One of Vancouver Island’s best hiking and biking trails is in the Greater Victoria Region. The Galloping Goose Trail winds through Southern Vancouver Island on what was once a railway track. The creaky railway car that carried passengers in the 1920s between Sooke and Victoria is the inspiration behind its unique name.
This historic trail offers plenty of natural beauty. Forests, lakes, rivers, and wildlife can be found along the trail. Watch eagles soar above your head, deer rest in the shade of the meadow, or stop and close your eyes and listen to the birds singing away. Points here and there travel through urban areas, allowing you to get back to civilization to recharge on a pitstop. The combination of urban and rural scenery is one of this trail’s best features, so definitely check it out if you can.
Residents and tourists alike flock to the Goose because it is beautiful, easily accessible, and has several access points along its long path. It has been around for over a hundred years and keeps increasing in popularity as time goes on. Whether you are visiting Victoria or looking for a new home, the Galloping Goose Trail is one of the area’s most loved historic attractions.
Where does the Galloping Goose Trail Start?
There are many access points to the Galloping Goose Trail, so deciding where to start depends on personal preference.
However, one of the most popular starting points is in Downtown Victoria. Cross the Johnson Bridge (heading West) and there will be a paved path on your right-hand side that connects to Harbour Road and the trail. This is one of the best spots to start as a pedestrian, but if you have a car you will need an access point that has parking spaces available. For that, a parking lot at Atkins Road in View Royal is popular, but there are several lots to choose from.
On the other side in Sooke? Leechtown marks the trail’s end, but access isn’t always available. An alternative is nearby and arguably it’s better. There is a parking lot just past the Sooke Potholes Provincial Park, a beautiful place to start or end your journey.
The Lochside Trail connects to the Galloping Goose, so another fantastic starting point is in the Saanich Peninsula. Near Swartz Bay in Sidney, the start of the Lochside Trail extends southwards where it eventually connects with the Galloping Goose Trail. If you want the full experience, combine both the Lochside Trail and the Galloping Goose Trail into one trip.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO DO THE GALLOPING GOOSE TRAIL?
How long it takes to complete the Galloping Goose Trail depends on how fast you are going. For moderate bikers, it can take between 8 to 12 hours to complete. Generally, this trail is split up into sessions with riders that usually make stops along the way to take in the amazing scenery and attractions. Most people prefer to make a mini vacation out of the trail and spread it out over a few days. There are fabulous restaurants, bed and breakfasts, and shops to explore just off the Goose, making it very accessible for a multi-day trip. Sooke Potholes Provincial Park also has a campground, perfect for unwinding after all that cycling!
Cycling is a preferred method for traversing the Goose, but hiking and horseback riding are also common choices. The multiple access points make it convenient to hop on and hop off when desired.
HOW LONG IS THE GALLOPING GOOSE TRAIL FROM VICTORIA TO SOOKE?
The Galloping Goose trail is approximately 55-60km long. The Goose extends through Metchosin, Langford, Colwood, and Sooke. It connects within Victoria to the Lochside Trail at Switch Bridge, which extends northwards into Sidney.
IS THE GALLOPING GOOSE TRAIL FLAT AND PAVED?
The trail is moderately flat and mostly unpaved. It is generally between two and four meters wide, but that varies depending on what part of the trail you are in. Urban parts of the trail are usually paved, but in general, expect a bit of a bumpy ride.
If you are unsure if this trail is for you or not, All Trails has several reviews from people that have attempted the journey. Some reviews also mention bonus amenities along the trail (such as washrooms), so this is a great resource to check out.
MAP OF GALLOPING GOOSE TRAIL
A full map with directions and a handy brochure is available on the Galloping Goose Trail website.
OTHER TOP VICTORIA HIKING TRAILS TO TRY
This short hike leads you to panoramic views of Saanich. The trail at Mount Douglas is about 4km long and great for beginners.
Near the University of Victoria, the trail at Mount Tolmie offers 360-degree views of Victoria and is just over 1km long. This is a quick and easy hike, perfect for lunch break power walks. Public transit has several stops nearby, too.
The beautiful trail at Mystic Beach covers about 4km and is one of the top scenic trails in the region. This path runs along the Strait of Juan de Fuca and contains a nearby campground, perfect for outdoor enthusiasts!
EASY SCENIC WALKS (NO HIKING HERE)
If hiking isn’t for you but you still like to get out and enjoy the sunshine, this list of easy, scenic walks around Victoria is perfect for you. Some are dog-friendly, too!