Explore Victoria: Lochside Trail

 Lochside Trail 

Saanich has done well in creating regional trails, one of those being a bicycle tour route circling the municipality. It follows mostly rural and residential roads, much of it through rural farmland in the western extent of the route. Traffic is a consideration along most of its length, though.
If you wish to avoid cars, the Lochside Regional Trail runs 29 km along the length of the Saanich Peninsula mostly on a former railway bed. Beginning in Swartz Bay it eventually connects with the Galloping Goose Regional Trail at Switch Bridge, a crossing of the Island Highway. The combined result is a path for non-motorized traffic running from Swartz Bay to Sooke.
Much of the southern portion is heavily developed and near major roads, but urban encroachment begins to melt away once north of McKenzie Avenue. You may actually want to start your ride from somewhere in that area to avoid the most urban portions. The trail passes McDonald Campground, part of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, and ends at the trail’s only hill at the Land’s End Road overpass just before the Swartz Bay ferry terminal. The trail has numerous potential side trips, such as into Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park and Mount Douglas Regional Park.
Visitors from Washington State could take bicycles onto the Washington State ferry and cycle south into Victoria using the Lochside Trail. And for those who wish to cycle in one direction only, BC Transit bus #70 is equipped with a bike rack and makes frequent stops between Victoria and Swartz Bay at points along the trail.