NTS Map:92B12, NTS Map:92B11, NTS Map:92B6, NTS Map:92B5. The Galloping Goose Regional Trail is named after Car #15813, a noisy, gas-powered passenger car that carried passengers and mail from Victoria to Leechtown. During its gold rush days, Leechtown had a population larger than that of Victoria, but the population declined rapidly when the gold rush ended. Starting in 1922, The Canadian National Railway serviced Leechtown, but the service was dropped in 1931, as there was no profit in running a train to a ghost town. From 1931 to 1971, the line was used by freight trains carrying logs and supplies.
In 1987, as part of the Rails To Trails program, the rails and ties were removed from the line and the rail bed was cleaned up to become suitable for use as a recreational corridor. As it follows the former railway right-of-way, the Galloping Goose runs from downtown Victoria to Sooke, passing through urban, rural, and wilderness areas and ends at the remains of Leechtown. The Galloping Goose is included in the Cowichan portion of the BC Trans Canada Trail System.
The trail has many access points at road crossings, however, there are only six points where parking is authorized, plentiful, and free: at km 10, Atkins Road just south of the Trans-Canada highway underpass (washrooms). This parking lot is accessed by turning off Sooke Road onto Six Mile Road, and then turning right at the Galloping Goose overpass. At km 14, Aldeane Avenue, off Sooke Road (across from the entrance to Royal Roads). At km 17.5, Glen Lake Road, off Sooke Road. At km 30, the parking lot for Matheson Lake, south of Malloch Road on Rocky Point Road. At km 35, the parking lot for Roche Cove Regional Park (washrooms). At km 44, a small parking lot off Sooke River Road, just before Sooke Potholes Provincial Park.
BC Transit operates buses equipped with bike racks on many routes, including routes to View Royal, Colwood, Langford, Metchosin, Sooke, and Swartz Bay. The bus service provides a low-cost, convenient alternative to cycling or hiking back to your starting destination after a long trip on the trail.
The trail can be divided roughly into three main sections, each with its own trail characteristics and level of traffic: The first section, running from the center of downtown Victoria to the junction of Highways 1 and 1A near Thetis Lake, is a paved section used by cyclists, pedestrians, and rollerbladers. Although this is the busiest of the three sections, most trail users are considerate and stay to the right hand side of the trail. The 1:20 000 aerial photograph of downtown Victoria has the first 19 trail waypoints superimposed on it, and corresponds to the UTM grid map. Starting from Johnston Street Bridge, the trail follows the Selkirk Waterway to the Selkirk Trestle, follows the abandoned train right-of-way cut underneath Gorge and Burnside Roads, and then opens into a light industrial area. Passing over the Trans-Canada Highway on the Switch Bridge, the trail becomes a paved corridor set back from and parallel to the Trans-Canada highway. At the Helmcken underpass tunnel, the trail starts to veer away from the highway, and becomes mostly hard packed dirt with some paved sections. Side trips include Cuthbert Holmes park and the Colquitz Linear Trail System, the Lochside Cycling trail, and Thetis Lake Regional Park.
The second section takes you through View Royal, Colwood, Langford, and Metchosin, and ends at Roche Cove in East Sooke. This section of the trail is packed dirt/gravel, and is used by cyclists, pedestrians, and equestrians. The amount of traffic on the trail is quite low in this section, the users being predominantly mountain bike riders. Passing through the communities of View Royal, Colwood, and Langford, the trail starts to take on much more of a rural look, although it has many road crossings, including major intersections on Sooke, Kelly, and Jacklin Roads. Although the trail remains mostly flat, it does climb and fall gently in some areas. Crossing Sooke Road at the intersection of Glen Lake, the trail rapidly becomes increasingly wooded, quieter, and more characteristic of an old rail line. Heading through Metchosin, the trail passes pastures, farms, small creeks, and arbutus-covered hills. Nearing the section around Matheson Lake, the trail narrows and is surrounded by rock and trees, but opens again as you near Roche Cove. Looking above Roche Cove and Matheson Lake in the aerial photograph, the Galloping Goose is shown as a cut line through the trees. Side trips include Mill Hill Regional Park, Esquimalt Lagoon, Fort Rodd and Fisgard Light National Historic Sites, the gardens at Royal Roads University, Albert Head Lagoon Regional Park, Witty's Lagoon Regional Park, Devonian Regional Park, Pedder Bay, East Sooke Park, Matheson Lake Regional Park, and Roche Cove Regional Park.
The third section runs along the Sooke Inlet, turns inland to Sooke Potholes park, and ends at Leechtown, an abandoned mining town. This section of the trail is used by cyclists and equestrians, and is packed gravel/dirt. Past Sooke Potholes, the traffic is very low on the trail and it is advisable to travel with a companion or in a small group. From Roche Cove, the trail passes through the coniferous forests of Sooke as it follows the edge of the Sooke Basin. At km 39, nearing Coopers Cove, the trail crosses Sooke Road and then passes through the Ayum Creek residential area. Intersecting with the Sooke River, the trail becomes an almost steady uphill climb as you head through the Sooke River Valley toward Sooke Potholes Provincial Park. Past the potholes, the Galloping Goose truly looks like a train right-of-way, with sections of train rail and wooden ties seen just off the trail. It is easy to imagine an old train struggling to surmount the seemingly endless uphill grade in this section, and the trail levels only when it crosses the rebuilt trestles that pass high above Charters Creek at km 46 and Todd Creek at km 47. Pushing on towards Leechtown at km 55, you pass numerous swimming holes, abandoned logging equipment, and more scattered remains of the former railway line. Leechtown is outside the boundaries of the trail property, and sits on privately owned land. There is only one way out ? back the way you came, but it's almost all downhill and a breathtaking ride. Waypoint list:
0 E&N Train Station 1 Johnson Street Bridge 2 Harbour Road South 3 Harbour Road north 4 Bay Street Bridge underpass. 5 Selkirk Trestle south approach, Arthur Currie Lane. 6 Selkirk Trestle north approach, Waterfront Crescent 7 Gorge Road East bridge underpass. 8 Burnside Road East bridge underpass 9 Dupplin Road 10 Kelvin Road 11 Ardersier Road 12 Switch Bridge south approach, Cinduthel Road 13 Switch Bridge north approach, Carrey Road 14 Harriet Road, parallel to Trans-Canada Highway 15 Tillicum at Trans-Canada Highway 16 Burnside Road West overpass 17 McKenzie Avenue at Trans-Canada Highway 18 Admirals Road. 19 Grange Avenue 20 Belgrave Avenue 21 Wilkinson Road overpass 22 Eaton Avenue 23 Camden Avenue 24 Quincy Street 25 Helmcken underpass 26 Erskine Lane 27 Talcott Road 28 Burnside Road West 29 TCH underpass at Burnside Road West 30 Sooke Road, parking lot 31 Six Mile Road overpass 32 Atkins Road 33 Atkins Road 34 Atkins Road 35 Nobhill Road 36 Nobhill Road at Sooke Road 37 Belmont Road underpass 38 Aldeane Avenue at Sooke Road 39 Hagel Road 40 Pickford Road 41 Kelly Road 42 Brittany Drive, bad intersection 43 Jacklin Road 44 Glen Lake Road at Sooke Road 45 Luxton Hall at Marwood 46 Englewood Road 47 Luxton Road at Van Island Rangers 48 Happy Valley at Loma Linda Drive 49 Winter Road 50 Happy Valley Road at Glen Forest Road 51 Lindholm Road 52 Bennett Road 53 Kangaroo Road at Rocky Point Road 54 Taylor Road 55 Lombard Drive 57 Rocky Point Road 58 Gillespie Road nn Sooke Road near Coopers Cove nn Ludlow Road nn Harbourview Road nn Woodlands Road 40.6 km nn Meota Drive nn Sooke River Road nn Sooke River Road 44 km nn Charters Trestle 44.8 km nn Todd Creek Trestle 46 km nn Leechtown 55 km
Further information:The Victoria Cycling Federation has produced an excellent map showing the Galloping Goose and Lochside trails, along with parks and cycling routes. The map covers the area from Swartz Bay to Port Renfrew, and is available at most cycle shops in Greater Victoria.
The Victoria Capitol Regional District website has a downloadable map and description of the Galloping Goose, and information, maps, and directions to many of the parks near the trail route.
There is GPS data attached to this trail (see "download GPS"), which if loaded into your GPS can help you find route points.
(a) Click Wiki Edit This Page to get placed in edit mode
(b) When finished, your update is available to view as draft (click wiki update pending in trail to see draft)
* note: editors are notified and must approve the change
Posted By: ChrisMarry
- Sat May 23 19:38:45 UTC 2015
UpsideThis is an incredibly beautiful trail, easy and flat most of the time. It's long day for over 110 km, but it's worth it! DownsideNone
Posted By: willthisonework
- Mon Jan 06 20:50:56 UTC 2014
I'm planning a 35 km run with a small group. We would like to run on the galloping goose trail starting at the Sooke Potholes and running towards Victoria. I just had a few questions about the Sooke section of the trail as I've never run out that far.
1. Can you access the trail from the Sooke Potholes parking lot north of the Todd Creek Trestle or can you only access it from the km 44 Galloping Goose parking lot?
2. In the description listed on this site it says that portion of the trail is used mainly by Bikers and Equestrians. Will it be suitable for runners as well?
3. If we are heading from Sooke to Victoria is that Sooke section really hilly or quite flat? In the description it said almost all up hill (in that section) from Victoria to Sooke so I'm hoping the reverse works in our favour;)
Thanks!ANSWERS are in this forum: Sooke Potholes Run
Posted By: Park2
- Sun Sep 11 05:04:27 UTC 2011
UpsideIt's a rail trail, pretty flat. Nice countryside, only a couple ocean views. But a great way to see the area. DownsideIt's a rail trail, pretty flat. CommentGalloping Goose to the Airport/Schwartz is called Lochside - search trailpeak for that name.
Posted By: sdecarie
- Mon May 31 04:23:35 UTC 2010
UpsideIt's long relatively easy trail DownsideThe weather, the west portion of the trail (Sooke region) is in the rain forest, all that greenery doesn't come without being well watered. CommentThis time I started at about Km 27 and rode all the way to Leechtown. It's a very different ride from the first 27 km in that it's mostly through the rain forest with less traffic. You can go about another 2 km past Leechtown to the red gate. The last marker is at KM 56
Posted By: snowydancing
- Sat Jun 13 06:00:06 UTC 2009
I am interested in biking this trail from Schwartz Bay Ferry Terminal to Downtown Victoria.
Can this be done...is it easy to access from the ferry terminal and approx how long would it take ( at a moderate rate of speed)
ThanksANSWERS are in this forum: galloping goose
Posted By: sdecarie
- Mon May 19 21:35:52 UTC 2008
UpsideIt's great way to see Victoria from something other than streets and roads. We were visiting Victoria, rented a couple of bikes from Selkirk cycle which is very near the start of the trail. We spent an enjoyable day riding as far as km 28. The above description is excellent. There is also a portion of the trail that goes from the BC Ferries terminal in Sydney to downtown. There is no need for the GPS to follow this trail.
There is a Tim Hortons around the Nobhill crossing. It's the only really accessible area where we found a place for a lunch break DownsideIt does cross roads a number of times. Much of the trail is not actually paved. CommentGreat way to spend a day in Victoria and get some quality exercise.