Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Training Run : Galloping Goose and Lockside Trails, Victoria, BC

On a recent week-long family trip to Victoria, BC I had the good luck to get permission from my wife to have some 'me' time to explore downtown by foot. I used this opportunity to explore two local trail gems called 'Galloping Goose' and 'Lockside'.

Specifically, I ran a 20 mile out and back from the Hotel Grand Pacific in downtown up Galloping Goose to Lockside then out north all the way to the Red Barn Market near Cordova Bay.  The trail is mixed road, trail and some single track with water stops and a couple bathrooms.  If you are a cyclist there are tire pump stations as well.  Lockside is a particular treat because the route is largely shaded by tree canopy.

The start of Galloping Goose is actually at the intersection of Harbour and Esquimlat Roads just outside the Johnson St bridge (purple).   To get to the start from Belleville St, simply follow Wharf to Johnson St (red). I doubt you'll get lost since you can see the bridge most of the way.  A couple important notes.  Once you leave downtown it will become harder and harder to find bathrooms so take care of business before you start out.  The last bathroom/cafe is Caffe Fantastico on the left side of Harbour St just before you cross the street to continue on the trail.

You will continue on Galloping Goose trail along the harbour for roughly 5 miles then come to The Switch where Galloping Goose veers right and Lockside left.  Here is the overall map of what's technically called Galloping Goose 'East'.

Once you are past the switch you leave busy downtown behind for the more rural roads and farms along Lockside.

You'll go from city to country roads like below.

 Then to more narrow county paths.


Eventually treating you with cedar, Tom oaks and fern covered deer trails.


There are several surprises along the way; including:
  • A bronze statue honoring the early settlers of the Blenkinsop Valley.  The entire trail in this area is on a raised wooden platform.
  • Various kiosks treating passersby to free (or a small donation) flowers and vegetables.
  • Recycled material art
  • Beautiful views of the bay once you reach Cordova Bay

I picked the end of my run to be the Red Barn Market since it was almost exactly 10 miles from my hotel, had many organic foods/drinks to pick from.  I particularly liked once of their local ginger beers (non alcoholic) by Philips made with real cane sugar and ginger.  Very good.  And, of course their made to order sandwiches were excellent. 

I had to wait until I got to my brother 'n laws house to enjoy some of the local beers because a) you can only buy beer at particular liquor stores, b) I had no idea what was good.  Both beers below were excellent.

We had a fantastic week in Victoria eating too much, spend the day sailing on a 25 foot sail boat out from Sidney and explored many of the nearby islands, and other touristy areas like Butchard's Garden.  You can see and feel the effort city architects put into 'urban planning' to bring housing and jobs together whilst keeping the rural nature of the island.  Locally grown foods are widely available in the many markets and restaurants.  And, of course, trail running in the summer is just great fun.

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