means the ownly natural wonder. The areas' geology is a photographers' playground, with many features that keep changing with the shifting light. Winter storms are also an amazing phenomena to observe ( from a safe distance as rogue waves are a danger in this area). Whales are another wonder to watch for as they make their way through areas waters. This is prime habitat for black bears and cougars. This is also a good area for bird observation.


Botanical Beach has a number of short hikes including of course the hike down to the beach itself. Out and back day hikes can also be done on the Juan de Fuca Trail which starts (or finishes) in the park. Remember this is cougar and black bear habitat so be particularly careful with the little ones.

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This is of course also the trailhead for the wonderful Juen de Fuca Trail. This forty seven kilometer hike is in many ways an extension (literally) of its better known breathren, the West Coast Trail. An advantage for backpackers looking for classic west coast hiking is that the Juan de Fuca can be taken in stages, rather than all at once. Remember this is courgar and black bear habitat so be particulary careful with the little ones.
Nearby Port Renfrew marks the starting point (or terminus) of the world famous West Coast Trail which takes you north to Bamfield through the southern section of Pacific Rim National Park. 

Sea Kayaking

Due to the exposure, the difficult shoreline and the strong winds of the Juan de Fuca Strait this area of the coast doesn't attract a lot of kayakers. Advanced paddlers can launch from Port San Juan and explore the coast of the park from off shore. Extended trips can be taken towards Victoria or north along the shoreline of the west coast trail.
Note: The weather in the area is extremely variable and difficult to predict, the waters can become dangerous in the blink of an eye. Rugged coastline, breaking waves and cliffs may make landings impossible. Water temperatures are very low at any time of year and hypothermia is an ever present danger.

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Mountain Biking and Cycling

Bicycles of all varieties are restricted to the roads in and around the park.

Winter Adventures

Typically the wet coast isn''t an area that supports much in the way of snow sports. On the upside you can still hike and for the truly intrepid, camp or backpack the trails. The one bright spot for snow sport fanatics is the backcountry ski trail along the San Juan Ridge. Contact the Kludahk Outdoors Club through thier website for more information.
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Interactive Map of Botanical Bay and Port Renfrew Area

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  Botanical Beach Shore
  Getting There
From Victoria take Highway 1 to exit 14 where you'll drive south along the Veterans Memorial Parkway to Sooke Road, then   start heading west. You'll pass through Sooke, Jordan River, and Shirley as you make your way along the Juan de Fuca Straight. Once you reach Port Renfrew just keep on going until you enter the park. You'll find parking just above the trail head which will take you to the beach. 
Surrounding Area

Port Renfrew Online
Port Renfrew Chamber of Commerce

Sooke to Port Renfrew
Discover Sooke
Sooke Harbour Chamber of Commerce
Sooke Regional Museum and Visitors Centre

Port Renfrew Weather - From the Weather Network
Tide Tables

Vancouver_Island - From Out-There
Victoria - From Out-There
Province of British Columbia
- From Out-There
Province of British Columbia - Official Site

Restaurants and Bars

Coastal Kitchen Cafe - Port Renfrew
17 Mile House Pub - 5126 Sooke Road, Sooke
Port Renfrew Pub (Port Renfrew Resorts) - Port Renfrew
Sooke Harbour House - Sooke
Guides, Outfitters, Sales & Rentals
Links of Interest
Canadian Geographic
Conde Nast Traveler

Islands Magazine
National Geographic
National Geographic Adventure
National Geographic Traveler
Outside Magazine
Sunset Magazine
Travel and Leisure Magazine
Wavelength Magazine
Out-There's Destinations

Botanical Beach
Juan de Fuca Provincial Park
Port Renfrew, British Columbia, Canada

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