Charters River – Sea to Sea Park is in the seaside community of Sooke, one of thirteen communities that form the Capital Regional District of British Columbia. Charters River is a tributary of the Sooke River, located on the southern end of Vancouver Island. Shield, Crabapple and Grass lakes flow into Charters River. Lands in this area were acquired from the generous donation of Dr. J. Clearihue in two thousand and eleven. The Sooke River flows into Sooke Basin, Sooke Harbour and onto the Strait of Juan de Fuca. This section of the park hosts several buildings including a salmon interpretative center and a large building for the salmon rearing pens. Chinook, coho, sockeye and chum salmon spawn in Sooke River and Charters Creek. There are also steelhead, rainbow trout and cutthroat trout in the rivers. There is a creek side nature trail, Charters River Trail, with a rough footpath and several small pedestrian bridges over the spawning channels of Charters River. Second growth forest shades the nature trail and creek. Cottonwood, big leaf maple, cedar and hemlock trees with a varied understory of ocean spray, snow berries, blackberries and salal can be seen. Charters River Trail is about a kilometer in length and provides excellent viewing of the salmon spawning channels and riparian area. The trailhead is near the bridge on Sooke River Road but can be access from the roadway to the interpretation center.
The Grass Lake Trail and the Galloping Goose Trail- Sooke can be accessed from this park area. Both trails are accessed from the old logging road seen on the right side of the interpretation center past the chain link fence. The distance to Grass Lake is roughly ten kilometers with an elevation change of four hundred and seventy five meters. There are many desire trails in the Sea to Sea Park and care should take to be prepared for orientation and wilderness hiking when following the flagging tape for this destination. The Galloping Goose Trail – Sooke is about a couple of hundred meters from the parking area for Charters Creek. There is an older railway trestle that is part of the Goose Trail that provides views to the west over Sooke River valley. Both trails can be extended into longer hikes.
Geographical location N48º 24’ 51” W123º 42’ 36”
Charters River – Sea to Sea Park can be reached from the Trans-Canada Highway. Take the Langford Parkway exit and follow along to reach Sooke Road (Hwy 14). Follow Sooke Road to the Sooke River Road. Turn right onto Sooke River Road continue along to reach the bridge over Charters River. Turn right immediately after the bridge into a small parking lot. The rough gravel road continues from the parking area of the interpretative center. There is limited parking along this road. There is a disinfection facility located near this green space. This is about a fifty minute drive from Victoria. There is a city bus stop along Sooke Road near the Sooke River Road.
and an interesting tidbit of history about Dr Clearihue