Goose is your trail. You can cycle, walk, run, jog, in-line
skate, wheelchair, push a stroller, walk the dog, ride a horse,
commute to work, spend a quiet Sunday afternoon, push yourself
through the entire trail, or take a 15 minute break on this
multi-use, 100 kilometre former railway line, now a regional
If it isn't a motorized vehicle, except for a motorized wheelchair,
you can do it on the Goose. The Goose also knows every landscape
on southern Vancouver Island. You can travel past the finest:
a quiet cove, a hidden lake, rocky outcrops, marshland, canyon
land, skunk cabbage swampland, tall Douglas Fir forest, rural
farmland, urban back streets, and waterways. This is the Capital
Region District at its best.
Trestle to Switch Bridge The Galloping Goose Regional Trail
begins here at the Selkirk Trestle. However, trailside kilometre
markings are measured from the Johnson Street bridge to account
for future expasion of the trail linking downtown Victoria about
one kilometre to the south. The Selkirk Trestle -- a 300 metre
long, fir and hemlock trestle -- spans the Selkirk waters, a
bulge in the narrow saltwater inlet curving north-west from
Victoria's Inner Harbour to the Gorge and Portage inlets.
signs of a changing downtown Victoria dominate the southern
view, the immediate environs are mostly tranquil, with lush
poplars, willows and maples pushing to the shoreline and softening
the urban landscape.
trestle itself is five metres wide --ample room for the hundreds
of strollers and cyclists on a Sunday afternoon outing. There's
even room for the occaisional fisher casting over the railing
for herring. Though the trestle is wide, the surface can get
slippery after wet weather. If you're on wheels, check your
speed and watch out for other trail users. You can access the
bridge at either end: from the south, take Tyee Road to Arthur
Currie Lane; from the north, drop down from Gorge Road East,
a block west of Jutland Road. From the bridge, in rapid succession,
the trail scurries under the Gorge Road East Bridge and the
Burnside Road East Bridge. A huge mural brightens up one of
the massive, cast concrete bridges.
Goose emerges into the warehouse and light industry district
just west of Douglas Street. It's stop-and-go here. The trail
crosses six urban roads in a row. In many of them, you must
yield to road traffic, so stay alert. Up ahead: the Switch Bridge.
The Switch Bride, a 100 metre span across the Trans-Canada Highway,
marks another important milestone in the life of the Goose.
Until the Switch Bridge, the busy highway blocked flow along
the Goose. When the bridge opened in 1996, the Goose gained
easy, uninterrupted access to Victoria. Switch Bridge to Quadra
Street -- The Saanich Spur At the north end of the Switch Bridge,
the trail forks. The right fork bends north-east and becomes
the Saanich Spur (2.3 km in length) of the Goose. Again, it
quickly ducks under two major bridges: this time at Blanshard
Street and Vernon Avenue. Your now in the heart of Saanich,
the CRD's largest municipality with a population of 105,000.
Goose skirts around the southern perimeter of Swan Lake Christmas
Hill Nature Sanctuary -- a great opportunity for a side trip
(sorry, no bicycles) if you're on foot. The verdant willows
and hints of marsh wildlife beckon the asphalt traveler to explore
further. With Swan Lake to the north, the trail crosses over
the Brett Avenue Trestle and 500 metres beyond, the Swan Lake
Trestle, both remnants of the former Canadian Northern Pacific
Railway (and later the CNR) line that ran through Saanich from
1917 to 1990. Just Past the Swan Lake Trestle, at Quadra Street,
the Galloping Goose abruptly ends. -- for now. Future plans
include expansion of the Goose into a regional trail system
that continues up Lochside Drive and on to Sidney.
You can travel
for nearly 100 kilometres on the Galloping Goose Regional Trail.
You can cycle, walk, or ride a horse along this former rail
line past some of B.C.’s finest scenery.