Here are my favourite waterfalls near Victoria and heading out west towards Sooke and Port Renfrew.
This post features mostly other people’s fabulous photos, as I’m compiling a list of inspirational spots for outdoor photography on the island.
1. Niagara Falls, Goldstream Provincial Park
Driving from Victoria: 25 minutes
Hiking (one way): Easy 20 minutes (map & detailed walking directions)
Niagara Falls is 47.5 meters tall, making it almost as tall as its famous namesake.
Keep going up past the falls for an Instagram worthy view of the old railroad trestle.
2. Sitting Lady Falls, Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park
Driving from Victoria: 50 minutes (or take the bus!)
Hiking (one way): Easy 20 minutes (detailed walking directions)
A wooden viewing platform offers a place to take photos.
3. Maryvine Falls, Sooke Potholes
Driving from Victoria: 50 minutes
Hiking (one way): 20 minutes (tricky to navigate, directions below)
This one is a bit of a hidden treasure. It’s not the same classic waterfall as some of the others on this list. But I like how you can get up close … and a bit wet right from the trail.
To get there, park in the very last parking lot for the Sooke Potholes day use area. Look for a hiking trail at the end of the parking lot. It is clearly a hiking trail (uneven dirt, rocks, branches) and not the nearby Gallooping Goose (very flat and gravel). Follow it uphill for no more than 10-15 minutes.
If you hit the old concrete flowline, you’ve gone too far. (Or perhaps you’re just starting a different adventure…)
As you move further away from the waterfall, you are entering a wilderness area. There are no developed trails and it is very easy to get lost. There is limited cell phone reception making it difficult call 911 if you get lost.
If you aren’t sure if you are have the right equipment and skills to do this safely, you probably do not. Consider starting with a local hiking group instead.
4. Sandcut Beach, Jordan River Regional Park
Driving from Victoria: 90 minutes
Hiking (one way): 15 minutes
Is this the most photographed waterfall near Victoria? It may be … for good reasons!
It’s far enough away from town to feel like a road trip, but not far enough away that you have to worry about getting out of bed early on the weekend.
Since you’re out there, make sure to stop by Shirley Delicious for a coffee or Point no Point for lunch.
5. Mystic Beach Waterfall
Driving from Victoria: 1 hour 45 minutes (Road signs say China Beach, which is also nearby)
Hiking (one way): Moderate 60 minutes, mostly in the woods. No cell phone coverage. Bring hiking shoes, water, snacks. (Directions)
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You also get to enjoy the suspension bridges. And rope swing!
This waterfall is almost completely dry in the summer, so winter is the best time to go. You may need winter tires — check for the latest winter driving regulations before you go.
6. Hidden Waterfall at Sombrio Beach
Driving from Victoria: 2 hours (the last part is a bit adventurous)
Hiking (one way): 45 minutes, mostly easy beach walk followed by some scrambling up a creek
You could spend a weekend camping at Sombrio and not even know this waterfall was here.
The short distance from the highway to the parking lot is a bit of an adventure. BC Parks recommends a 4 wheel drive vehicle with sufficient clearance. The road is muddy, steep and full of giant potholes. I drove my 2wd Hyundai Accent there many times, but choose you should evaluate your own level of risk and love for your car.
This space is First Nation sacred site. Unfortunately, the stone pathway has been permanently defaced with graffiti scratched in the walls. If you visit, leave the area even better than you found it. If you see someone being disrespectful, please intervene if you feel safe doing so.
Bonus: Della Falls
Ready for an overnight backpacking adventure? This is not NEAR Victoria at all, but it is on Vancouver Island.
Della Falls is the tallest waterfall in Canada. And it’s a lovely beginner backpacking trip.
Let me know if I’m missing any great waterfalls in this direction and I’ll add them to this post. Would love to see your photos!
And remember: take nothing but photos and leave nothing but footprints!
Hidden Spring Falls is an awesome summer swimming hole right in the Goldstream Provincial Park campground!
Oh cool, I didn’t know that was even there 🙂
Thanks for making this list, Jes. I didn’t know about most of them. Good exploring times ahead!
The falls on the Mckenzie bight trail is quite nice.
The Cascade Falls on the McKenzie Bight Trail are completely dried up right now, but in the spring they are absolutely fantastic.
I Lived at River Jordan in 1969 in a Log Cabin that was right near the Waterfall, Had a Sauna on the Beach and would Rinse in the Cold Water from the Falls..
I used your directions once to get the the Mary Vine Falls. I went back after the recent snowstorm to get a different view of it and I forgot the part about going PAST the Galloping Goose Trail on to the old trail so I walked in deep snow along GG and went way, way, way too far and it was nearly dark by the time I got back to my truck (which was at the base because the whole road was blocked off before the 1st parking lot). My left leg is so sore I can barely walk today, haha. That’s what I get for trying to use my memory.
Also, there’s a waterfall just before the 1st Sooke Potholes parking lot that you can see from the little bridge over the creek.
Glad you got back safely! Good lessons.
I don’t always get where I wanted to go on every trip. But I always set a turn around time and make sure I have extra clothes, food, a tarp and other essential safety items. And I leave a trip plan with someone, so they can call 911 if I don’t get back on time.
Writing this here not just for you, but for anyone else reading this blog post! And it is one of my more popular ones. One of the biggest SAR groups in BC urges bloggers / Instagramers to talk about safety as much as they talk about where beautiful places are.