Galloping Goose Rail Trail (Victoria - Leechtown)

GPS Downloads

  • KML/KMZ files can be opened in Google Earth, and many smartphone apps.
  • GPX files can be opened by most GPS software apps when KMZ cannot. Note, GPX files do not contain custom colours and icons that we use on our maps; all tracks and icons will appear the same colours and styles. We recommend using KMZ instead when possible.
  • GPX-Garmin are GPX files that we have optimized for older Garmin units that only display tracks that contain 500 points or less (such as Garmin eTrex units).

Visit our GPS & Navigation page for instructions of how to use your smartphone as a GPS device (even when outside of data coverage) or how to import data to your Garmin unit.

About the Journey: 

The Galloping Goose is named after the gasoline-powered freight railway cars that once chugged along this corridor, built during World War I to serve the communities west of Victoria.

This picturesque trail moves through urban, rural and wilderness scenery on its 55 kilometre journey from Victoria to the ghost town of Leechtown (north of Sooke) - you can even travel an additional 4 km past Leechtown to the termination point (a large fence blocking the trail) for a total of 59 km. While in operation, the railway continued north towards Shawnigan Lake and over the Kinsol Trestle in the Cowichan Valley. The entire trail was once designated as part of the Trans Canada Trail. However, the portion along Sooke Lake (north of Leechtown) has been closed to the public, as this is now the regional water supply - and the lake has been dammed and portion of the railway have been flooded. Although the portion of the trail between Victoria and Langford is still part of the Trans Canada Trail, the portion that continues from Langford to the terminus at Leechtown at Sooke Lake is no longer part of the "main route" as it cannot continue towards the Cowichan Valley.

The entire trail is surfaced with high quality, finely graded gravel. You can cycle, stroll, run, or even ride a horse through the rural sections. At the switch bridge in Victoria, “The Goose” intersects with the Lochside Regional Trail, a 29 kilometre former railway line from Saanich to Sidney.

While it is possible to cycle from Victoria to Leechtown and back in one long day, at about 118 km, it's a challenge. Some options are finding accomodations in the Sooke area, camping at the Sooke Potholes (adjacent to the Goose before Leechtown) or riding out to Highway 14 and picking up a BC Transit bus (you can mount your bicycle on a rack on the front of all BC Transit buses). More information about these options is included below (under Accomodations and Transportation)

Journey Highlights: 

  • Selkirk Trestle
  • Great access to Thetis Lake regional park (ideal swimming and picnic area)
  • Quiet, tranquil forests in the Matheson Lake area
  • Views of Sooke Basin
  • Sooke Potholes (great swimming!)
  • Ghost town of Leechtown

Parking & Staging Areas

Parking in downtown Victoria can be an issue but there are many parkades downtown and opportunities for curbside parking outside of the busy core. You can try your luck at Uptown Mall and cross the highway to access the trail - however, you will miss the southern section, including the Selkirk Trestle.

Parking lots are otherwise available along the trail at:

  • Atkins Station (east of Thetis Lake)
  • Aldeane Station (across from Royal Roads)
  • Luxton Fairgrounds
  • Matheson Lake
  • East Sooke Park
  • Sooke Road Crossing (east of Sooke)
  • Sooke Potholes

Shopping & Provisions

Provisions are available at various points of the ride, especially in Victoria proper. The Langford area is chock full of malls, stores and pubs. West of Luxton fairgrounds, services are much more sparse, with very little available until Sooke. Nice cafes, pubs and restaurants can be found near downtown Sooke.

Public Washrooms

Toilets are located along the route. Refer to our map's "toilets" layer for precise locations.

Directions: Printable Description (PDF Download)

Transportation

BC Transit bus route # 61 travels between Langford and Sooke - users can pick up the bus along Highway 14 and mount their bikes on the front of the bus. http://bctransit.com/victoria/schedules-and-maps/route-overview?route=61. Instructions for mounting your bike can be found here: http://bctransit.com/victoria/riderinfo/bike-racks-and-lockers

Accommodations

There are some B&B's are located along the trail close to Sooke.

Camping is available at Sooke Potholes; the Spring Salmon Place Campground, previously known as the Sooke Potholes Campground, is owned by theCapital Regional District and operated by the T’Sou-ke Nation. The campground operates seasonally each summer on a first-come, first-served basis. No online or phone reservations. The campground typically opens May long weekend.