Mystic Beach is a spectacular area of wilderness stretching along some of the most beautiful ocean scenery Vancouver Island has to offer!
The hunt was on for the perfect Vancouver Island overnight backpacking spot and we found it at Mystic Beach.
When my 11 year old daughter Kaia asked if I would take her on her first daddy & daughter backpack trip I responded with a resounding “YES”.
I’m always up for making lifelong epic family memories. Backpacking is bonding at it’s best with no worldly distractions.
Picking the perfect trail for this excursion was the first thing that came to mind. That, and all the work that goes into getting ready for a backpack trip. Thankfully, Gretta was fully behind the idea and jumped right in to help.
Mystic Beach is located on the West Coast of Vancouver Island about an hour and a half from Victoria. It’s part of the world famous 47 kilometre Juan De Fuca Marine Trail. It’s a spectacular area of wilderness stretching along some of the most beautiful ocean scenery Vancouver Island has to offer.
Juan de Fuca park contains numerous special natural features, including waterfalls, grottos, old growth forest, estuaries, tide pools, and shale and quartz rock formations. Not to mention the ample opportunities for sightings of Grey and Orca whales, seals, and sea lions feeding off the shoreline.
I know, do we know how to pick them or what? I figured why not go for the best. Maybe someday we will do the whole Juan de Fuca trail… but for this time, 2 kilometres into a wilderness beach campsite was perfect for us.
To access Mystic Beach you’ll want to park your car at the China Beach/Juan de Fuca trail head, which is the most Southern access point to the Juan de Fuca Trail. Don’t bother looking for road signs to Mystic Beach because they don’t exist. It’s China beach you’re looking for.
Directions to Mystic Beach
The trail to Mystic beach winds through a majestic dense coastal forest, over boardwalks and even crosses a suspension bridge. While this all sounds lovely, the season you hike it can be very, very muddy.
The popularity of this trail shows itself by the erosion and exposed roots throughout the whole trek. Let’s just say there are a few tripping hazards.
It took us a about an hour 1/2 to hike to the beach, but we had heavy backpacks on and we stopped a ton to enjoy ourselves and take breaks.
Overview of Mystic Beach
Camping At Mystic Beach
As soon as you enter the beach, the camping section is north. There’s a sign with a map outlining this when you arrive at the beach. It was quite windy so the camping spot we found behind a few bushes was perfect. There are only 2-3 spots just like this. The rest of the camping spots are on flatter sections directly on the rock beach. With a good thermarest you’ll be comfortable.
The cost for an overnight stay is $10 per adult and $5 per child. The Mystic Beach camping registration form can be found in the parking lot.
Things To See & Do
The view is absolutely incredible. My daughter crawled into bed around 6:30pm and I had no problem looking out over the water from my beach campfire spot for hours and hours.
Giant Rope Swing At Mystic Beach- This has to be one of the most iconic spots on Vancouver Island to enjoy a rope swing. When you hit the beach walk south and you can’t miss it.
Waterfalls at Mystic Beach –The main waterfall is on the north end of the beach. During the rainy months there’s an incredible amount of water pouring down, but no matter what season the waterfall is beautiful.
The second waterfall is on the North end. Look for a riverbed coming out of the woods and after a 10 minute hike up over the rocks you’ll be rewarded with small pour over waterfall and then a larger one behind it. Careful walking on those rocks! It’s very slippery.
Caverns & Cliffs – On the north end of Mystic Beach you’ll find a cavern you can walk right under. Don’t miss exploring the tide pools as well. The highlight of the south end of the beach has to be the majestic cliffs and rock formations towering above.
Take a stroll – Escape from it all and look over the vast horizon, enjoy the water crashing onto the shore, look up at the towering trees, watch the sun come up or go down, throw a few rocks. Being quiet in nature is proven to heal the soul.
Beach Campfires At Mystic Beach – Small campfires are permitted above the high water mark. As for firewood you won’t find a park operator selling any here. The official rule is beach driftwood only. We scrounged around and found a few dead sticks to start our bed of coals which kept our driftwood burning well into the night.
Rock cairns/stacks (North End) – Leave your mark and see how high you can stack rocks onto one another. There’s an awesome collection of past hikers demonstrating their skills.
Hike to China Beach – If hiking to Mystic Beach wasn’t enough and you are feeling ambitious, head back in the direction you came from and go explore China Beach next door.
Things To Know Before You Go To Mystic Beach
Is There a food cache? – Yup, if you don’t want unwanted visitor sniffing at your tent in the middle of the night use it.
Is There Fresh Water At Mystic Beach? – There are a few spots to collect fresh water coming down onto the beach. Bring a water water purifier or purification tablets and you’ll be just fine. In our case we didn’t have either so we boiled our water. It’s not worth the risk drinking right from the stream, unless you want to try your chances with giardia.
When Is The Best Time To Go To Mystic Beach? We were there mid-week during the April and saw a few groups of people, but not many at all. I’m sure during the summer months and especially on weekends it’s quite busy. Avoid those times if you are looking for a more remote wilderness experience.
Porta Potties – Yes.