If you're on the search for new places to explore why not take a break…
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.
Step 1 for biking the 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.
Step 2: Bike the Lochside Trail to meet up with the Galloping Goose Trail
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 kilometre multi-use trail that started off as a railway line. It connects the ferry terminal to the 55 kilometre Galloping Goose Trail – another trail 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.
Step 3: Biking the Galloping Goose Trail 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 Trail 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 Trail 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 eight kilometres return.
For more details about the Galloping Goose Trail (and a map) visit the website.
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.
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.
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 kilometres 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. Check out my Gulf Island Cycling Guide for detailed ideas.
Further reading on biking in Canada
- Biking in The Shuswap Area of British Columbia
- Biking the Kettle Valley Tail in the Okanagan
- 5 Great Bike Rides in the Banff Area
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