Once a railway line, the Lochside Regional Trail is now a 29km picturesque multi-use trail. It is accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week meandering by Saanich, Central Saanich, North Saanich, and Victoria. Whether you are taking an easy stroll, cycling, going for a run or horseback riding, there is plenty to see and do along this popular trail. It’s easy to make a day of your walk or hike by bringing along a picnic lunch and stopping by one of the nearby sandy beaches and taking in magnificent ocean views near Sidney.
There are several ways to get Lochside Regional Trail:
- From Swartz Bay – Simply follow the well marked signs to Lochside Regional Trail
- From downtown Victoria – Follow the Galloping Goose Regional Trail from Victoria to Switch Bridge in Saanich. Turn right and follow the Lochside Trail north toward Sidney/Swartz Bay
- BC Ferries – Foot passengers; left at the Landsend Road overpass and take a right onto the trail
- Public Transportation – The #70 BC Transit bus that runs from Victoria to Swartz Bay stops at a number of locations along the Trail
For those who might be unfamiliar with the trail, it’s easy to plan your route with a detailed map of the Lochside Regional Trail. It might also be a good idea to take a printed copy along with you. There are public washrooms (in the form of an outhouse) near the halfway mark between Sidney and Victoria. This is also a good place to stop for your picnic lunch and have a little rest before carrying on. Another popular point worth stopping at is Mattick’s Farm which is just north of Victoria (at the Cordova Bay Golf club. The return trip from Mattick’s Farm to the Cordova Bay Golf Course is about 6 km and is a perfect spot for an ice cream or to relax and rejuvenate with a cup of tea. Why not stop and pick up some fresh fruits and veggies for a refreshing break at the market about halfway between Sidney and Victoria which is at the corner of Island View Road and the Lochside.
While the Lochside Regional Trail is a popular walking or cycling trail there are sections that are commonly used by those commuting to work. It is also used by those looking for an alternate route along the Trans Canada Trail north on Vancouver Island who are traveling to the mainland via the Swartz Bay/Tsawwassen ferry.
The trail is very popular with cyclists of all ages and abilities. Even novice cyclists will enjoy a relaxing ride through the picturesque countryside where one can stop at one of the air and water stations for a rest and to enjoy the scenery. For those planning a cycling day trip a couple of the more popular trips from the Switch Bridge include:
- Lochside Trail past Swan Lake and over the Blenkinsop Trestle to Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park or Cordova Bay beach. This trip is 12 km one way
- For a more adventurous 29 km (one way) trip follow the Lochside Trail through some Saanich Peninsula farmland to Sidney. Make sure to check out Island View Beach Regional Park along the way.
Whether you are taking a short relaxing stroll along the trail, spending the day at one of the beaches, or planning a day long cycling trip, the Lochside Regional Trail is a must for anyone in the Sidney area on southern Vancouver Island.