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 Home > Discover BC > Recreation > Trails > Lochside Regional Trail

Lochside Regional Trail
The Lochside Regional Trail is located in the Capital Regional District (CRD) on Vancouver Island. The 29 km (18 miles) long, multi-use trail starts past the 5 km mark of the Galloping Goose Trail just over the north side of the Switch Bridge near the Uptown development in Saanich.

Canadian National Railway
The Lochside Regional Trail uses a combination of gravel and pavement over an old rail bed, once the property of Canadian National Railways dating back to 1917. The Lochside Spur originally linked Victoria with Bazan Bay, with an additional spur linking Patricia Bay located on the east side of Saanich Inlet facing the Malahat. Today the Lochside Trail goes through Saanich, Central Saanich, North Saanich and the Town of Sidney, eventually to the BC Ferries Terminal at Swartz Bay.

Flat Route
You can walk, cycle, roller blade, skateboard or even horseback ride certain sections of the old rail right-of-way. The route is generally flat all the way and is made up of a combination of travelling through both residential areas on Lochside Drive and agricultural lands on gravel sections. The Lochside Regional Trail goes past Swan and Blenkinsop Lakes and, at times, visitors can enjoy several ocean viewpoints towards the Gulf Islands from Bazan and Cordova Bays.

Switch Bridge
The trail starts at the old railway wye on the Galloping Goose Regional Trail, then takes an easterly direction under overpasses for Blanshard Street and Vernon Avenue. From here it travels next to the Saanich Municipal Buildings and to Swan Lake. This section of the trail offers beautiful views of Swan Lake and the nearby Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary.

Quadra Street
Once at the 5 km marker of the trail, it then crosses over Saanich Road to the Swan Trestle which goes over a large wetland on the way to Quadra Street. After Quadra Street, the trail uses access through the Borden Mercantile property behind the Saanich Centre coming out on McKenzie Avenue.

McKenzie Avenue
The trail then crosses McKenzie Avenue to Borden Street, then east on Cedar Hill Cross Road to Lochside Drive. The trail now follows Lochside Drive past Don Mann Excavating and junctions to either the Blenkinsop Greenway cycling trail to the east by going through farmers' fields or the Lochside Trail rail right-of-way to the north.

Blenkinsop Trestle
One of the highlights of the Lochside Regional Trail has to be the Blenkinsop Trestle just north of the Blenkinsop Greenway junction. The trestle uses pilings from the original rail bridge and allows the trail to span over Blenkinsop Lake. A good spot to stop on the trestle is by 'Roy,' a bronze statue, dedicated to the farmers of the Blenkinsop Valley and enjoy the view of the lake with Mount Douglas in the background.

Birdwatching
After Blenkinsop Trestle the trail, heading north, goes through a section of wetlands and farm areas well noted for birdwatching potential. A large number of species of birds can be found here, including sightings of raptors catching prey and the rare sighting of owls during the early day resting period. If you are interested in hiking, you can break off Lochside Trail at Lohbrunner Road East and cross Blenkinsop Road for the walk up and through Mount Douglas Park.

Royal Oak Drive
The Lochside Regional Trail, after Lohbrunner Road East, travels next to the agricultural land through groves of trees, which during the summer time, form tunnels of shady tree boughs over the route for the next few kilometres. Eventually the trail hits pavement on Lochside Drive and crosses Royal Oak Drive entering the Broadmead neighbourhood.

Broadmead and Cordova Bay
For the next 3-4 km (2-3 miles), the trail follows Lochside Drive, past McMinn Park through the residential area of Broadmead and then the Cordova Bay neighbourhood. Both areas are well known for their beautiful designer style and custom homes, many of them affording wonderful easterly vistas of the ocean off Cordova Bay with San Juan Island in the background.

Mattick's Farm
Through Cordova Bay, the trail continues on Lochside Drive, then crosses Cordova Bay Road at Mattick's Farm. Here you can find a washroom, coffee and some fresh fruit to snack on. Once past Mattick's Farm, the trail goes past Lochside Park and then changes to gravel, eventually coming into a more rural setting with equestrian centres and hobby farms found around the area.

Central Saanich
The trail leaves Saanich and enters Central Saanich at Dooley Road and continues to go through larger fields with more agricultural presence with more farm equipment and livestock present. Once past Martindale Road, you'll go by Michell Airpark, the site of a model airplane field organized by the VRCMS and home to the 'World's Largest Little Airshow' held in August.

  • VRCMS - Victoria R/C Modelers Society

Heritage Acres
The Lochside Regional Trail then crosses Island View Road at Michell's Farm Market and you then come to the Saanich Historical Artifacts Society Heritage Acres property. From here the trail goes in between Hwy 17 and then, at the 20 km marker, the traditional land of the Tsawout Band Saanich First Nations, where there are a number of billboard advertising signs.

Bazan Bay
Once at Mt. Newton Cross Road, you can find Esso and Shell Service stations, the Waddling Dog Pub and, if you are hungry or require refreshments or a washroom, a McDonalds Restaurant. The trail then follows pavement along Lochside Drive through residential neighbourhoods of Central Saanich. It then enters North Saanich with views of Bazan Bay and travels next to waterfront at Cy Hampson Park.

Tulista Park
The trail continues to follow Lochside Road past McTavish Road, then along the waterfront to Tulista Park in Sidney. At Tulista Park, you can find some public washrooms and areas for resting and enjoying the view of Sidney Island Marine Park and, depending on schedule times, the ferry MV Chelan at the Washington State Ferry Terminal.

Beacon Avenue
After Tulista Park, the Lochside Regional Trail goes along Fifth Street to Ocean Avenue then back towards the ocean, past the ferry terminal, then along First Street to Beacon Avenue in Sidney. On Beacon you can find a number of cafés, coffee shops and pubs including a Starbucks, the restaurant at the Alpine Marine Adventure Centre and, a favourite, the Beacon Landing Pub.

Swartz Bay
From Sidney the route follows pavement west on Beacon Avenue to Fifth Street, north to Malaview Avenue, west to Resthaven Drive, and then along McDonald Park Road into North Saanich to the Pat Bay Highway, then go right on the highway or the adjacent bike path along Swartz Bay Road to the BC Ferries' facility, both having views of the various Tsehum (Shoal) Harbour marinas along the way.

Cycling the Trail

  • Share the trail with other users and notify people when passing;
  • When passing use caution, especially around horses and dogs;
  • Respect the neighbours, the trail goes through both residential subdivisions and farms;
  • Farm equipment is often present, so please yield;
  • Make sure you are in complete control, especially speeding, going through intersections, also please yield to horseback riders and pedestrians;
  • Use reflective devices and lights during poor light conditions and watch out for deer at dusk and dawn.

Information on Lochside Trail

Switch Bridge
Switch Bridge

 

Swan Lake
Swan Lake

 

Start of Lochside Regional Trail at Wye
Start of Lochside Regional Trail at Wye

 

Swan Trestle
Swan Trestle

 

'Roy' and Mount Douglas
'Roy' and Mount Douglas

 

Blenkinsop Lake
Blenkinsop Lake

 

Lochside Drive in Broadmead
Lochside Drive in Broadmead

 

Cordova Bay
Cordova Bay

 

Lochside Trail in Central Saanich
Lochside Trail in Central Saanich

 

Through Tsawout First Nations
Through Tsawout First Nations

 

MV Chelan from Tulista Park
MV Chelan from Tulista Park

 

Beacon Avenue in Sidney
Beacon Avenue in Sidney

 

Bazan Bay
Bazan Bay

 

Lochside Drive in North Saanich
Lochside Drive in North Saanich

 
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