Table of Contents
This Trail (or see the Wikipedia page) is named for a historical rail line from Victoria to Sooke. There are no tracks; the railway was decommissioned (the date is not mentioned in the CRD resources. The trail is on the track bed with a few adjustments. The right of way is held by the Canadian National Railway, which has granted the Capital Regional District (“CRD”) the right to use the land as a trail. The CRD maintains the trail.
The trail has posts with blue metal signs with a Galloping Goose logo (a stylized rail car) at 1 Km. intervals. There is CRD web page and trail brochure. The brochure has maps showing the location of the distance signs or posts.
There are water stations along the Galloping Goose:
- at the Switch Bridge near the post marked 4 Km;
- at the Atkins Rest stop near the BC Transit Park and Ride Lot along the Island Highway between the posts marked 10 and 11 Km. (i.e. east of Six Mile Road in the combined Goose E&N section. There is a concrete brick municipal pit privy here;
- at Royal Roads University where the trail crosses the Island Highway, west of the post marked 14 Km.;
- where the trail crosses Marwood at the Luxton Fairground, east of the post marked 19 Km.
This trail starts at the east (Victoria City) side of the Bridge, follows Harbour Road on the west shore of the middle harbour and becomes a paved trail at the west end of Harbour Road, where Harbour intersects with Tyee, at the Regional District bike barometer counter. (at the 1 Km. sign). There are interruptions in the first 10 km of the trail, but riders have the right of way at level crossings or bridges across road.
It runs on the west (Vic West) shore of the Harbour to the Selkirk Trestle, and crosses the Trestle 1The 2 Km. sign is on the Trestle near the north end and runs northward west of Douglas Street, The trail passes under Gorge Road and Burnside Road East in underpasses. It passes behind the commercial properties along the west side of Douglas as as far north as Mayfair. There are some road crossings. Cyclist have caution signs. Vehicles crossing the trail have stop signs. It crosses over Douglas Street to the east side of Douglas on the Switch Bridge (the 4 Km. post is at the north end of the Switch Bridge). At the north end of the Switch Bridge, it forks into the Lochside and Galloping Goose trails.
The Galloping Goose follows Douglas Street, on the east side, northward to the Island Highway, with few interruptions. The road crossing at Tillicum Road requires a stop for a level crossing with traffic signals. The trail crosses over Interurban Road/Burnside Road W. on a wooden bridge. There is a concrete bridge for cyclists and pedestrians over McKenzie (as of April 2018). The trail crosses under Helmcken Avenue, near the Victoria General Hospital in two culvert tunnels west of the post marked 8 Km. Near the 10 Km. post, the trail runs along the long exit ramp from Highway 1 to the Island Highway for a few hundred meters. The trail, like the Island Highway exit ramp, passes under Highway 1 in an interchange structure. The trail follows the Island Highway south and west. The E&N Trail crosses Highway 1 and the Island Highway in the interchange. This takes the trail across the NW corner of View Royal.
The trails become a common or shared trail for the next 3 Km. (i.e. almost to Wale Road, near the 13 Km. Galloping Goose post). The trail in this area is signed as part of both trail systems. The common section may show on maps as the Galloping Goose, the Trans-Canada trail or part of the E&N trail. The common trail goes as far south as a short trail forking away from the Goose just east of Millstream Creek. The short trail connects to the E&N Trail, along the tracks along Atkins Road in Langford, within 200 m. north of the 13 Km. Galloping Goose post at the intersection of Wilfert and Wale Road in Colwood.
View Royal, Colwood, Langford
The Galloping Goose trail follows the Island Highway west. The trail, after crossing a corner of View Royal and a corner of Langford, and enters Colwood where the trail crosses Millsteam Creek. The trail crosses Atkins Road (and Chilco) in View Royal just west of the wooden bridge over Six Mile Road and the post marked 11 Km. The trail crosses Atkins Road again, just west of the post marked 12 Km, and the Langford/View Royal boundary. TThe trail Millsteam the creek a few hundred meters north of Wale Road. The trail is paved as far west and south as the 13 KM. post on the north side of Wale Road. The trail become tangled in Colwood and Langford.
A rider has to cross Wilfert and Wale Road in Colwood to stay on the trail. There are crosswalks to stop traffic. A rider should expect to stop and activate the crossing lights to cross Wale Road. The trail physically continues on the south side of Wale Road, and goes directly to Island Highway/Sooke Road in Colwood. But there is no crossing of the Island Highway there!
Since 2012 (actually ever since Wale Road was paved from Goldstream through to the Island Highway/Sooke Road), it has been necessary to cross Wale Road, and use the bike lane on the south side of Wale Road, and cross the Island Highway/Sooke Road at the intersection of Wale Road, the Island Highway and Ocean Boulevard when the traffic lights change. The Galloping Goose trail picks up on the east side of the Island Highway, goes uphill, first south, then swings west, past the 14 Km post, and crosses the Island Highway/Sooke Road again at Royal Roads University. The trail proceeds west through Colwood as a gravel trail.
The trail crosses the boundary into Langford near the16 Km. post, near the intersection of the trail with Kelly Road and Veterans Memorial. The trail across Langford is more risky and less convenient. Langford planners and politicians have built roads and infrastructure across the trail. There are three main challenges for cyclists:
- Crossing Veterans Memorial and Kelly at the SW corner of the Westshore Town Centre mall in Langford is an event. It can require waiting out traffic lights and crossing each road the separately, or riding on the roads in the bike lanes and navigating onto a side street that crosses the trail.
- Crossing Jacklin Road, which runs north and south on the west side of the Westshore Town Centre mall, requires a dismount, a crossing signal, and some manouering. The crossing is not aligned to the trail.
- The gravel trail goes west past the south end Glen Lake, and effectively ends at Sooke Road near the 18 Km. post, requiring a rider to cross Glen Lake Road and Sooke Road and find the trail south and west.
I have avoided the gravel trail in Colwood by staying on Aldeane after crossing the Island Highway at Royal Roads, and riding through a residential area in Colwood. Aldeanes end at Hagel. A rider can go south on Hagel about 200 metres and rejoin the trail, but will encounter the Langford obstacles. A rider can go north on Hagel and reach Veterans Memorial. There is a traffic light controlling traffic on Veterans Memorial and a street on the opposite side, Meaford. This intersectioon is. north of the Westshore Town Centre mall. I have crossed Veterans Memorial, and followed Meaford, Station Avenue and Dunford in an industrial area in Langford to the Westhills Arena and Starlight Stadium near Langford Lake, and then gone up Glen Lake Road.
It also makes sense to take Aldeane ride Veterans Memorial south from the traffic, in the bike lane to the Westshore Town Centre mall and find a way to the place where Glen Lake Road crosses Sooke Road.
There is a fairly simple route from Starlight/Westhills past the Westshore Town Centre mall going east. From the playground beside the stadium on Glen Lake Road, East on Glen Lake to Jenkins, east on Jenkins, cross Jacklin, proceed on Kelly in the bike lanes to Veterans Memorial. It requires riding in the bike lanes in traffic.
The trail crosses the Glen Lake Road (reconfigured and rebuilt 2020-2022) and Sooke Road (again). At this point the Sooke Road is provincial highway 14, a rural highway passing out of the suburbs of Langford, a route to Sooke, the Sooke basin and the Pacific Coast. The only safe place along the Galloping Goose trail to cross Sooke Road is near the firehall at the south (Sooke Road) end of Happy Valley Road. Riders can take the bike lane along the west/south end of the Glen Lake Road to reach the controlled (traffic lights) intersection where Glen Lake Road intersects the Sooke Road, and the Happy Valley Road starts.
Langford, Metchosin, Sooke
The trail goes south, parallel to Happy Valley Road for a few Km. The first Km. of gravel trail runs parallel to Happy Valley Road west of Happy Valley Road along the East edge of the Luxton fairground. It is simpler to cross Sooke Road and go south on Happy Valley Road in the bike lane to Marwood, turn east,and get onto the trail at the fairground. Another option is to proceed on Marwood to Luxton. Luxton has been repaved (as of 2021-22), providing a rare stretch of good, smooth asphalt. Luxton runs south for about 1 Km. and then turns west, crossing the trail at South Vancouver Island Rangers land, at the 20 Km. post.
This section of the trail is gravel. It crosses several roads in the West Shore communities, requiring slowing down or stopping and crossing with traffic signals. The traffic on the trail faces stop signs. Some crossings have intermittent heavy traffic. Some have crossing signs activated by switches.
After crossings of Happy Valley Road (Langford, near the 21 Km. post, and Metchosin south of the 22 Km. post) and Rocky Point Road (near the 25 Km. post) it has long stretches without road crossings. It is good gravel. The trail is reasonably shaded and sheltered from wind.
For rides to more distant locations (e.g. out to Matheson Lake or the Sooke Basin or beyond) parking at the Juan de Fuca Recreation Center, or in a lot in Colwood opposite Royal Roads on the Island Highway are options.