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The Lochside and Galloping Goose Trails are particularly beautiful in spring when the flowers are blooming

Galloping Goose Trail Bike Trip to Sooke

Looking for an easy, reasonably priced weekend getaway that involves only a bike, a credit card and a Vancouver Island ferry ride? 

Try two days of biking the Galloping Goose Trail from Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal to Sooke and back via the Lochside Trail as described below. It’s a great weekend trip from Vancouver and affordable since you can bike onto the ferry at a fraction of the price of taking a car.

Updated February 2020. This post includes some affiliate links. If you make a purchase via one of these links, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

Lovely easy cycling on the Galloping Goose
Lovely easy cycling on the Galloping Goose

Galloping Goose Trail:  Take the ferry from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay

Our trip started with a drive to the Tsawwassen ferry terminal, about 45 minutes away from downtown Vancouver.

We dumped our car in a long term parking lot, attached the panniers to our bikes loaded with only a change of clothes and some rain gear and headed for ferry tickets. The Tsawwassen ferry terminal has a special booth that looks after cyclists.

Rates these days are $17.20 per adult plus an extra $2 to bring a bike on board. The beauty of  traveling with a bike as opposed to a car is that you always get on, and it’s $57.50 cheaper each way without the car (based on two people traveling with bikes).

Enjoy the BC Ferries first on, first off policy with cyclists. Just bring a lock though for peace of mind – and remember what level on the ferry you left your bike.

You might get lucky and see Orcas on the 90 minute ferry ride over to Swartz Bay
You might get lucky and see Orcas on the 90 minute ferry ride over to Swartz Bay

Bike the Lochside Trail to meet up with the Galloping Goose 

Ninety minutes later get off the ferry in Swartz Bay. As the first ones off you get a head start and almost reach the Lochside Trail before the flow of cars begins. The signs for the trail are at the top of the first hill off the ferry. You can’t miss them.

The Lochside Trail is a 29 km multi-use trail that started off as a railway line. It connects the ferry terminal to the 55 km Galloping Goose that takes you out to Sooke – but also into downtown Victoria.

If you need lunch supplies before continuing detour into Sidney. It would also be a great place to spend the night on the return.

Cycle to Sooke

We cycled the Lochside Trail past the town of Sidney, through farmland, past many a horse until we met up with the Galloping Goose near the intersection of Douglas and Highway 1.

Occasionally we were on roads that we had to share with cars or farm vehicles but traffic was minimal. It got a tad confusing on the approach to the Galloping Goose but if you pay close attention to the signage you should be okay.

There is the option to take a side-trip into downtown Victoria from the intersection of the two trails but we elected not to do that. That would add 8 km return.

For more details about the Galloping Goose (and a map) visit the website.

Look for murals along the trail as you approach Victoria width=

An easy, beautiful section of trail near Sooke
An easy, beautiful section near Sooke

The trail is particularly beautiful in spring when the flowers are blooming[
The Lochside and Galloping Goose are particularly beautiful in spring when the flowers are blooming
Instead we continued along the Galloping Goose – past Portage Inlet and Royal Roads University. After that we had the feeling of getting away from civilization, though the trail was always in great shape.

We stopped for lunch at a small rodeo we just happened upon and caught some calf roping and barrel racing.

Stopping to admire the Garry oaks and the stream
Stopping to admire the Garry oaks and the stream

Biking near Sooke

Then we enjoyed almost five kilometres of cycling through Roche Cove Regional Park, followed by a pretty section with ocean views of the Sooke Basin.

Once we reached Sooke we diverted from the trail and headed for the Sooke Harbour area where we had a B&B reservation for the night – at the cliff-side Richview B&B though I’m not so sure it’s still operating.

Where to stay once you get to Sooke

There are loads of other B&B’s in the Sooke area as well as the well-known and lovely Sooke Harbour House. While we didn’t stay here we did walk over – in our one change of clothes – and relished the food the Sooke Harbour House is so famous for.

Other places to stay include the Prestige Oceanfront Resort.

If you want something more intimate – on a beach check out Orca View Cottage – rated exceptional.

Sooke Harbour House is famous for its gardens
Sooke Harbour House is famous for its gardens

The return to Swartz Bay Ferry terminal

The next day after a breakfast filled with great conversation and endless cups of coffee it was time to retrace our footsteps. All told it was about 75 km of biking each way – a reasonable amount – considering that there weren’t too many hills.

If we had more time stops off of the Lochside Trail to some of the wineries would have been fun. As a weekend trip this one’s a winner for anyone in the Victoria, Vancouver or the Pacific Northwest.

You could easily make it into a week-long trip if you wanted to. 

Further reading on biking in Canada

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest board.

Biking the Galloping Goose Trail from the Swartz Bay Ferry to Sooke




Leigh McAdam

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 61,000 followers. Her blog: HikeBikeTravel is frequently cited as one of the top travel and outdoor adventure blogs in Canada.

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. Such a great idea. We were in Vancouver two years ago but didn’t have the chance to go to Vancouver Island. We biked in Montreal, though. Vancouver Island looks much more beautiful. Great photos.

    1. @Christopher This bike ride is well thought out. The trails are great – easy – family friendly and I just think it’s so cool that I can get on a ferry in Vancouver and make my way safely to the west coast of Vancouver Island.

  2. Great info! This really helps with the planning thank you. I’m going to to plan this for June.
    How long did it take approximately from getting off Ferry?

    1. From the ferry to well past Victoria no problem. Some sections of the Galloping Goose trail though are more gravelly so not great for super skinny tires but should be fine with a touring bike.

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