Biking trails on Vancouver Island
Biking trails on Vancouver Island
When it comes to choosing an outdoor activity to do when you’re on Vancouver Island, there is no wrong answer.
With endless stretches of greenery, jewel-like expanses of ocean, and a temperate climate nearly year-round, just being outside taking in the sights of the island is an activity unto itself. The area is canopied by a variety of trees — Western Red Cedar, Doulas Fir, Sitka Spruce — sometimes so colossal they don’t seem real. The Pacific Ocean circles the island, providing countless opportunities to watch the waves, soak up the salty ocean air, and if you’re lucky, spot an Orca or humpback whale.
But with the many choices of parks, paths, and open sweeps of road, one of the most popular island pastimes is cycling. Whether it’s coasting past the ocean on a cruiser bike, or experiencing an adrenaline rush while kicking up some dirt on a mountain bike, Vancouver Island is an ideal place to hop on a bike and take in everything the area has to offer. Check out these popular routes for some ideas to plan your next biking adventure.
Seaside Touring Route, Victoria
B.C.’s capital city, Victoria, is also the cycling capital of Canada. With an increasing number of Victoria residents choosing cycling as their commuting method of choice, the city is well-equipped with cyclist lanes, bike lock-up areas, and cycling routes for everyone from beginners to the most hardcore of cyclists. One of the most popular cycling routes in the city is the Seaside Touring Route — a leisurely and scenic route for beginners, but still expert-approved. The route is a 39-km loop, but you can choose to hop on or hop off at any point. Since the city provides many areas to park your bike, you can also stop to sight-see along the way. Begin your ride in North America’s oldest residential neighbourhood, James Bay. Here, you can stop at a variety of local coffee shops, and ride or walk along the Ogden Point Breakwater. Next, cruise into Fairfield and Gonzalez where there is ample opportunity to check out the beaches or stop for an ice cream cone at Beacon Hill Park near Dallas Road. The route continues northeast, through neighbourhoods such as the Oak Bay and Cadboro Bay, with many options for shopping or lunch. If you want to continue on the loop, head north to connect to the Galloping Goose Trail to get back downtown.
Galloping Goose Trail, Victoria
Victoria’s Galloping Goose Trail is an old 1920s railway converted into a 55-km path, winding its way through most of the city. The trail will take you from the city centre all the way to Leechtown, a ghost town north of Sooke. The Goose is a popular spot for cycling, running, walking — and even horseback riding on some parts of the trail. Since the trail connects to most parts of the city, you can stop and sightsee at your leisure if a 55-km ride is too daunting to do in one go. The trail showcases a variety of landscapes: rocky paths lined with scented Douglas Firs, serene waterways dotted with ducks and geese, and rural farmland with grazing animals, providing plenty of opportunities to snap some breathtaking photos. After you fuel up for breakfast (top picks: John’s Place and Jam Café), begin your ride on the Johnson Street Bridge and continue along the Selkirk Trestle to the Gorge Waterway and Portage Inlet. The trail continues through much of the West Saanich neighbourhoods before continuing on to the western communities of Langford and Metchosin. In the summer months, stopping here to take a dip in Thetis Lake is an ideal way to cool off. The trail then heads towards Sooke, where it ends at the old gold mining community of Leechtown. After the ride, you will most likely want to spend the evening at one of the many campgrounds or B&Bs in the area before heading to wherever your bicycle takes you next.
Cowichan Valley Trail & Maple Mountain, Cowichan Valley