Endurance Ridge (Babbington Hill) to Cabin Point
East Sook Regional Park, British Columbia, Canada
Time: 3 hours
Distance: 8.4 km (return)
Elevation Gain: 391 m
How To Get There: From Sooke, go east and follow East Sooke Rd, for about 15 km or so. Once you pass Gillepsie Road, keep your eye out for a curve in the road. There will be a blue sign on a post on the side of the road, indicating the start of the trail.
One thing that impresses me the most about Vancouver Island and it’s trail system is how well marked everything is. The trailhead for Endurance Ridge was on a random curve in the road with very little parking space but was still made obvious because of the easily recognizable blue hiking post.
The trail sets off straight into a deep, jungle-like forest where tall Hemlock Firs and dark green ferns were on full display. The trail shoots up a gnarly rise immediately, leaving little time for the legs to warm up.
It was evident that we weren’t in the drier Rocky Mountain region as there was damp moss growing on just about everything.
The trail is not for the clumsy as we navigated our way over rock crops and large tree roots on a regular basis. The path was slick in some areas as the rainforests constant moisture made for a damp environment.
I think the hardest part about this trail was the fact that there are so many roots to step over and maneuver around.
The environment was very “wild jungle” though there was the rare moment where enough elevation was gained and the trees pulled back that we were able to get a bit of sun.
The trail dipped down and up, down and up, over and over again. When we went down a hill, we had to do so carefully as the ground was loose and the roots threatened to sprain an ankle. When we were climbing back up the other side, we often had to do so with all fours, grabbing onto whatever we could to propel ourselves forward. There was so much green along the way that it was an absolute treat for the eyes.
As is the way with damp forests, there was plenty opportunity to see various fungi growing along the pathway and on the trees.
A few kms in, we reached a crossroads. Continuing straight would take us on Parkheights Trail and turning left continued along Endurance Ridge Trail.
We turned left where we were almost immediately faced with another hill to climb. A happy (or at least I assume it was happy) banana slug greeted us as we moved. There were quite a few of them along the trail.
A slight reprieve for our knees showed itself as we reached an easy section of flatness and nary a root. Beautiful pink, yellow and purple flowers began showing themselves.
Then, as if to remind us that the trail was not rated as easy, we reached another impasse. This time, we had the opportunity to stay straight on Endurance Ridge Trail or to take a detour to Babbington Hill Lookout. Never wanting to lose an opportunity for great views, we opted to take the detour.
We picked our way through more roots, elevation change, fallen logs and moss riddled rocks before coming to a third intersection. We veered left yet again to head to the summit where there is a bit of an uphill climb on a (compared to previous) smoother path to gain the last of the 228 m gain.
The detour is absolutely worth the extra elevation as there are phenomenal views of the ocean once you reach the top. We took a couple of pictures, had a quick snack and then began making our way down the other side of the hill.
The descent, much like the ascent on Babbington, is severe but short.
Before we knew it, we had rejoined with Interior Trail, which, if you take a right, then joins back up with Endurance Ridge Trail. We took a left at another intersection shortly after.
The trail begins a gentle slope downwards and then quickly drops.
The trail grows soggy and acts as a water run off for rainier days. Tread carefully here as the rocks and roots are slippery and the ground is loose.
One last intersection greets you where we turned left towards Cabin Point.
We continued making our way downwards, the sound of ocean waves suddenly getting closer.
We crossed a small creek via bridge and then curved our way around to our second sighting of the big blue before us.
The trail gets significantly tamer at this point as it makes it begins travelling along a small cove.
Stunning white wildflowers began to pop up everywhere, creating a wonderful contrast to the blue and green that surrounded it.
The “Trap Shack” sits near the coastal edge. This shack in particular isn’t the original but a replica of what the shacks often looked like back in the day. The last of the operating trap shacks went the way of the dinosaurs in the 1930s.
Inside, hikers have made sure to leave their mark, some being more creative than others.
We set ourselves up with a view of the coast and finished the rest of our lunch, enjoying the serenade of waves against rocks.
Cabin Point is a fantastic area to explore. We roamed around for quite a bit, taking in the views and enjoying the abundance of wildflowers. We even had the pleasure of being in the company of two bald eagles.
A person can spend hours exploring this world. It was actually difficult to leave. But we finally conceded to the chains of time and began making our way back the way we had come. This time we skipped the detour of Babbington Hills, linking immediately with Endurance Ridge Trail all the way back to the highway.
It was a wonderful hike and a great destination to explore. While the up and down of the trail can get a bit exhausting considering the length of trail, it’s well worth the effort both climbing up Babbington Hill and getting to Cabin Point. Plus, it was a great introduction to coastal hiking!