While the rugged coastline and long sandy beaches of Pacific Rim National Park are unmatched on Vancouver Island’s west coast, Mystic Beach is a gem among its neighboring south island beaches. A beautiful 2-kilometer forested trail leads to a half-kilometer stretch of mostly sandy beach that features amazing sunsets views, tide pools, a plethora of wildlife viewing opportunities, a backcountry campsite, and the signature sandstone cliffs that distinguish this beach from its neighbors. Here visitors can enjoy a waterfall pouring onto the beach, a walk-through rock archway at low tide, and a fun rope-swing over the breaking waves. The trail to the beach begins from the upper parking lot at China Beach, and it is actually the southern end of the 47-kilometer Juan de Fuca Trail that follows the coastline from here to Port Renfrew to the northwest. Mystic Beach provides an opportunity to experience a small sample of the Juan de Fuca or West Coast Trail experience without the requisite planning, time investment, and higher cost.
The beach is a fantastic spot for a day trip or a one-nighter, and with the campsite being just 2-kilometers from the parking lot, it’s a perfect place for an introduction to overnight backpacking trips for those who are not accustomed to long treks. Additionally, it allows for Juan de Fuca hikers to set off relatively late in the evening, reach the first night’s destination quickly, and set off early in the morning rather than having to drive from the city first thing in the morning before embarking on a long day of hiking.
As mentioned, there are plenty of wildlife viewing opportunities here including seals, sea lions, migrating humpback and gray whales during spring and fall, and resident or transient orcas. Also, keep in mind that black bears and cougars are in the area, so be sure to take precautions, particularly if you will be staying overnight. Sunset at Mystic beach is undoubtedly spectacular, but if you don’t plan on camping, make sure to bring a light or leave in time to make it back to the parking lot before dark. The trail should take around 45 minutes at an average pace.