Pacific Northwest International Circle Route

Victoria's Inner Harbour

(iStock photo)

Transportation & Maps

Pacific Marine Circle Route

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1 to 3 days, 289.08 km (179.63 mi)

Swimming at the Sooke Potholes (Picture BC photo)
Swimming at the Sooke Potholes (Picture BC photo)

This coast to coast journey on Vancouver Island offers panoramic views of the Juan de Fuca, Haro and Georgia straits as well as the Saanich Peninsula. Enjoy a quieter way of life while visiting spectacular provincial parks, pastoral landscapes and wineries.

Please note: This is a remote route with limited services. Some sections may be narrow and sharp, and driving times may vary depending on type of vehicle. Please exercise caution when driving. For information on current road conditions, please visit www.drivebc.ca.

Select one of the parts to view its details:

All Parts
Victoria Legislative buildings, JF Bergeron photo
Part 1
Victoria to Sooke

41.25 km - about 0 hours 45 min

Begin your journey in Victoria, BC’s capital city, with a tour of the Parliament Buildings. Sheltered from the ocean, this seaside destination boasts a mild climate with lush, green vegetation inviting residents and visitors alike to explore its many beaches and parks.

There are city bus tours or horse-drawn carriages readily available, as well as new and historic shopping districts featuring antiques, arts and crafts, art galleries, malls and markets. Treat yourself to high tea at the ivy-covered Fairmont Empress hotel, built in 1908. Or visit the Maritime Museum of BC, where 5,000 nautical artifacts and interactive displays relate BC’s nautical history.

Head north via Highway 1, and then travel west along Highway 14 to Sooke. Choose one of many bed and breakfasts to tuck into for the night. En route, make time to stop at East Sooke Regional Park for bird watching. The park also has a network of hiking trails to explore.

Sooke Harbour House, Tom Ryan photo
Part 2

69.20 km - about 1 hours 17 min

Nearby at Sooke Potholes Provincial Park, explore the geological marvels carved deep in the sandstone bedrock from the last ice age. Hikes and walks abound and offer views of the jagged coastline and inspiring vistas of Juan de Fuca Strait and the Olympic Mountains. Fishing enthusiasts can enjoy catch and release fishing along the Sooke River, an important spawning river for coho and chinook salmon. The park is an ideal place to watch the annual salmon spawning run. Visit the Sooke Region Museum and plan to dine at Sooke Harbour House – an award-winning west coast restaurant that only uses local ingredients.

Continue to Port Renfrew, home of both the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail and the historic West Coast Trail.

Port Renfrew Beach
Part 3
Port Renfrew

61.69 km - about 1 hours 10 min

Between Jordan River and Port Renfrew, signs will guide you to campgrounds and the entry points for hikes along the 47-km/29-mi Juan de Fuca Marine Trail – good for day hikers and overnight trekkers alike. For those who prefer fishing, Port Renfrew is an ideal base to book a trip for salt or freshwater trips, available year round.

Drive from Port Renfrew to the quaint community of Lake Cowichan.

Fishing in Cowichan River
Part 4
Lake Cowichan

27.33 km - about 0 hours 21 min

Along Cowichan Lake, Vancouver Island’s second largest lake, campgrounds dot the shoreline. Take a dip in the water, explore the lake by boat or canoe, or cast out a fishing line. There are several hiking trails in the area, including a one-hour loop covering both sides of the Cowichan River in Cowichan River Provincial Park. Take in spectacular views of the canyons and gorges in BC’s temperate rainforest from the restored 66-Mile and Holt Creek railway trestles on the TransCanada Trail.

Travel southeast to the city of Duncan, where there is a self-guided walking tour of the magnificent Aboriginal carvings located in the community.

Quw'utsun' Cultural Centre in Duncan, Tom Ryan photo
Part 5

13.08 km - about 0 hours 12 min

In Duncan, take a “Totem Tour” and visit the traditional buildings at the Quw’utsun’ Cultural Centre where carvers practice their trade. Duncan is also home to the BC Forest Discovery Centre, which showcases BC’s logging and steam-related history through interactive exhibits and live eco-systems displays. Take a relaxing train ride on a historic locomotive as it winds its way over a wooden trestle and around the museum grounds.

Enjoy the fruits of the Cowichan at many wineries. Spend an afternoon sampling various wines in tasting rooms and shops, or take a guided tour of the wine making facilities and vineyards. Head south on Highway 1 into the South Cowichan communities of Cobble Hill – home of BC’s first cidery – and then to Mill Bay.

Mill Bay ferry and Saanich Inlet
Part 6
South Cowichan to Victoria

76.53 km - about 1 hours 10 min

From the South Cowichan, you may want to stop at Bamberton and Goldstream provincial parks before continuing south to Victoria on Highway 1. This scenic stretch of highway is also known as Malahat Drive.

Alternatively, board a BC Ferries vessel at Mill Bay to Brentwood Bay. This 25-minute ride, dubbed “Vancouver Island’s most beautiful shortcut,” lets you complete your holiday with a visit to the famous Butchart Gardens, located in Brentwood Bay, before heading south on Highway 17 to Victoria.

(Note: Map shows the Mill Bay ferry option back to Victoria.)

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 City  Visitor Centre  Driving Route

Driving Directions

Part 1 - Victoria to Sooke - 41.25 km - about 0 hours 45 min

Head north-west on Wharf St towards Courtney St

0.54 km

Turn right onto Johnson St

0.43 km

Turn left onto Douglas St/Trans-Canada Hwy/BC-1 NContinue to follow Trans-Canada Hwy/BC-1 N

12.17 km

Take exit 14 towards Langford/Sooke

1.27 km

Merge onto Millstream Rd/Veterans Memorial Pkwy/BC-14 W (signs for Peatt Road)Continue to follow Veterans Memorial Pkwy/BC-14 WDestination will be on the left

1.53 km

Head south-west on Veterans Memorial Pkwy/BC-14 W towards Langford Pkwy

1.77 km

Turn right onto Juan De Fuca Hwy/Sooke Rd/BC-14 WContinue to follow Juan De Fuca Hwy/BC-14 WDestination will be on the left

23.53 km
Part 2 - Sooke - 69.20 km - about 1 hours 17 min

Head southwest on W Coast Rd/Juan De Fuca Hwy/BC-14 W toward Whiffin Spit Rd

69.20 km
Part 3 - Port Renfrew - 61.69 km - about 1 hours 10 min

Head southwest on W Coast Rd/Juan De Fuca Hwy/BC-14 W toward Deering Rd

0.00 km

Take the 1st right onto Deering Rd (signs for Lake Cowichan)

1.11 km

Continue onto Deering Rd

1.86 km

Turn right onto Pacific Marine Rd (signs for Lake Cowichan/Duncan)

50.74 km

Turn right onto S Shore Rd (signs for Lake Cowichan)Destination will be on the right

7.98 km
Part 4 - Lake Cowichan - 27.33 km - about 0 hours 21 min

Head northeast on Cowichan Valley Hwy/BC-18 E toward Cowichan Valley Hwy/BC-18 W

21.41 km

Turn right onto Tansor Rd

0.86 km

Continue onto Cowichan Lake Rd

1.89 km

At the roundabout, continue straight

0.06 km

Continue onto Sherman Rd

1.67 km

At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Canada Ave

1.43 km
Part 5 - Duncan - 13.08 km - about 0 hours 12 min

Head north on Canada Ave

0.01 km

Take the 1st right onto Ingram St

0.06 km

Turn right onto Duncan St

0.05 km

Take the 1st left onto Coronation Ave

0.57 km

Turn right onto Island Hwy/Trans-Canada Hwy/BC-1 S

12.38 km
Part 6 - South Cowichan to Victoria - 76.53 km - about 1 hours 10 min

Head south-east on Island Hwy/Trans-Canada Hwy/BC-1 S

19.04 km

Slight left to stay on Island Hwy/Trans-Canada Hwy/BC-1 SContinue to follow Trans-Canada Hwy/BC-1 S

21.17 km

Take exit 8 towards View Royal

0.39 km

Turn left onto Helmcken Rd (signs for View Royal)

2.01 km

Continue onto Wilkinson Rd

0.41 km

Slight left onto Interurban Rd

3.94 km

Turn left onto W Saanich Rd/BC-17A NDestination will be on the left

8.26 km

Head south-east on W Saanich Rd/BC-17A S towards Columbia Ave

1.14 km

Turn left at benvenuto Ave onto Keating Cross Rd

3.20 km

Merge onto Patricia Bay Hwy/BC-17Continue to follow Patricia Bay Hwy

15.72 km

Turn right onto Pandora Ave

0.59 km

Turn left onto Wharf StDestination will be on the left

0.66 km