A Short History of the ‘Goose’
Part of the Trans Canada Trail which traverses the country, the Galloping Goose and Peninsula Trails form one of the most picturesque trail systems in Canada.
Dedicated in 1989, the Galloping Goose Trail is named for a gawky and noisy gas rail-car which carried passengers between Victoria and Sooke in the 1920’s.
The first rail tracks were laid on Island soil in 1893, with the opening of the Victoria and Sidney line. That was followed by the Vancouver Island section of the Canadian National Railway dedicated in 1911, and by the B.C. Electric in 1913.
Built upon the abandoned rail beds and trestles of that railway legacy, the Galloping Goose and Peninsula Trails connect our transportation past with our transportation future.
You can travel for nearly 60 kilometers 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.
At almost 60 kilometers long, most people choose to bike this trail in sections. One of the most picturesque sections to me is the stretch from the parking lot at the Sooke Potholes to it’s terminus at Leechtown (a ghost town with little left but some crumbling foundations. See here for the history of Leechtown.)
There is plenty of parking at the parking lot and the trail is close by. As it was initially a rail line, it is fairly flat and easy to bike – a mountain bike or hybrid is best as you are riding on mostly gravel. It’s a short-ish ride at only about 7 – 8 kms. one way. Along the way are some magnificent views of the Sooke River below and the ‘potholes’ for which the park was named. Many people swim, dive & fish here in the summer months.
The most amazing feature on the trail is the wooden trestle over Todd Creek which is hundreds of metres below you. If you like rail trestles, check out our post, Railway Trestles around Victoria , which includes a video and aerial view of many of these trestles.