Lochside Trail – North Saanich

This is a walking, biking and riding trail that often parallels the roads of North Saanich, Sidney, Central Saanich, Saanich and Victoria. Starting from the Swartz Bay BC Ferry Terminal, it is about thirty-three kilometers to Victoria. This journey takes an average cyclist about 2 hours to reach Victoria. At the junction with Douglas Street, the Lochside Trail changes its name to the Galloping Goose Trail which continues through Saanich, Esquimalt, View Royal, Colwood, Langford, Metchosin and onto Sooke. The entire route is over fifty-five kilometers one way and provides an excellent way to see these communities.

Geographic coordinates  N48° 40’ 60” W123° 24’ 43” near Lands End and Dolphin roads.

The three kilometer section from the ferry, within North Saanich, to Sidney is picturesque.  The Lochside Trail starts just after passing under the Lands End Road overpass. This over pass is close to the ferry terminal. Cyclists exit to the right before the merge lane from Lands End Road and take the trail on the meridian. There is an information map to review before going up the trail to the bridge. This allows cyclists to safely avoiding the traffic on Pat Bay Highway (#17). The bridge leads to the traffic lights forming the junction of Lands End Road with Kitti Wake Place and Dolphin Road. When returning to the ferry, follow the signs along Dolphin Road to reach the cyclist entrance. To head to Sidney continue along Lands End Road to Kitti Wake Place then turn right. Once on Curteis Road, stay right to ease onto Swartz Bay Road. This road terminates to become the Lochside Trail.

As you travel along the paved trail you’ll see and smell the muddy tidal flats of Tsehum Harbour Lagoon. This mud estuary is a protected area and is excellent to see a variety of wildlife including Great blue herons, diving and bottom feeding birds, otters and the occasional seal. The boat marinas provide some marvelous photo opportunities. This section parallels the Pat Bay Highway to the overpass of Wain Road and McDonald Park Road. There is an information display board near the corner, which is part for the Tsehum Harbour Lagoon Park.

Lochside Trail continues along McDonald Park Road. This relatively quiet road passes McDonald Park and campground, Nymph Point Park, Blue Heron Park, Parkland Secondary School Green Space and Lillian Hoffar Park. There are glimpses of water and yachts at along the way. At the junction with Resthaven Drive, the trail continues into Sidney paralleling McDonald Park Road to the highway.

Once you pass though the section of the Lochside Trail in Sidney there is another short section that continues through the District of North Saanich. Lochside Drive and Lochside Trail parallel each other for the next three kilometers along the waterfront of Bazan Bay. This bay is part of the Salish Sea with the islands of Sidney and James in the forefront. These green spaces and parks along the Bazan Bay shore at can be used for beach access: Reay Estuary, Driftwood Beach, Bazan Bay Road, Cy Hampson Park, Amity Drive and Wardle Road.

For maps of the Lochside and Galloping Goose Trail, see the CRD brochure.

Canoe Cove Road Trail

A refreshing and easy stroll through a Douglas-fir and cedar forest is along Canoe Cove Road. This narrow road leads to the Canoe Cove Marina with a cafe, chandlery, yacht sales, gallery and other shops. The roadside trail also leads to The Stone House Pub and Restaurant. Its takes about ten minutes from the Swartz Bay ferry terminal, if you leave and reenter from the bicyclist access trail. The cafe has excellent meals that are provided in a beautiful location. Its recommended over ferry food if you have a sailing wait. The gardens at the Stone House are also a great place to find a take a stroll. The property is pet and children friendly and the food is great.

You can get to the roadside trail by traveling north on Pat Bay Highway (#17).  Before you reach ferry terminal follow the signs that lead to Lands End Road.  Continue straight after the traffic light and stay on Dolphin Road. Canoe Cove Road is the first right. There is limited roadside parking.

Swartz Head Government Wharf Green Space

The single dock that forms the Capital Regional District’s public wharf in Swartz Bay is a busy site as it is used by commuters from Piers Island as well as fishermen and kayakers for boat launching.  The shallow waters off this wharf make it a good spot look at the ocean bottom for those curious. It can be difficult to find a quiet time with the on- and off-loading of the local boaters.

From this green space you can watch the passage of the BC Ferries and private boats through Colburne Passage. Pier Island is the larger island to the left whereas Knapp and Pym Islands are the left of Gosse Passage. There is a small area to access the beach.Swartz Bay Government Wharf

Located at geographic position of N48° 41’ 12” W123° 24’ 26”

You can get to the wharf by traveling north on Pat Bay Highway (#17).  Before you reach ferry terminal follow the signs to the right that lead to Lands End Road.  Continue straight after the traffic light and stay on Dolphin Road. As you pass the ferry terminal’s chain link fence, look on the left for the government dock at Barnacle Road. There is large gravel parking lot on the left side of the road.