Aptly named, Mystic beach is a pseudo-sandy heaven on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The beautiful beach is a juxtaposed against cliffs on one side and wild ocean on the other side, and you can only imagine the force of the waves against the rock walls during bigger storms that no one but the birds can see.
This is one of my happy places. Summers are spent hiking down the 2km trail and enjoying the day in the drizzle of falls that leaks onto the sand below, doing yoga on the beach and playing with my beloved little hound. The only differences that marked this trip was the cold and the positive torrent of water coming down the falls.
December 27th and not much more than 4 degrees Celcius had Chance and I frolicking in the waves. Granted we were wearing touques, but it still was not your average bikini weather!
However living in our respective vans, staying clean takes top priority only behind warmth and food. So in we went with the biodegradable soap and toes that were numb before entering the water.
Then breath came. A sharp intake followed by the realization that you misjudged your footing. In less than a second an ice cold avalanche of water sweeps you off your feet and laughing in that shivering kind of way you right yourself only in time for the next wave to rush to shore. Pure bliss.
Of course you’re already cold.. so make sure to take your time getting back to your clothing. The other hikers are enjoying watching you freeze. The long rope swing this side of the water fall can take you flying over the waves, low enough for your foot to kiss the water spraying a rooster tail of foam back up at you. Joy. Peace. True presence.
You can access the trail head from the top parking lot just off Highway 14 about 4 and a half kilometers north of Jordan River. The turn off is well marked with a sign that says Juan De Fuca Provincial Park, China Beach, Day Use-Trailhead. The trail marks the beginning of the 3 day Juan De Fuca Marine Trail stretching from Mystic Beach to Port Renfrew.
The trail down to Mystic Beach, though well maintained, at this time of year requires some good hikking boots or straight up gum boots, as previously mentioned the trail is only 2km long and takes about 45min to get from the parking lot to the beach. I found this trail not unlike parts of the West Coast Trail, which picks up from Port Renfrew to Bamfield, though be mindful that the West Coast Trail is a much more technical adventure.
From the parking lot you weave downhill through beautiful ancient forest. The beauty and majesty of the forest gives off this vital energy that permeates your skin as you hike, it nourishes the soul on a level that is unatainable in anywhere but mother natures domain. As you can see in the above photo the trail can get very muddy, there are roots everywhere and some very slippery wooden surfaces. Chance and I didn’t use poles, though for someone who had balance concerns or was nervous at all I would recomend them.
After the trail winds for a bit you’ll cross a high suspension bridge over a river way down below. Its not very long but if you have a small dog like Maggie you’ll have to pick them up as the metal has larger gaps and is quite sharp for small paws. After the bridge continue along the trail, it will start going down and you’ll be able to hear the crash of the waves. Note that the beach is much more enjoyable at low tide as you can walk left towards the beautiful waterfall. I’ve added a link for you to check the tide schedule.
Remember the park is perfect bear and cougar country, so make sure you read the advisories posted on the board at the head of the trail, and do not feed the wildlife.
Check the tides here: http://www.waterlevels.gc.ca/eng