The southwest coast of Vancouver Island is home to some incredible beaches. While Mystic Beach and Sombrio Beach are often touted as some of the best, Sandcut Beach (sometimes spelt Sand Cut Beach) should definitely be included amongst these elite beaches. With a 3.5 kilometre long stretch of sand and pebble stone beach and two waterfalls that fall right onto the beach there is a lot to like about Sandcut Beach, BC.
Add in a short but spectacular trail through old-growth forest to get here and you’ve got a true west coast beach experience. The short and easy trail means it is very family-friendly and you can carry chairs, coolers and all of your beach gear down from the parking lot without too much hassle. This is one of the highlights of Jordan River Regional Park and should make it onto your list of places to visit next time you are down this direction.
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How to Get to Sandcut Beach, Vancouver Island
This beach is located on the southwest coast of Vancouver Island and is a 1-hour 20-minute drive from downtown Victoria. You will need to head north out of the city and then turn off towards Sooke. Most of the drive is along the picturesque winding roads of Highway 14 and you can follow the directions on the Sandcut Beach map above.
As you head towards Sandcut Beach, Sooke is 24 kilometres before the parking lot and if you hit Jordan River you will have gone too far. The entrance to the beach is 5 kilometres before the town of Jordan River when you are coming from the direction of Victoria. If you are coming from Port Renfrew then the drive should take around 45 minutes.
There is only a small, gravel parking lot on the side of the road that can be easy to drive right past if you are not looking out for it. There is only room for a handful of cars in the parking lot, although there is room for a few more cars along the side of the road. We recommend getting here early on a sunny day for easy beach access. The parking lot does have a trash can and a pit toilet, but there are no toilets at the beach itself.
Sandcut Beach Trail
The trail down to the beach is only 400-metres and it should only take around 7 minutes to walk to the beach from the parking lot. This could take longer if you are carrying lots of gear or taking young kids with you. Overall it is an easy trail and you will see lots of families down at the beach.
The trail starts along a beaten earth path that takes you through the beautiful old-growth forest. After a few minutes, you will walk down a set of wooden stairs before walking along a really pretty boardwalk that zigzags through a particularly lush green part of the forest and over some small streams and marshy ground.
Continue along the path and you will soon get your first sighting of the beach. Climb down one final set of stairs and you will be spit right out of the forest and onto this magnificent stretch of coastline.
Sandcut Beach, BC
From the end of the trail, you have the option to go either way along the beach. To the right, you are able to walk out along the point and you’ll get stunning views all the way back along the beach. This is a great walk but if you are coming to set up for the day, we recommend heading left as this will take you towards Sandcut Beach waterfall.
With 3.5-kilometres of beach to choose from, you’re guaranteed to find a quiet spot to yourself even on the busiest days of the year. The top part of the beach that runs along the treeline is made up of cobbled stones and rocks, with a small bank that leads down to a flat sandy surface. Like almost every beach along the west coast, you’ll see huge pieces of driftwood that have settled up next to the trees at the top of the beach.
The sandy part of the beach is perfect to run around and play games on and it makes getting in for a swim nice and easy. Many of the beaches in this area are rocky all the way to the shoreline but the flat sand makes going for a swim a breeze, although the water remains relatively chilly even in the summer months.
This would be a brilliant beach to visit anyway, but one of the main attractions here are the two waterfalls that fall side by side directly onto the beach. The flow of the water changes throughout the year based on the season so what you see may differ slightly from what we saw in the middle of the summer.
To reach the waterfall it is another few hundred metres of walking along the beach from the end of the trail through the forest. Luckily you can walk along the flat sand so it is an easy walk. The waterfalls are easy to spot as they fall from a large rock shelf that stands about 12 feet tall.
Sandcut Beach Waterfall
You can stand underneath both waterfalls to enjoy a natural shower in an absolutely spectacular setting as you look out over the Pacific Ocean and the Olympic Peninsula across the water. On a clear day, you can easily see all the way across to the United States. The water that flows off the rocks is actually quite warm and pleasant to stand under and you can even climb behind the waterfall along a small rock shelf which is a very cool experience.
Once you’ve seen the waterfalls from below you can actually climb up along the top of the rock shelf to get a view of the falls and the beach from above. There are some natural steps carved into the rock to the left-hand side of the waterfalls. The creek that feeds these waterfalls has carved unique patterns into the rock over thousands of years and we highly recommend spending some time exploring up here.
As you follow the flowing water upstream you’ll come across some small pools and miniature waterfalls that are perfect for kids to enjoy. You can follow the stream for ages but we recommend stopping just below the bridge. Here you will find a couple of larger pools and the one on the right-hand side is around waist deep and perfect for a swim if you don’t fancy going into the sea. It isn’t quite as cold and you may have it all to yourself.
While not quite a hidden gem this is one of the much quieter beaches along this section of coastline and the tiny parking lot means that there are never too many people here. Plan to take a minimum of 1.5 hours to explore this beach and much longer if you want to spend the day relaxing in the sun.
Sandcut Beach Camping
Unlike at Mystic Beach and Sombrio Beach, there is no camping allowed on the beach here. But that doesn’t mean you can’t camp by the beach nearby. The Jordan River Regional Park campground is located just on the other side of Jordan River and is only a 5.7 kilometre drive from here.
There are only a small number of sites available and they are all first come first serve. Drive-in and walk-in sites are both available here and you are camping right next to the water and right next to one of the most popular surf breaks on Vancouver Island. You’ll definitely need to get here early to secure a spot though.
The campground has public garbage bins, toilets, picnic areas and a drinking water station and the sites all have waterfront views and individual fire rings. The camping fees for the year are listed below and it is cash only:
- Apr 1 – Oct 31 $15/night. Additional vehicle $5/night.
- Nov 1 – Mar 31 $10/night. Additional vehicle $5/night.
For more information on the Jordan River Regional Park campground click here.
Sandcut Beach is one of the more underrated beaches on Vancouver Island and the lack of people and cool waterfalls that fall right onto the beach make this one of the must-visit beaches on the Island. We are huge fans of this part of the world and when you visit we are sure you will be too.
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