VICTORIA TO LANGFORD/MALAHAT:
Start at Clover Point, the southernmost point of the mainland within the city of Victoria. There is a suitable paved ramp which allows visitors to dip their feet in the ocean. Leaving Clover Point, pedestrians can use the paved walking trail travelling west along the escarpment, which runs for about 3 km to Ogden Point and the cruise ship terminal. Cyclists are not permitted to use this trail, so simply follow Dallas Road.
At Ogden Point, the proposed route follows the future David Foster Pathway, which winds its way along the shoreline all the way to Johnson Street Bridge. From Ogden Point, simply follow Dallas Road north to Fishermans Wharf Park, where the footpath truly begins. To keep the directions simple, simply stay as close to the shoreline as possible, and you will eventually round Laurel Point, pass the Black Ball ferry terminal and step down onto the Inner Harbour Basin walkway. The trail continues north, around Ship Point, past the seaplane docks and ending just short of the Johnson Street Bridge - cross the bridge to Victoria West. Cyclists are not permitted to ride along these pathways, but certainly can walk their bikes aong the whole route. Otherwise, follow the paved streets that run parallel to the route.
On the west side of the Johnson Street Bridge (the big bridge that crosses the Harbour), the road is known as Esquimalt Road, and slopes downhill towards traffic lights. Turn right onto Harbour Road, which runs north and offers generous sidewalks and bike lanes. You will pass shipyards on the right and new commericial and residential developments on the left, called Dockside Green. Harbour Road runs for 500 metres in a straight line before turning left to meet Tyee Rd; at this turn, the trail leaves Harbour Road (across from the cafe), heading north on the Galloping Goose trail. This trailhead is marked by a large totem pole and a "trail counter" (counting the number of trail users).
The Galloping Goose continue north. It is a former railway, named for the gasoline powered locomotives that once ran along it. Generally, walkers should stay on the brick path on the east (water side), and bikers should use the blacktop path on the west, until the trail paths converge at the Selkirk Trestle. Check out the Trans Canada Trail pavilion on the left! Proceed over Selkirk Trestle. Following the trail north for the next 2.3 kilometres is simple and straightforward.
It is useful to note, that as a former rail line, the trail never makes any abrupt turns or steep climbs/descents. In the very few places it does, it only serves as a short bypass around obstacles, such as roads or developments which interrupted the railway right of way. So if you do suddenly find yourself headed in a completely new direction, or heading up a steep hill, you've probably lost the trail; retrace your steps to point where you lost the trail and consider "which way would a train go?".
At the 8 kilometre mark from Clover Point, the TCT climbs over the Trans Canada Highway on the "switch bridge". On the other side, the trail splits. To the left, the Galloping Goose runs west alongside the highway on its way to Langford and eventually Sooke. To the right, the Lochside (another rail trail) runs through a tunnel, past Swan Lake, and continues north to Sidney, the airport and the Swartz Bay ferry terminal. Go LEFT to Langford/Sooke! Within 100 metres, you should find yourself on the trail beside the highway.
For those following the TCT to the Cowichan Valley, please note: The trail route over the Malahat involves a lot of climbing. It is a very physically demanding route that will be challenging to those cyclists towing trailers or hauling panniers. Consider leaving the official route in 1 kilometre at Interurban Road / the Colquitz River trail. Refer to our Malahat Bypass route page if you think this might be a good idea. The bypass route is a little complicated to follow but very flat and pleasant.
The TCT runs along the Galloping Goose for another 12.6 km, and continues to be quite straightforward. There are two tricky places, however. The first will occur 9 km from the Switch Bridge, when the trail reaches Wale Rd. Although you can see the path continuing on the other side of the road, a sign instructs you to turn left. The reason for this is because shortly ahead, the Galloping Goose crosses the very busy Old Island Highway. At some point in the future, a bridge will be constructed to allow users to continue straight ahead - but for the time being, the crossing is uncontrolled and hazardous - so turn left onto Wale. At the lights (Old Island Hwy), cross the highway on the crosswalk. Do not proceed straight along Ocean Boulevard! Turn right and proceed on the wide sidewalk on the left side of the highway for 100 metres. There, you will see the Galloping Goose continuing on your left side. From here, the surface is unpaved, finely crushed gravel.
After another 3 kilometres, the trail reaches the intersection of the Veteran's Memorial Highway and Kelly Road. Here, the route leaves the Galloping Goose.
The route crosses the Parkway and travels along Kelly Road (aka Jenkins Road) for about 700 metres. Walkers can use the pathway on the north side of the road. Cyclists can use a bike lane on the road itself. At the intersection of Jacklin, turn right for about 100 metres, then turn left at Rex Road. There is a paved trail that runs beside Rex - use the trail to travel west for about 1 km. At the end of the trail, continue uphill on Glen Lake Road. Where the road begins to turn left, turn right, entering the pathway between Belmont Secondary (on your left) and the soccer field (on your right). Continue on the pathway, which climbs uphill to a crest, then runs down a switchback and meets the Westshore Parkway. Turn left and follow the pathway; a nice park with playground will be on your left side. After 200 metres, cross the parkway - a trail running behind the houses runs perpendicular to the Westshore Parkway along a river in the forest. The trail crosses the river and continues on the opposite side, emerging at a derelict booth used for the campground that was once located here. Turn right onto a driveway, and left onto the road - this is Irwin Road - headed 800 metres towards the Humpback Reservoir. The Sooke Hills Wilderness Trail starts between the two parking areas - it will slip through the closed gate as this area is closed to vehicles. An info kiosk marks the start of the trail.
The trail is a wide gravel service road, leading to a gate, crosses a road, then a well surfaced, but steep, trail climbs up over a hump, then back down to run alongside the E&N railway. The trail turns left and leads down to a suspension bridge over the river. On the other side, the route turns right on a service road - and uses this road virtually all the way to the northern boundary of the watershed. It is a long steady climb, though the first long hill is definitely the worst (for now).
At the top of the road, a gate leads into a clearcut, and the trail descends - and ascends - and descends over and over again until it reaches "Trail Way" (a paved road with a gate). Here the trail splits; a hiking route crosses the road, takes a left, then an immediate right on a utility road. Within a few metres, the route leaves the road, climbing up a hill to the right. It continues to climb up to the height of land, then gradually turns east and drops down to Goldstream Heights - a total distance of about 1 km. For cyclists, when you reach Trail Way, turn right, heading east to the intersection of Goldstream Heights Road and turn left, taking the main road north - a long uphill climb. At the intersection of Finlayson View Road, the two trails merge and the paved multi-use trail continues north - on the west side (and parallel) to Finlayson View Road. Within 300 metres, you will reach the CVRD boundary.