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
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
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
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
Click for companies that offer Hiking
& Backpacking services, or visit our Recreation
section for more information on Hiking and Backpacking in British
Goose and Peninsula Trail Maps are reproduced with the kind permission
of Van Der Gugten Communications / Provincial Capital Commission