Water District Biketrails
Title: Water District Biketrails; by Terry Connellan
Victoria Water District provides interesting ride
Someday intrepid bicyclists will be able to traverse
Vancouver Island on trails formed from abandoned
rail lines and logging roads. This two day tour is a
preview of things to come.
Take an early morning start on the Brentwood to Mill
Bay ferry. northwest of the city of Victoria. From there
it is an 18 kilometer ride to Shawnigan Lake, and on
to a lunchtime swim at West Shawnigan Lake Park.
When you've recovered your cycling legs, head
south to the junction of Sooke Lake road and head
Up a zigzag gravel road for just under 5 kms you will
see Sooke Lake ahead and the old CN rail bed
branching off to the left invites good riding. As you
go, look for a small waterfall on the left side of the trail.
There is a pipe running drinking water that has an iron
taste, but it's hardly noticeable when you're thirsty.
It is interesting to note that there is no sign of a
deleterious effect from logging in this The Greater
Victoria Water Supply Area. Up here on the trail,
many metres above and away from the lake shore,
the view is spectacular.
Watch for wildlife, there is plenty of bear scat, and
it's a good idea to have a tree planters bell hung
on the bike to give warning, a referees whistle in your
pocket, and a canister of bear spray handy in a holster
just to be safe. We saw deer, and my cycling partner
the bird watcher Ellen Tremblay identified a wide
variety including the booming of Blue Grouse.
At the remains of the wooden trestle, pick up the
gravel road on the right, take it past the dam, and
further on to the water control station. Just to the east
you can get back on the rail-trail to Leechtown and
The Galloping Goose Trail to Milne's Landing.
Not far along is "Yuens' Folly" one man's unfulfilled
dream of massive proportions. At this point the sight
of the falls on the Sooke River are a photographers
delight, as are the views from the trestles to be
crossed on the way south. There are some great
looking swimming holes just off the road.
If you are touring self-sustained this might be a good
time to pick a quiet spot on the trail to overnight.
Make yours a pristine presence, zero impact, no
fires, take only memories, leave only footprints,
you know the drill. After a good sleep it's only a
3-4 hour ride back to Victoria.
There are alternatives available for the intelligent,
perceptive and deserving cyclist. Spoil yourself
shamelessly at one of the areas bed & breakfasts,
and dining rooms. Just west of the Sooke River
Bridge, across the road from the Sooke Regional
Museum is Belvista B&B at 6397 Belvista Place.
Your hosts Joe and Pauline will even ferry your
tired bones the 7 kms east to the Seventeen Mile
House to be pampered over dinner by
You may wish to continue into town to Margison
House at 6605 Sooke Rd, with its tiny foot of the
garden cottage. They are open Thursday-Sunday,
and serve dinner overlooking the garden, Friday
and Saturday from an extensive menu and wine
list. After dinner stroll down to the gazebo and
indulge in a game of giant's chess.
The ultimate west coast dining experience is the
justifiably famous Sooke Harbour House. Jacuzzi
away the days ride in front of fireplace or ocean
view. There is even a massage available by
When you are ready, descend to the best dining
anywhere. I won't attempt to describe the food
and wine, let me just say it will leave you smiling
at the memory for time to come.
Sleep late, breakfast hearty, and allow for a
noonday start back to Victoria on the flat, scenic
Galloping Goose Trail.
This is an easy 4 hour tour so ride it with your
senses on full alert. There is a wide array of
wildlife, flowers, sights and sounds that want
to make your acquaintance, so give them the
When you get home I want you to keep this
adventure a secret. Don't tell anyone unless,
like you and me, they deserve it.
Terry Connellan is a veteran long distance
cycle tourer who occasionally shares his
adventures. He tells us that: The Outdoor
Club of Victoria's Hiking Trails 1, and Richard
Blier's comprehensive "Island Adventures"
are an invaluable assist in preparing for this trip.
Back to Bicycle Touring
Back to Home page