Deep in the Sooke hills, up on Photo Ridge. Image: gordontolman via Instagram

Looking for new hiking route this summer? The Capital Regional District (CRD) has got your back.

The Sooke Hills Wilderness Trail is now open for exploring. It runs between Langford’s Humpback Reservoir and the CRD’s boundary with the Cowichan Valley Regional District.

Part of Something Bigger

However, the trail also acts as a connection for a much larger project: The Great Trail, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this summer.

“The Great Trail is one of the world’s longest networks of multi-use recreational trails,” said Valerie Pringle, Chair of the Trans Canada Trail Foundation. “Once fully connected, it will stretch nearly 24,000 km from the Atlantic to the Pacific to the Arctic oceans.”

Currently, barring minor missed connections, the trail connects over 1000 communities through all 10 provinces and 3 territories.

Making Connections

On Vancouver Island, the addition of the new Sooke Hills section adds to a larger route. You can now follow The Great Trail from Nanaimo through the Cowichan Valley, all the way to Victoria.

“The Sooke Hills Wilderness Trail is a major visitor opportunity in the vast 4,090-hectare Sooke Hills Wilderness Regional Park,” says CRD Board Chair Barbara Desjardins. “The park, along with adjacent watershed lands, helps protect Greater Victoria’s water supply, conserves biodiversity, and now provides recreational opportunities. The 13km unpaved trail offers outstanding hiking, cycling, and, in sections, horseback riding, across rivers, through forests, and over hilltops.”

The Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) also added a 9km extension to the Cowichan Valley Trail, which closes a gap in the overall Great Trail route.