Part of the Trans Canada Trail which will traverse the
country by the year 2000, the Galloping Goose and Peninsula Trails form one of the most
picturesque trail systems in Canada.
Dedicated in 1989, the Galloping Goose Trail is named
for a gawky and noisy gas rail-car which carried passengers between Victoria and Sooke in
The first rail tracks were laid on Island soil in 1893,
with the opening of the Victoria and Sidney line. That was followed by the Vancouver
Island section of the Canadian National Railway dedicated in 1911, and by the B.C.
Electric in 1913.
Built upon the abandoned rail beds and trestles of that
railway legacy, the Galloping Goose and Peninsula Trails connect our transportation past
with our transportation future.
You can travel for nearly 60 kilometres on the Galloping
Goose Regional Trail. You can cycle, walk, or ride a horse along this former
rail line past some of B.C.’s finest scenery.
Walk the Goose
You can spot bald eagles. Or turkey vultures floating on a
thermal. You have time to watch a deer in the sword ferns.
Ride the Goose
Ride the Goose on horseback. You and your horse get into a
rhythm. A low Broadleaf Maple brushes your shoulder. You ride past Nootka rose
splashed with pastel reds.
Cycle the Goose
The scenery flows by in slow motion. A quiet cove. A dark,
hidden lake. Rocky outcrops split by twisted Garry Oak.
From asphalt to rainforest to canyon... the Goose knows
every landscape on Southern Vancouver Island. Starting in Victoria, it travels
the back roads to Saanich. Then it slices through the urban setting of View
Royal, Langford, and Colwood. Yet in a delightful surprise, ferns, shrubs, and
rock outcrops shield you from much of the concrete. At Metchosin, the trail
moves lazily past small farms surrounded by hills. Steep, rocky slopes march
down to the trailside. Occasionally the Goose drops into a creek bed. You can
stop on the bridge and watch cool water flow over igneous rock.
At Matheson Lake Regional Park, you can catch a glimpse of
dark water guarded
by steep slopes. Watch for bald eagles and ravens. Stop for lunch here, rest a
while, and enjoy this peaceful lake.
The Goose then enters Roche Cove Regional Park. Coastal
Douglas fir and sword fern line the trail. You can use this park as a jumping
off point or as an end to a pleasant outing. Toilets and ample parking are just
a few kilometres ahead off Gillespie Road. 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. Finally it levels out at Leechtown, an abandoned mining town.
This section of the trail north along the Sooke River is less populated and more
wild. Cougars and deer may be part of your Galloping Goose experience.
How to Get There
The trail begins at the south end of the Selkirk Trestle,
at the foot of Alston Street in Vic 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.
A Word of Caution
The Galloping Goose Trail moves through urban, rural and
wilderness settings; the condition of the trail is often a reflection of its
setting. In addition, sections of the trail are under development, or pass
through areas of highway construction. We advise trail users to exercise caution
and to be prepared for a variety of trail conditions.
For additional information call (250) 478-3344
Special thanks to Development/Writer Andrew van
der Guten and Design & illustrations by Dale Hitchcox for allowing
sookeHarbour.com to reproduce their images of the Galloping Goose Trail Maps
CLICK HERE TO
DOWNLOAD .pdf brochure
Click Here for
REGIONAL Map - Yellow Line is the Trail
Trail Etiquette &
Share the trail and keep right
except to pass.
Cyclists yield to pedestrians, control
your speed and warn other users before passing.
Remember to bring water and stay
Keep dogs under control or on a leash and
please pick up after your pets.
Respect private property adjacent to the
Pass horseback riders with caution,
horses may startle easily.
At night, all users should carry a light
and wear reflective clothing.
Do your part to keep the trail clean,
Please respect wildlife.
The Galloping Goose and Peninsula Trails,
a booklet from Provincial Capital Commission and CRD Parks, 490 Atkins Avenue,
Victoria, B.C. V9B 2Z8. Tel. (604) 478-3344, fax (604) 478-5416