The hidden waterfall on Sombrio Beach is such an unexpected and beautiful waterfall that you must see. Sombrio Beach is an incredible beach itself, but made even better with the hidden waterfall that you can find just steps away from the beach in its own mossy canyon.
While many people see this waterfall while hiking the Juan De Fuca Trail, you don’t have to be hiking the full Juan De Fuca Trail to see this hidden waterfall. By walking from Sombrio Beach, you can see the waterfall. However, it is easy to miss if you aren’t looking for it.
The waterfall at Sombrio Beach reminded me of incredible Iceland waterfalls. This guide includes all that you need to know to visit the hidden waterfall at Sombrio Beach.
****Note: This post may include affiliate links to products I recommend. I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you) from purchases from these links. But no worries, I only include links to products that we have tried or truly recommend!
*****Everything in this article is my personal opinion and experiences. Check your own resources and choose to do anything I discuss at your own risk. Some of the things in this post may be dangerous and not recommended for every body.
About Sombrio Beach and the Juan De Fuca trail
The Juan De Fuca Trail is a 47-kilometer hiking trail that covers the southwest end of Vancouver Island. It goes through beautiful coastal forest and along the rocky coasts of the beaches along the Juan de Fuca Strait. It is an incredible beautiful and wild area.
Even if you don’t plan on walking the full 47 kilometer trail, there are several access points to the beach along the way. One of these access points is Sombrio Beach, which is also the closest access point to the hidden waterfall.
How to Get to the Hidden Waterfall at Sombrio Beach
Parking and the Trailhead
Start by parking at the Sombrio Beach Trailhead. There is a large gravel parking lot here. To get to the parking area, it is a several kilometer gravel road that is reportedly sometimes pretty rutted-out. When we visited the road was fine and we didn’t have any issues. We saw all different vehicles at the parking area. If concerned, check the latest reviews on Google or AllTrails for possible mention of the road condition.
Start hiking down the hill to Sombrio beach. The forest is beautiful and mossy. When you come to the fork in the trail, take a left (south) and head down to the East Side of Sombrio Beach.
Once you arrive on the beach, take a left and head east down the beach. Depending on the tide level, you may have to climb over logs and large rocks at times. We incidentally visited at a higher tide on a stormy day, so we had to climb over a lot of logs to avoid the waves.
Continue along the beach for a while. At a certain point, there is a part of a rocky cliff that juts out that you will have to go around. When the tide is high, it can to dangerous to cross this area. If this is the case, you must wait until the tide subsides to cross this area. Right after the point, there is a small area where there is a tiny sea cave.
Walk along the beach until you see a small stream coming from the forest on the left. It is really easy to miss you if you aren’t looking for it. It is not far after the small sea cave.
Once you reach the small stream, follow the stream up into the forest. This is the point that your feet will get very wet. I recommend wearing rubber boots or very waterproof boots if not wanting to have soaked feet. Follow the stream until you enter a mossy canyon. At this point, you will hear the waterfall. Follow the canyon until you reach the waterfall at the end of the canyon.
The waterfall is very easy to find, the most difficulty part is finding the stream (and not missing it).
This is a very easy hike and family friendly. There was a family with small children that was there around the same time us and had no issues with the hike.
Tips for Visiting the Hidden Waterfall at Sombrio Beach
Don’t try to visit at high tide
At the highest tides, it can be difficult to follow the trail at certain points. We were at the beach at high tide and had to wait for the tide to go down to pass around some rocks to proceed further. The waves were reaching pretty high onto the beach so we also had to climb over logs and around some trees to continue on, but at lower tide you would be able to just walk on the beach. At the highest tides, you may have to wait a while to pass through the narrower areas of the beach. Visiting at lower tide would eliminate this problem.
If visiting in summer season, visit earlier in the morning
The hidden waterfall at Sombrio beach is not a secret and is quite popular with people visiting the area. If you are wanting the best experience, I recommend visiting earlier in the morning. Mid-day and early afternoon is likely the busiest time of day here. We visited in the morning in the off-season and enjoyed the waterfall by ourselves for around 10 minutes before other people arrived. It was magical having the large mossy waterfall canyon to ourselves for a few moments.
If visiting in a colder season and not wanting cold wet feet, wear waterproof boots
I imagine in the warmer months people probably go barefoot up the stream and into the waterfall canyon, but since we were visiting in the colder months, we didn’t want to become colder with getting our feet wet. We wore waterproof boots (like rubber gum boots) and had dry feet walking straight up the creek to the waterfall. Some other people we encountered were trying to jump from rock-to-rock and still ended up with cold wet feet. So if you want dry warm feet, I recommend wearing something waterproof (or bringing a spare pair of socks!)
You may also be interested in:
Please let me know if you have any questions or comments! Thanks for reading!