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Galloping Goose Trail

The Galloping Regional Goose Trail is named for a gawky and noisy gas rail car that carried passengers between Victoria and Sooke in the 1920s.

The first rail tracks were laid on Island soil in 1893, with the opening of the Victoria & Sidney line. The trail, now a regional park, is built upon the abandoned rail beds and trestles of that railway legacy, connecting our transportation past with our transportation future.

The Galloping Goose Regional Trail travels almost 60 kilometres through nearly every landscape on Southern Vancouver Island. You can walk, jog, cycle or ride a horse past some of British Columbia's finest scenery. Level and paved, suitable for wheelchairs, roller blades and toddlers on bikes, the trail is an important artery for commuters cycling to their office in downtown Victoria, capital of beautiful British Columbia.

Maps: Galloping Goose Trail

Galloping Goose North Trail Map
Galloping Goose East Trail Map
Galloping Goose West Trail Map
Galloping Goose Transit Map

The Goose, as the trail is affectionately known, starts (for visitors arriving to the Island) in Swartz Bay and travels through the Saanich Peninsula farmlands, backroads and bird sanctuaries to Victoria where another artery of the trail takes you to Sooke and Leechtown.

At Metchosin, the trail moves lazily past small farms surrounded by rolling hills. Steep, rocky slopes extend to the trailside to greet The Goose as she drops into creek beds and continues on her westerly course.

Matheson Lake Regional Park and Roche Cove Regional Park host the Goose next, lining the trail with Coastal Douglas fir and sword fern. You can use this park as a jumping off point or as an end to a pleasant outing. To the west, in Sooke, the trail skirts the Sooke Basin, clinging to each headland. Down on the water, you can watch Buffleheads and Barrow's Goldeneye bobbing on the swell. Across the Basin, the hills of East Sooke Regional Park rise out of the water. This is The Goose at its best.

Near the mouth of the Sooke River, the Galloping Goose veers north and climbs out of the coastal plain and up the canyon. Far below, the Sooke River plunges past potholes, back eddies, and hustles out to sea. The original railway tracks once spanned Charters and Todd Creeks. Today, only the tall wooden and iron trestles remain. The view from the trail perched on the side of the canyon slopes is spectacular. The Goose steepens ever so slightly on this last section before levelling out and ending at Leechtown, an abandoned mining town. This last section of the trail north along the Sooke River is more remote and wild, so cougar and deer may be part of your Galloping Goose experience.

The trail begins at the south end of the Selkirk Trestle, at the foot of Alston Street in Victoria West. Access points are found along the entire trail route. Parking areas are located at Atkins Avenue in View Royal, Aldeane Avenue in Colwood, the Luxton Fairgrounds on Sooke Road in Luxton, Rocky Point Road in Metchosin and Roche Cove Regional Park in East Sooke.

One of the more scenic portions of the trail is the Selkirk Trestle, as the Galloping Goose leaves Esquimalt and crosses the Gorge. During the herring season, Selkirk Trestle is a fabulous local fishing spot. The waterway here is popular with paddlers and rowers as they compete for space with rowboats and small sailboats.

Click for companies that offer Hiking & Backpacking services, or visit our Recreation section for more information on Hiking and Backpacking in British Columbia.

The Galloping Goose and Peninsula Trail Maps are reproduced with the kind permission of Van Der Gugten Communications / Provincial Capital Commission

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