Roche Cove Regional Park is partly within the community of Sooke, a coastal community in the Capital Regional District of British Columbia. This park also lies with the District of Metchosin. It includes the northwestern slope of Mount Matheson and borders on the Juan de Fuca Electoral District area of East Sooke.
Roche Cove Regional Park was formed in nineteen eighty five and encompasses the sea waters that connect with Sooke Basin, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Pacific Ocean. The Galloping Goose Regional Trail is though this park. The trail heads both east and west and it labelled “Km35” of the fifty five kilometer trail at the parking area off Gillespie Road. The GGT is built on an old railway line and extends from Victoria to Sooke. Refer to the Galloping Goose Trail-Metchosin or –Sooke for information to the east or west respectively.
Roche Cove is sheltered from most winds although the waters often appear murky due to runoff from Matheson Creek, Wildwood Creek, Nest Creek and the smaller waterways. The rocky and muddy beach on the east end of the cove is accessed from walking along the Galloping Goose Trail about eight hundred meters. Turn right onto a rough pathway to head down to the shoreline. This is a pleasant place for a salt water swim in the summer months and a mediation place year round. Look for small clams, barnacles, snails along the shore line as well as river otters and seals. When its time to take a longer walk follow the pathway along Matheson Creek to Matheson Lake. The Matheson Creek Trail is about a kilometer long and lies in the flood plain of Matheson Creek. It is easy to extend a walk around Matheson Lake and to trails of that park. Enjoy the lush ferns, skunk cabbage, hemlock, cedar and big leaf maple trees as well as smaller plants of the area. While this parkland was logged, in the early nineteen hundreds, there are a few tall old trees that provide shelter and shade for the flood plain.
The main trail in the Roche Cove Park is the Cedar Grove Trail. This trail lies on the slopes of the park land on the north side of the cove. This rough trail leads up the slope with a couple of switch backs to a ridge with good views of Roche Cove and south toward Mount Matheson. The ridge, Cougar Ridge, can also be access from the trail at end of La Bonne Road in Metchosin. The Cedar Grove Trail curves down slope to reach the Galloping Goose Trail near Wildwood Creek. There are several desire trails off of Cedar Grove Trail but the views of the water in the cove will help to keep you oriented.
The third Lieutenant, Richard Roche, sailed on the HMS Satellite, a British navy vessel that was stationed in Esquimalt and photo graphed the areas around Victoria in the late eighteen fifties. Roche participated in the joint military occupation of San Juan Island which also commemorates his name. Roche was an amateur photographer and colleague of F.G. Claudet.
Geographical location N48º 22’ 28” W123º 37’ 59”
Roche Cove Regional Park can be reached from the Trans Canada Highway. Take the Langford Parkway exit and follow along to reach Sooke Road (Hwy 14). Follow highway 14 to Gillespie Road. Turn left onto Gillespie Road and continue along its hills and curves reach Roche Cove Park. There are signs along the road that indicate the parking lot. Turn left into the parking lot. There is weekday bus service along Gillespie Road with a stop near the parking lot.
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