Muir Creek Park

Muir Creek Park is east of the seaside community of Sooke, one of thirteen communities that form the Capital Regional District of British Columbia and is part of the Juan De Fuca Electoral District. Muir Creek flows from the San Juan Ridge area of southern Vancouver Island. The Muir Creek watershed drains about seven thousand four hundred hectares into the Pacific Ocean. The watershed has been extensively logged both selectively and clear-cut since the mid eighteen hundreds. The head waters of Muir Creek form on Mount Muir. The summit of Mount Muir is about seven hundred and fifty meters above sea level and is the highest point on Vancouver Island that is south of the Leech River Fault. The valley is a maze of old and new logging roads. Mr. John Muir was a European settler on southern Vancouver Island in the eighteen sixties. He settled along the shore line near the creek hence the creek and mountain commemorate his tenacity as a Hudson Bay Company employee, logger and sawmill operator and as a magistrate. The Scotsman eventually joined the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia.

Two walks are described here: beach and forest.

For the beach walk stroll along the flats heading south from the parking area. Continue about four hundred meters along a well-trodden nature trail. The trail is bordered by blackberry and scotch broom bushes and leads to the estuary and ocean waters of Orveas Bay in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. (Curiously, the bay was initially named Orbea Bay by Manual Quimper in seventeen ninety.) The beach is a rough cobble and sandy area that may contain pottery or arrowheads from the seasonal usage of the T’sou-ke people over the past couple of thousand years. Continue west along the shoreline to see the well-formed geological strata. The strata range over twenty million years. It is possible to walk about three kilometres of shore line to Kirby Creek.

The forest walk is a rough nature trail, with steep sections, that leads upstream. There are old growth trees along the creek including cedar, hemlock, Douglas fir, yew and Sitka spruce. Spectacular giant maples, mosses and lush ferns border the trail. There are a couple of good swimming spots in the lower section of the creek. The creek hosts gravel spawning beds for steelhead, coho and chum salmon. Two species of trout, brown and cutthroat, dwell in the creek.  About five kilometres up stream is an area called the canyon with cliffs, water cascades and swimming holes.  Further along is an old logging bridge and a yew tree that is listed in the Provincial Big Tree Registry. There are about nine other trees that are registered as big trees (trunk circumferences over three and half meters). The geology of this area has made it popular with local fossil hunters. This is a good place to walk in your backyard.

 

Geographical location N48º 23’   W123º 52’

 

Muir Creek Park can be reached from the Trans Canada Highway. It’s well over an hour from Victoria, B.C. Take the Langford Parkway exit and follow along to reach Sooke Road (Hwy 14). Follow highway 14 as it becomes West Coast Road to reach the park. Turn to the left after crossing over Muir Creek Bridge. Access to Mount Muir is possible via Anderson Main or Butler Main with constant awareness of current logging activities; this area is popular with off shore motor vehicles. There is limited parking in all areas. City buses travel along Sooke Road.

 

Further information on Muir Creek: https://www.muircreek.org

And about British Columbia’s big trees: https://bigtrees.forestry.ubc.ca/

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