The trail acquired its strange name in 1987, named after gasoline powered train passenger car No. 15813 that ran between Victoria and Sooke twice a day from 1922 for nine years.
The Galloping Goose is 55km / 35 miles long mostly being an easy grade of less than 5%. At the Victoria end it connects to the Lochside Trail and the Interurban Trail for the pastoral scenery of the Saanich Peninsula. It is part of the Trans Canada Trail which will link 11,300 miles of trails from Vancouver Island to Newfoundland! You can tackle it in its entirety or in sections perhaps using BC Transit's bus route #61 which serves parts of the route - helpfully having bike racks on each bus.
Highlights include: the Todd and Charters trestle bridges, views of the Sooke Basin across to the Olympic Mountains, swimming at Sooke Potholes or Matheson Lake, and riding through Metchosin. Wildlife sightings include deer, llamas, goats, horses, harbour seals, salmon, seabirds (including loons) and monarch butterflies.
The leader of a cycling tour here in June 2007 wrote "Getting to the Galloping Goose from the B&B was about 7 miles of road riding on roads with wide shoulders and city traffic that was bike-friendly. Martin, our host, helped us map out the best course to get us to the Trail on the best cycling roads. Once on the Goose, the mostly cinder path trail takes you through Victoria to the Fisgard Lighthouse, Hatley Castle and on to Sooke, a coastline village with spectacular views, tree-lined trails and lakeside settings. Further past Sooke are two very long old railroad trestles - now part of the Trail and Sooke Potholes Park where you can take a dip in the spring-fed pools. The Galloping Goose is 60 plus kilometers long end-to-end with plenty to see and enjoy."
Trail maps and brochures are available from the Capital Regional District's Parks Department. Switchbridge Tours has several tours and also rents bikes, has maps and offers end-of-trail pick-up. Switchbridge Tours has several tours and also rents bikes, has maps and offers end-of-trail pick-up (see our Victoria Cycling page for details of this and other resources).
The Victoria / Gulf Islands Cycling and Walking Map, published by the Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition, is available from some of the 25 Victoria biking shops. There's an excellent summary of the Trail, with maps, at www.crd.bc.ca/parks/documents/gallop_goose_info.pdf
Victoria's Country Retreat ... serenity near the Butchart Gardens
(Galloping Goose trail page)