Victoria & south Island
Local Bike Maps & Off-Highway Paved Route Options
This page flags some alternate off-highway routes and maps that cycle tourists may want to consider when touring Victoria and the south of Vancouver Island. I expect this page to grow some over time, as readers suggest new alternatives or share more cycling route maps. Note that these alternate route pages ARE NOT intended to be backroads rides, so should be accessible to all cycle tourists, though there may be some hardpack trails and stretches that are not paved.
Here's the sections you'll find below, with links should you want to jump straight into a section:
I found this fabulous map on the Bicycle Maps resource page of the well known Greater Nanaimo Cycling Coalition webpage. You can click on the section title above, or smaller map below to get to their actual map, which you can zoom into to check out the map details properly.
This Victoria to Nanaimo is actually a route tackled by many cycle tourists, and thus one the website had been missing. It's also a route through some of the busiest traffic on Vancouver Island, so getting off the big highway will be something some cyclists should appreciate. I've also linked this map off the Duncan and Nanaimo area pages.
If you follow the link then zoom in to the map, you'll see that their default route in purple is largely off-highway wherever possible. You'll also see some blue/green alternate routes.
Thanks to Rotary, and all who put this very useful resource together.
Trans Canada Trail - South Vancouver Island
South Island Ferry Connections
See the 2 thumbnail links below.
The Sooke Hills Wilderness Trail links to the blog page where you can find a report several great new segments of the Trans Canada Trail that stretch south from the Cowichan Valley Trail (which we talk about in the alternate routes of the Duncan area page), alongside Shawnigan Lake, and all the way south to near Goldstream Provincial Park.
The South Island Ferry Connections page provides info on Lochside Regional Trail from Victoria north up the Saanich Peninsula to Swartz Bay ferry terminal. There's also info oin the Mill Bay to Brentwood Bay ferry route, which can help cycle tourists avoid the urban press of traffic as the highway nears Victoria.
Check out these pages for more info on alternate off-highway routes
Capital Regional District (Victoria) Cycling Network & Maps
The Capital Regional District has a strong history & reputation for supporting cycling trails and routes. The map below, is map one of 4 CRD maps which is found in their menu under the 'Find a Bike Map' page. To jump to the PDF maps from this page, just click on the Bike Map (pdf) linnk to the right of the page, or just click on the map below here.
The 4 PDF maps are kind of scrunched together, but that allows them to print out together. You can zoom in pretty clearly to the online versions, and you'll see lots of routes and connections.
And you can check out the stand-alone webpage for the famous Galloping Goose Regional Trail, part of the CRD network. Here's a paragraph that caught my attention:
The Galloping Goose was originally a freight railway line built during the First World War. It is part of The Great Trail, a national multi-use trail system linking trails from coast to coast to coast. “The Goose” intersects with the Lochside Regional Trail, a 29 kilometre former railway line from Saanich to Sidney. It also intersects with the E&N Rail Trail – Humpback Connector, a new 17km cycling and pedestrian trail being constructed largely within the E&N rail corridor that will link Victoria and the Western communities when complete.
I can see I'm going to have to head back down south again to ride this new E & N Rail trail - fabulous!
Took this pic from the Mill Bay pier while waiting for my ferry. Looking north. Check out the fellow passenger chilling out. The road down to the terminal from the highway to the north follows the seaside much of the way.