Table of Contents
- Regional Trails
- Other Trails
- Interurban Route
- Bike Lanes
- Arterial roads and Cross roads
- Long Routes
This page started as an overview of where I have been riding in Victoria, and a list resources.
Victoria is the capital city of the province of British Columbia; the CRD is municipal agency that serves a group of municipal bodies that collectively occupy Greater Victoria at the southern tip of Vancouver Island, and the Saanich Peninsula. It is within a few Km of the Salish Sea or Strait of Juan de Fuca The coast is indented with harbours, bays and lagoons including Victoria Harbour and Esquimalt Harbour. The Gorge is a long tidal feature extending westward of Victoria Harbour.
The City of Victoria, the District of Oak Bay, and the District of Saanich are the organized muncipalities east and north of Victoria Harbour and the Gorge. The Township of Esquimalt and Victoria West (part of the City of Victoria) are on a peninsula west of Victoria Harbour. The Esquimalt area is bounded on the north and east by the Gorge and Victoria Harbour, and the west by Esquimalt Harbour. There are bridges across the Gorge at Tillicum and Admirals Road, permitting an exit to the north east into Saanich.
The Town of View Royal, the City of Langford, the District of Metchosin, and the City of Colwood are south and west of Victoria and Esquimalt. The District of Sooke is further west and south.
The District of Central Saanich, the Town of Sidney and the District of North Saanich are north of the District of Saanich on the Saanich Peninsula.
The Island Highway starts at the west end of Craigflower at Admirals Road, runs generally SE to NW in View Royal and Langford, and then turns and heads SW to Colwood. (Some street signs and maps identify the Island Highway as the Old Island Highway. It is the Island Highway as far south as the intersection of Wale Road, near Royal Roads University in Colwood. That is also the point where the Island Highway becomes Sooke Road.)
The Johnson Street Bridge (the locally iconic Blue Bridge, built 1923, ws at the north end of the Inner Harbour. The new bridge, opened in 2018 (“the Bridge”) is in substantially the same place, at the west ends of Pandora Street and Johnson Street in Victoria. It’s a draw bridge raised for maritime traffic between the Inner Harbour and the Upper Harbour. It crosses the harbour from Victoria in the east to the Esquimalt peninsula. Esquimalt Road on the west side of the harbour runs west from the Bridge. The 2018 bridge has cycling lanes marked outside the vehicle lanes, and a multipurpose span for pedestrians and cyclists north of the vehicular span. The multipurpose span has an overpass at the west (Esquimalt Road) end that crosses over the vehicular lanes connecting the multipurpose span, the Galloping Goose trail and the end of the E&N Regional trail. With the completion of the bridge replacement, it is possible to cross the Bridge several ways and use the trail networks to avoid some traffic-clogged roads.
After crossing the Bridge, cyclists can proceed through Victoria West and Esquimalt. There are two main cycling choices west of the Bridge, involving Regional Trails managed by the Capital Regional District (“CRD”). One involves the Esquimalt part of the E&N trail or other routes through Vic West and Esquimalt to the West Shore area. The other is the Galloping Goose to the Switch Bridge, where a rider can take either the Galloping Goose Regional west Trail or the Lochside Regional Trail north. The Goose goes out to the West Shore area. The Lochside Trail goes, ultimately, to the BC Ferry terminal at Swartz Bay and other places at the north end of the Saanich Peninsula.
Safety & Etiquette
Three CRD Regional Trails are marked routes for cycling, paved in some areas. These CRD Regional Trails – Galloping Goose, Lochside, E&N – have web pages, maps and brochures. The brochures are somewhat outdated. The CRD rearranges its Web services from time to time.
These trails are shared with roller-bladers, skate-boarders, pedestrians, motorized scooters, wheelchairs, mobility aids, horses and dogs. The Lochside trail follows public roads used by motor vehicles for long distances. The trails cross or intersect roads used by motor vehicles. Some crossing are bridges or overpasses. A couple are in tunnels. Some intersections have stop signs for cyclists. A few intersections have stop signs to give cyclists the right of way. Some intersections have 4 way stop signs for all traffic including the cyclists on the trail. Some intersections have buttons to allow cyclists to halt vehicular traffic. A few intersections have sensors detecting bicyles that activate traffic lights. These display a red light to cyclists and a blue signal at head height to signal that the device is active and has detected the waiting cyclists.
Most bridges for cyclist are wooden, and have a washboard feel.
The Regional Trails are wide enough to allow safe single file traffic in each direction. Pedestrians mainly stay on the right. Pedestian often do not travel in single file. Cyclists often ride side by side with the rider on the left straddling the line or even riding in the oncoming lane. The trails are too narrow for pace lines and echelons. But people …
Links – my own Pages and Posts
I lived in James Bay from 2006 to November 2020. I posted on my main routes and habits after I moved. I still follow some of those routes on some rides.
I moved to Victoria West in 2020, on the Esquimalt side of the Gorge, west of urban Victoria. I posted on my main routes as I left at the end of June 2023.
I began many rides by taking either the Goose or the E&N to the point that the Island Highway intersects with Highway One; it was about 9.5 Km along the Goose, and about 8 Km along the E&N.
I moved to NW Esquimalt in late June, 2023. I use many of my routes that use the regional trails, and some routes that I use by choice. I started an endless post noting the waypoints on my regular rides.
I also am writing an endless post about elevations along the major trails.
The Interurban Rail Trail Route is mainly a route along Interurban Road in Saanich and Wallace Drive in Central Saanich. It is identified on signs and some maps – for instance this map on John Luton’s Cycling Vancouver Island site. The BC Electric Railway had an Interurban route from Victoria to Deep Cove 1913-1924. The trail follows parts of the route of the abandoned rail line.
There is access to Interurban Road from the Galloping Goose, just past Tillicum (5 Km out from the Blue Bridge) on a short side trail that allows riders to descend and ride the northbound bike lane of the Interurban Road. It climbs past the Camosun College Interurban Campus to West Saanich Road, but gently.
The parts of this trail:
- a bike lane on the Interurban Road. The bike lane is not wide, and pinches out at a couple of places. It is necessary to turn across Interurban Road just south of the intersection of West Saanich Road;
- a gravel single lane road and trail parallel to West Saanich Road;
- Wallace Drive (aged asphalt), to Brentwood Bay;
- Wallace Drive from Brentwood Bay to Saanichton,
- Wallace Drive to Amity (chipseal)
- Amity to the Pat Bay Highway. The Highway is crossed on an ancient pedestrian overpaass. It is short ride on Amity east of the Highway to Lochside Drive at a point a few Km. north of Mount Newton X-Road.
The gravel portion starts as a gravel road at the intersection of Interurban Road just west of West Saanich Road. It is fairly level, low traffic. In sections the trail a gravel service road for residences west of West Saanich. The gravel portion crosses few roads intersecting the west side of the West Saanich road and some driveway access point onto West Saanich. Some of the road crossed have traffic – the Mount Work turn off, and Prospect Lake Road, and the intersection with Wallace on the Tod Creek flats. It is generally a good option to ride in that area – West Saanich road is paved but has heavy traffic and a steepish bits – e.g. West Saanich Road past the observatory road. It can be done on a road bike – but it can be rough.
Wallace Drive is mainly old pebbled asphalt. The first section from West Saanich Road into Brentwood Bay is narrow, without paved shoulder. The asphalt has been patched, but some of the patches are breaking down. It is a bit wider and has a bike lane most of the way from Brentwood Bay into Saanichton. Wallace runs into Mount Newton X-Road in Saanichton. Then a few hundred meters to East Saanich, in Saanichton is offset. There is a left turn onto East Saanich and right turn off back onto the next section of Wallace a block later. At this point, the road is chipseal instead or asphant. It is ightly travelled. It follows a ridge through an agricultural area into a cluster of houses. Wallace runs into Amity which drops toward the Pat Bay. Amity does not cross the Pat Bay. There is a short block of Amity east of the Pat Bay. the Lochside is less than 100 m. way. There is a footbridge over the Pat Bay.
The routes back to Victoria are by Blenkinsop or Cedar Hill to Cook. Another direct return is Royal Oak to the Lochside School, and then back south by the trail.
The City of Victoria has built bike lanes separated from the part of the road used by vehicle by concrete curbs along downtown streets:
- Wharf Street from Humbolt and Government north to the Bridge
- Pandora Avenue from the Bridge north to Vancouver Street;
- Fort Street from Government Street north to Vancouver Street.
The separated lanes were not popular with merchants with retail businesses. In some areas the bike lanes swoop and swerve around transit stops or zones for taxis and cars to stop. Some pedestrians step into the bike lanes or use them as sidewalks. These lanes are used by commuters with a electric powered scooters and skateboards.
Some roads in Greater Victoria have painted bike lanes, but many streets are too narrow for bike lanes. Some bike lanes suddenly pinch and disappear.
Langford has some bike lanes on paved shoulders along some roads. In rural areas such as Metchosin or Central Saanich, paved roads have narrow shoulders or no shoulders and there are few bike lanes.
Arterial roads and Cross roads
The drawbacks of major arteries as cycling routes include vehicular traffic, lack of bike lanes, limited visibility, parked cars, elevation changes.
North-South Arterial Streets
Several arterial streets in the City of Victoria run north and south in the City and for some distance: Government Street, Douglas Street, Blanshard Street, Cook Street, Quadra Street, Shelbourne/Mount Douglas Parkway, Cordova Bay Road. Some become highways or freeways. Douglas Street becomes a highway that runs west, and passes the south end of Squally Reach, and becomes the Island Highway along the east side of Vancouver Island. Blanshard Street becomes Highway 17 running north along the Saanich Peninsula through municipalities north of Victoria on the Saanich peninsula to the BC Ferries terminal at Swartz Bay at the N. end of the peninsula.
Several streets go east and west across Victoria: Bay Street, Fort Street. Johnson &Pandora/Oak Bay, Fairfield, Lansdown/Hillside/Gorge Road, Finlayson/North Dairy, Esquimalt Road, Craigflower, MacKenzie, Royal Oak, Cedar Hill Cross (X) Road.
Fairfield traverses Oak Bay from downtown. It becomes to Beach at Hollywood. It is heavily travelled, and has parking in several sections. It has some steeper areas. Richardson and McNeill traverse Oak Bay from Cook east to the water, at the Oak Bay Marina. It has parking in several sections. It has some steeper areas. In 2021, the roadway was altered to reduce vehicular traffic and encourage cycling.
Royal Oak Drive starts at Cordova Bay Road at the north end of Mount Douglas Park. The Lochside trail crosses it near Lochside School. (which showed up in one of the commercials for the London Olympics in 2012 – the ones narrated by Gordon Pinsent). Royal Oak goes west from Mount Douglas, past Broadmead Village (a shopping center with Canadian Tire, Thifty’s a) and across the Pat Bay Highway. It has bike lanes as far west as Highway 17, but not on the overpass. Traffic is heavy. It has some climbs and descents.
There is a crossing route north of McKenzie called the San Juan Greenway. From the west, it starts at the Lochside Trail, at Don Mann excavators. First, the Blenkinsop Greenway, a paved trail across farms to Blenkinsop Road . Then a paved trail along Mt. Douglas X Road to Glendenning. Then paved and residential streets to Elnido/San Juan Avenue. San Juan is a wide residential street. It has beenconnected with a paved trail through the park with sports fields on Tyndall. There are stop signs, and a few climbs. There is a road crossing at Blenkinsop and a trail connecting to the Lochside just beside Don Mann Excavating. At the east end of San Juan, there are routes to get onto Gordon Head and cross McKenzie and enter the U Vic campus. Or to get to Arbutus. From the east, it is approached from Arbutus or from U Vic by way of Gordon Head. There some ways off of Gordon Head through the residential area. From the east, the stop signs are at Tyndall, Torquay, Majestic, Shelbourne , Cedar Hill.
East-West Arterial Roads
In some areas, the main arteries are East-West e.g. Esquimalt Road and Craigflower (the Island Highway west of Admirals Rd.) in Victoria West and Esquimalt on the Esquimalt peninsula. The cross streets – Tyee/Skinner, Lampson, Admirals Road, run north and south.
In Saanich and Central Saanich, there are east-west roads named “cross road” – Keating, Stelly’s, Mount Newton. Also, near the airport McTavish. Each has a degree of climb, traffic, minimal or no bike lanes and other concerns. Wallace crosses the Saanich Peninsula diagonally from Brentwood Bay on the west coast of the Saanich peninsula to Saanichton. It is a bit better, but it has traffic and nominal bike lanes.
Past the airport, there is a route from Patricia Bay on the west to Sidney in the east. Mills Road starts (or ends) at West Saanich Road and runs along the north edge of the airport. It connects to Beacon Avenue, which crosses Highway 17 and connects to the Lochside Trail and other trails and roads in Sidney. There is a bike trail along Mills – part the airport trail called the Flight Path.
North South Routes; U Vic; Mount Douglas
The best route out of Victoria north up the Saanich Peninsula is the Galloping Goose Trail to the Swingbridge, and the Lochside Trail.
Other options on the east side of the peninsula go to or near the University of Victoria or Mount Douglas. U Vic:
- Foul Bay Road to Cadboro Bay Road and out to Cedar Hill X Road (University of Victoria). A grind up a hill, and traffic.
- Up Cook Street, until it branches onto Cedar Hill. Cedar Hill turns into Shelbourne near the Park. Shebourne turns into the Cordova Bay Road at the edge of the Park. Cook is heavily travelled by Victoria standards, but wide and generally 4 lanes. There are some sharp climbs on Cook and along Cedar Hill. The surface is good.
- Shelburne Street is heavily travelled and not good for cyclists. It has bike lanes from Begbie out past Bay Street, but they do not continue along some narrower corridors in well travelled street. It is better to go to U Vic and cross from Gordon Head to Shelboure via Feltham.
- Foul Bay and Cadboro Bay Road to Cedar Hill X Road. There are a more ways to U Vic off the coastal route: from Arbutus along Finnerty or Gordon Head.
- Richardson/McNeill, cross onto Windsor and cross Oak Bay on Hampshire or Monterey/St. Ann and then proceed north on Musgrave to the Uplands area.
- Through Oak Bay by Musgrave to the Uplands, continue by Midland and Upper Terrace, and cross Cadboro Bay Road at Cedar Hill X Road.
- Coastal: Dallas, and Beach. The pure coastal approach involves Dallas, Hollywood and Crescent and a climb up to King George Terrace. Or, along Crescent, a turn onto Foul Bay Road, and then on McNeill or Oak Bay and east to Beach. One option is to go down to Beach near the Oak Bay Marina and turn on Beach. The coastal approach goes past Cadboro Bay. Beach runs into Arbutus, which runs into Ferndale. Ferndale become Grandview, and Grandview become Ash, running to the edge of Mount Douglas Park where it runs into or becomes Cordova Bay Road.
Some have drawbacks:
- from Beach by Lansdowne, Cadboro Bay Road and Cedar Hill X Road (steep bits)
- Foul Bay Bay Road, (traffic, steep).
The routes to Mount Douglas Park come out on Cordova Bay Road at the south east edge of the park and run along the base of Mount Douglas through some older Douglas firs. The road is heavily traveled, but it has a bike lane. At the north end of the park, Cedar Hill reaches an intersection. I can make a sharp left turn and head south up Blenkinsop and hook up with Cook. I make a soft left turn onto Royal Oak, or I can make a soft right and proceed on Cordova Bay.
West Saanich – the Lakes
On the west side of the Pat Bay, and north of Royal Oak, West Saanich Road travels north. It intersects Wallace at Brentwood Bay and goes to end of the airport and all the way to Deep Cove. West Saanich is heavily travelled, and has some climbs and drops. The bike lane is just a narrow shoulder.
The Interurban Route avoids the traffic along West Saanich Road by using gravel roads and trails and following Wallace.
There are options. It is possible to cross West Saanich Road near the end of Interurban Road and explore Old West Saanich Road (narrow; steep bits). It is also possible to traverse off of Interurban Road by some side roads and that connect to West Saanich Road, cross West Saanich, and traverse east to the parks around Beave and Elk Lake
There is access from Beaver Lake Road at the south end of Beaver to a trail on the west side of the lakes – it is an old rail grade (I have not figured out which one). It is about 4 k. of trail north to Brookleigh Road, which lead to other options. One is to turn east on Brookleigh out to the Pat Bay, ride the paved shoulder until the north end of Elk Lake Drive or Royal Oak. Another is to go west to Oldfield and north on Oldfield to Keating Cross Road
It is possible to reach Beaver Lake Road from the east. The Lochside Trail intersects Royal Oak. Royal Oak has a bike lane from the Lochside Trail to the Pat Bay Highway and Elk Lake Drive. There is access to Beaver Lake Roadby turning onto Elk Lake Drive and going through the Park
A ride to Sidney and back from James Bay was about a 65 k ride on the Lochside trail. I could turn it into a century by going to Oak Bay and out to Mt. Douglas first, then crossing to West Saanich Road and meandering across rural Saanich around the airport, or out around Deep Cove or Swartz Bay before riding to Sidney.
On July 15, 2007 I started with the outbound part of the Mt Douglas ride. Second leg: Brentwood Bay by Royal Oak & W. Saanich Rd. Third leg: Sidney by Stelly’s X, E. Saanich Rd., Mount Newton X, Lochside. Break: at 47 k., Serious Coffee in Sidney. Fourth leg: Brentwood Bay by Lochside, Mt Newton X, E. Saanich Rd, Wallace. Fifth leg: east again by Keating X to Oldfield, south to Brookleigh (N. end of Elk and Beaver Lake) east to the Pat Bay Highway, south on the shoulder. Sixth leg: Royal Oak to W. Saanich, Markham and the Camosun campus to the Interurban, south to Burnside. Then I had a short stretch on the Goose, out Cloverdale to Cook, down to Dallas. 90k. Finish: Loops around Beacon Hill and James Bay.
On August 6, 2007, I tried a route that started with the outbound part of the typical Mt. Douglas ride. Second leg: Royal Oak to W. Saanich Road, and out to Brentwood Bay. Third leg: Wallace to Saanichton, E. Saanich Rd to Willingdon, around the airport. Mills, Beacon, to Sidney. Break at 50 k at Serious Coffee in Sidney. Fourth leg – South: Lochside along Bazan Bay to Mt Newton X. Central Saanich, (Keating X) and Oldfield to Brookleigh. Pat Bay Hy. (shoulder) to Royal Oak, W. Saanich to Markham, Camosun, Interurban, W. Burnside, down to Douglas. Fifth leg – south and east: Galloping Goose to the Gorge. Gorge Road, Hillside, Lansdown to Foul Bay Rd. Finish: waterfront to Cook, up to Cook Street Village, loop on Oxford and Moss back to Dallas, past Ogden Point. Montreal, Niagara and Boyd.
Another option of getting a century would be Mount Douglas, Royal Oak, and then West Saanich all the way to Deep Cove, around Swartz Bay, and then back into Sidney, etc.Other options for long rides can be taken from the Tour de Victoria 2012 Map.
The Victoria & Gulf Island Cycling and Walking Map, developed by the Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition and Davenport Maps is in a 5th edition (2013 ?). It has a QR code that opens updates if you have a device and a connection. It is sold at MEC, some cycling stores and some book stores. It show places where there are trails and paths where the pavement end to make connections. It also shows climbs and descents with chevrons. It shows bike stores and rentals.
John Luton’s Cycle Vancouver Island site is aimed at touring visitors.John Crouch’s Bike Victoria, in the 2006 edition or the 2012 revised edition, is useful. (The revision adds some mountain bike routes, but mainly adjusts the ride notes). John Crouch’s web page has a list of stores where it is available. Here is my list and concordance. (Distances are from Crouch’s suggested start points).
|2012 Ride #||2006 Ride #||Km.||Chapter/Ride Name|
|Victoria, Oak Bay, Esquimault|
|3||20||Coffee Shop Crawl|
|3||14||Downtown/Oak Bay Marina|
|4||4||21||James Bay/Oak Bay|
|5||14||Beacon Hill Park/Oak Bay|
|5||6||33||Beacon Hill Park/Mt. Douglas Park/Broadmead|
|6||7||24||Oak Bay/Uvic/ Ten Mile Point|
|8||8||31||Equimault, View Royal|
|9||9||28, 44, 56||Coastline Route (3 variants)|
|Saanich, Central Saanich, North Saanich, Sidney|
|11||11||24||Elk & Beaver Lake/Brentwood Bay/Saanichton|
|12||12||18||Elk & Beaver Lake/Cordova Bay|
|13||13||29||Beaver Lake/Prospect Lake/Brentwood Bay|
|14||14||30||Tillicum Mall/Interurban Road/Highland Road|
|15||15||20||Carey Road/Layritz Park/Burnside Road|
|16||16||10||Mt. Douglas Park/Blenkinsop Valley|
|18||18||22, 27, 32||Cordova Bay/Island View Beach Pk./Central Saanich|
|19||19||25||Panorama Rec. Centre/Ardmore Drive|
|20||20||15||Bazan Bay/Central Saanich|
|21||21||32||Bazan Bay/Deep Cove/Curteis Point/Sidney|
|23||23||10||Wain Road/Deep Cove|
|24||24||16||Blue Heron Park/Lands End Road|
|25||25||36||Tour of the Highlands|
|26||40||Roads & Trails|
|26||27||66, 93||Tour of Saanich|
|27||28||39||Highlands/Humpback Road/Galloping Goose|
|28||29||24||Atkins Road/Happy Valley Road/Esquimault Lagoon|
|29||30||27||Tour of Metchosin|
|33||42, 160||Jordan River|
|Roads & Trails|
|32||65, 45, 28||Peninsula Loops|
|33||46||Bear Hill/Layritz Park Loop|
|34||54, 48||Thetis Lake Loops|
|35||62||Hazlitt Creek Loop|
|36||34||32, 22||Shawnigan Lake/Cameron Taggert Road|
|37||35||97||Shawnigan Lake via the Malahat Drive|
|38||36||47||Mill Bay/Cowichan Bay/Shawnigan Lake|
|39||37||30||Cowichan Valley Winery Tour|
34, 20, 10
|Galloping Goose Regional Trail|
|Lochside Regional Trail|
|42||40||28||Trans-Canada/Cowichan Valley Trail|
|Routes Into Victoria|
|44||42||30, 32||Swarz Bay Ferry Terminal|