Juan De Fuca Trail - Which direction do you prefer? - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 06-03-2020, 12:27 AM Thread Starter
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Default Juan De Fuca Trail - Which direction do you prefer?

Hi guys. I'm going to be hiking the Juan De Fuca trail this summer. Just wondering if anyone has any preferences to hiking south to north or north to south? Is it easier to catch the bus back to the trail head from any particular end?
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 06-03-2020, 01:15 AM
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I haven't hiked the whole thing, but I have parts. I'd prefer S -> N direction. Kinda moving away from civilization feel, saving best (Botanical Beach) for last etc. Also less driving both on 1st and last day, assuming Victoria direction. Not sure about the bus, think it doesn't go to Botanical Beach parking which is North Trailhead & you'd have to walk on asphalt 2km to Port Renfrew. Or hitch a ride from someone.



My 5 cents; someone else probably knows better.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 06-04-2020, 12:50 AM Thread Starter
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I haven't hiked the whole thing, but I have parts. I'd prefer S -> N direction. Kinda moving away from civilization feel, saving best (Botanical Beach) for last etc. Also less driving both on 1st and last day, assuming Victoria direction. Not sure about the bus, think it doesn't go to Botanical Beach parking which is North Trailhead & you'd have to walk on asphalt 2km to Port Renfrew. Or hitch a ride from someone.



My 5 cents; someone else probably knows better.
Thanks for the input. Do you know if one end is safer over the other for vehicle parking? I've heard of a lot of break-ins. This is the one thing that I hate most about multi-day trips. Is there anywhere nearby one of the trail heads that has secured parking? I don't mind if I have to pay.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 06-04-2020, 02:19 AM
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Originally Posted by ChubbyTuna View Post
Thanks for the input. Do you know if one end is safer over the other for vehicle parking? I've heard of a lot of break-ins. This is the one thing that I hate most about multi-day trips. Is there anywhere nearby one of the trail heads that has secured parking? I don't mind if I have to pay.

Don't know if one side is safer than the other. I've heard about these break-ins too. At China Beach parking warning signs were all over the place. Botanical Beach parking is quite remote, but also further for vandals to drive to, assuming they are coming from Vic area. So it's probably 6 1/2 - half a dozen.



I'd just leave car unlocked, leave open compartments & put sign "nothing of value". Like if you park at Rubble Creek for Garibaldi hike.


Again I am not expert on this area, opinion based on couple of day trips I did from Vic last year.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 06-04-2020, 11:45 AM
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Some years ago my wife and I did the trail. We parked in a parking lot in Port Renfrew, then caught the bus back to China. Did the hike to Botanical and walked out to Port Renfrew back to the parking lot. The lot was a persons front yard, they charged for the parking, but it was not a lot. They had it fenced in and spot lights, so was safe. I have been out to all the trail heads many times, and break ins happen all the time. Sometimes the break in is simply to destroy and they don't take anything, just make a mess. There is always something to steal from a car, such as the battery (see that at the Cape Scott trailhead). Also insurance papers and plates.
I would look for alternative parking options rather then park at the trail head for an extended amount of time.
Which way to hike. We did it South to North. The hardest and longest legs of the trail are up to Sombrio beach. So do those sections when you are still strong, however your pack will also be heaviest. From Sombrio north the trail is mostly level and a lot of boardwalk. It also turns inland and so your camping sites are in the forest. The legs up to Sombrio are super nice as you walk along the beach and camp on the beach. Be aware of tides as the alternative high tide trails are far harder then just beach tramping.
Happy trails
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 06-08-2020, 11:23 PM
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We came from the WCT and proceeded to the JdF, North to South, walking the road which isn't too bad, small, trees, no traffic at least in June, looking forward to Botanical Beach). I wouldn’t say that one direction is overly better than the other, but I liked having the choice at the end whether to stay another night at the beach or an easy short hike further out. The Northern part is pretty muddy and wet deeper in the forest, 7k from the last campsite to the end and strolling around at Botanical Beach after that doesn’t seem too appealing to me (we couldn’t in the beginning because there was a black bear). I would also prefer to have a shorter return in general but that's also not overly relevant in this case (we hitchhiked to Sooke and took the city bus from there).

Last edited by Kokanee75; 06-08-2020 at 11:34 PM.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 06-17-2020, 01:28 PM
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If you are concerned about vehicle theft, consider taking the West Coast Trail bus/JDF Trail bus, google for link. The money you spend is definitely worth the peace of mind.

They can pick you up in downtown Victoria, and drop you at China beach, and then pick you back up in Port Renfrew.
The only catch would be walking the ~3KM from Botanical TH back to the pick up spot near the Pub.

I have done it both ways, from Botanical to China, and from China to Botanical.
I found it easier (just my observation), starting at China beach going toward Botanical.

“Real adventure is defined best as a journey from which you may not come back alive, and certainly not as the same person.” - Yvon Chouinard
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 07-25-2020, 08:17 PM
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I hiked the JdF south to north a few years ago (a decade ago?). My wife and I parked our car at a restaurant in Port Renfrew after asking in advance if it was cool to do so (and had big meal there after completing the trip!). This was in April so things were pretty quiet in the low/shoulder season, though I'm sure there's got to be a decent spot to stash your car somewhere in downtown PR. Once we parked the car, we hauled our packs out to the highway (possibly somewhere in front of the firehall?) and hitched to the southern trailhead. Took us a while to get picked up (it was April after all), but I still remember the guy who finally stopped. He was a teacher from Ontario who had just moved to Victoria and was out for a drive to see the region. It sure was nice to have the car waiting for us at the end of the trail. One thing to keep in mind is that we had to hike from the northern end of the trail into town to get our car. This didn't't seem like a huge deal when we set out, but after excitedly counting down the final few KMs on our hike, it was a HUGE bummer to have to walk a few more kilometres along the road. Still a great trip that I'd love to do again someday, except that I have a dog now and have never taken him (and my wife) hitchhiking! I do, however, now have two cars, but that's getting pretty bougie. Have a great trip.
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