See the CRD web page for this trail to view, download etc. a map; there is no brochure. This trail does not have posts marking distances. This Trail follows the line of the Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway on the Esquimalt Peninsula. Like the main roads on the Peninsula, the actual geographical orientation follows the coast line of the Strait and the Gorge – from SE to NW. The tracks, which have not been used for a couple of decades, are still in place.
Until about 2015, the tracks crossed Victoria Harbour at the Johnson Street Bridge on a spur attached to the old Blue bridge. The old bridge was demolished. The tracks now end in Victoria West, on the Esquimalt peninsula. The trail crosses the tracks several times. The trail can be considered to have an northern section in Victoria West and Esquimalt, a sections in Langford, and plans.
The current map on the web (May 2023, the last time I checked) shows the location of the next planned upgrade.
The eastern section is in Victoria, Victoria West (of the Harbour) and Esquimalt. It starts, depending on perspective:
- at the east end of the Bridge at mile zero on the Galloping Goose (The Galloping Goose runs in a bike lane along Harbour Road and a paved trail along the south-western shore of the middle harbour); or
- at the west end of the Bridge, on the Esquimalt side.
The eastern section in Victoria West and Esquimalt, as of summer 2023:
- On west side of the Bridge, (the Esquimalt Peninsula end) a paved trail along the south side of the tracks, north of the Delta Hotel and other private parcels east of Esquimalt Road as far west as Tyee/Songhees Road. This trail was rough due to tree roots heaving the asphalt, but passable. It was repaved in 2023. The paved trail continues, as of 2023, west from Tyee/Songhees Road as a separated bike lane along Kimta, and paved trail S of Esquimalt Rd. A rider can follow Kimta and the paved trail to Springfield Street, where the tracks cross Esquimalt Road.
- The CRD and the City laid out the bike lanes along Esquimalt Road in an S curve to cross the tracks at right angles before turning into the trail. The first bit of trail north of Esquimalt Road is squeezed between a business property and the track. This can be avoided by turning down William or Springfield and taking Wilson and getting on the trail where the trail crosses Wilson.
- The trail continues along the rail line to the point where the tracks cross Esquimalt Road at the Graving Dock entrance of CFB Nadon at the intersection of Admirals Road and Colville. Cyclist cross the tracks twice – on Admirals Road, and again as the trail follows the tracks away from Admirals Road.
- It resumes on the west side of Admirals Road following the tracks into the Songhees First Nation land at Maplebank Road. The trail goes north, little west of Admirals Road, between Esquimalt Harbour and the west end of the Gorge. At Maplebank, the trail separates from the tracks, and runs beside Admirals Road from near Thomas Road to Hallowell (the Admirals Walk mall).
- It continues westward to the east end of the Island Highway in View Royal and Colwood, at the junction of the Island Highway and Highway One.
The E&N merges with the Galloping Goose trail on the north side of Island Highway. The next several Km. of the Galloping Goose westward are a common trail. Another section of the E&N forks off the Goose a few hundred Km east of Wale Road, and follows the tracks into Langford.
This section of the E&N trail is a better option for cyclists travelling north and west than Admirals Road, although Admirals Road was improved in 2018. Admirals Road is wide from the military base to the Songhees land. There is a bike lane on the climb to the edge of Esquimault at Caroline Street, close to the ege of the Songhees land. Since summer 2019, the bike lanes are continuous to/from the intersection of Hallowell – with a traffic light – and a left turn at Hallowell (Admirals Walk mall – the Thrifty’s store) to get back to the trail, or ride along the shoulder approaching Craigflower and the bridge over the end of the Gorge.
There are road crossings parallel to level rail crossings. The traffic on some of them may be light but Lampson is heavily travelled. Counterweights or the control boxes for the crossing arms jut out into the trail at most crossing. The crossing of Admirals Road/Colville and the Graving Dock entrance of the naval base involve two roads, tracks and the base. The traffic pattern is unique; roads intersect at angles; the tracks are at different angles and cyclists have to cross pedestrian sidewalks and make a few tight turns.
The E&N trail continues west from Admirals Road across Craigflower (which has become the “Island Highway” south of Admirals Road):
- The trail follows the rail line from Hallowell to the so-called (“Old”) Island Highway and Douglas Street, which has become Highway One (the real Island Highway). It is elevated over the east end of the Island Highway and Helmcken Road.
- The trail along the tracks is paved as far west as the Island Highway, where the Island Highway intersects with Highway One. It crosses the Island Highway again where the Island Highway crosses under Highway One.
It joins the Galloping Goose Trail north of Highway One and the Island Highway A rider can cross Highway One and the exit ramp from Highway One 1 to the Island Highway at a controlled level crossing, and enter the Galloping Goose.
The paved cycling trail for the next few Km. west can be called the Galloping Goose, or the E&N, or a common trail. It may be identified on a map as Goose or E&N,
The E&N trail becomes a separate trail again as new paved trail from the Goose, beside Atkins Avenue for a few hundred meters to where the tracks cross Atkins; and as of 2021, a paved trail along the south side of the tracks from Savory School (on Atkins) to Veterans Memorial.
The tracks and trail are parallel to Atkins in Langford. This part of the trail has road crossings.
On some maps the E&N trail is shown as continuing into Langford, by way of Atkins Road. Atkins is an asphalt road. It has a bit of bike lane in urban Langford but is mainly narrow, without shoulders. It intersects the Goose twice. It climbs into the Highlands. There has been a paved trail parallel to Atkins, since late 2016. It was extended in 2021 to Veterans Memorial in Langford. That connects the Goose, and northern section of the E&N, to Langford, where some sections of paved trail existed along the tracks.
The E&N trail appears, on the CRD map, to extend as a paved trail along the tracks in Langford. The trail in Langford has the advantage of being separated from traffic. The trail is on the south side of the tracks east of Veterans Memorial and on the north side of the tracks along Station Avenue from Veterans Memorial west to Jacklin Street. The crossing of Veterans Memorial Parkway and Peatt Road involve crossing busy roads with traffic signals at level crossings and then getting back on the trail through posts and gates.
It is efficient to stay on the road, cross urban Langford, take Jacklin to Jenkins and get in narrow bike lane and follow Jenkins and Glen Lake to Sooke Road and go onto the Goose or Happy Valley Road.