Total tour distance: 190 miles
Daily tour distance: 23 miles
Difficulty: 60 / 100
This tour combines our Southern Gulf Islands tour with the remote and rugged wilderness of southwest Vancouver Island. This adventure allows participants to experience everything that makes Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands one of the most popular destinations for outdoor enthusiasts. Departing from Victoria and utilizing our regional trails, quite country roads and sections of the Trans Canada Trail, this tour completes a full circle of the Gulf Islands and Southern Vancouver
Day One: (approx dist: 40 kms/ 25 miles) From downtown Victoria, we will ride our regional trail system past bird sanctuaries and active farmlands to the Saanich Peninsula. Along the way we’ll stop at a local winery and cidery for a tour and tasting. Lunch today will be at a local eatery. After lunch we will make our way north to Swartz Bay where will board a BC Ferry to Mayne Island. Mayne, once a Caribou gold-rush stopover (halfway between Vancouver Island and Vancouver’s Fraser River ports) has a colourful history dating back long before early Spanish and British explorers arrived there. When we arrive we have a very short ride to our accommodations for the evening and a delicious dinner.
Day Two: (approx dist: 35kms/ 22 miles) After breakfast, we will set out to explore Mayne Island. Our first stop of the day is at the historic Lighthouse Park at Georgina Point with spectacular views of Active Pass and the Strait of Georgia. We’ll then set out for the Japanese Gardens and after a short stroll through the Gardens we’ll board another ferry for a quick 20-minute crossing to the Pender Islands.
Pender Island was just one island but in 1902 a channel was dredged to create a safe passage for steamships, creating the now two islands. It wasn’t until 1955 that a one-lane bridge rejoined the islands; a delay that may account for the noticeable differences between the two islands today. The day’s end brings us to one of the most beautiful harbours in all of BC, Bedwell Harbour and the Poet’s Cove Resort and Spa. We’ll check in, get refreshed and ready for another great dinner and spectacular sunset.
Day Three: (approx. dist: 15 – 30 kms/ 10 – 19 miles) We start the day with a ferry transfer to Salt Spring Island, the largest and most populated of the Southern Gulf Islands. Arriving in Long Harbour we’ll ride a scenic loop of the north end of the Island, around St Mary Lake, to the main township of Ganges. Here will have lunch and check into our warm and comfortable accommodations for the night. This afternoon offers you a choice of another great ride around the southern part of the Island; or a tour of some of the local galleries; or shopping the quaint shops in Ganges. Dinner is at a popular local restaurant.
Day Four: (approx. dist: 35 kms/ 22 miles) After breakfast we’ll ride north to Vesuvius and take a short ferry ride to Crofton on Vancouver Island. From here we’ll ride south to the quaint seaside village of Maple Bay. Surrounded by smooth, pebbled beaches, Maple Bay is one of the finest natural harbours on the West Coast and one of Jacques Cousteau favourite diving spots. We will stop here for lunch and then continue on to our final destination and accommodations for the night in Cowichan Bay. Tonight’s dinner will be at a local seafood restaurant.
Day Five: (Approx dist: 35 kms/ 22miles) After a nice light breakfast we depart for the Kinsol Trestle where we’ll start our ride for the day on the Trans Canada Trail. This is one of the highlights as we are ride through pristine wilderness and over century old trestles where photograph and wildlife viewing opportunities abound.
By midday we find ourselves at the Cowichan River Provincial Park where will stop for a picnic lunch. After lunch we’ll continue on to our final destination of the day; Cowichan Lake. Dinner tonight is at a local cafe.
Day Six: (approx: 33 kms/21miles) After breakfast it’s on to our next destination; Port Renfrew on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. This little coastal fishing community is the gateway to the famous West Coast Trail and Pacific Rim National Park.
From Cowichan Lake we ride a deactivated logging road with many river crossings and some amazing areas of old growth forest including a stop at the not so famous Harris Creek Sitka Spruce. This tree must be seen to be believed, it’s as big as a house, maybe two. We continue on to Lizard Lake for our lunch and perhaps a swim along the shores of this pristine wilderness lake. After lunch it’s on to Port Renfrew and our accommodation for the night. Tonight we’ll have dinner at a local pub.
Day Seven: (approx: 30-50 kms/20-30 miles) Today we will start the day with a visit to the amazing tidal pools and rugged rocky out croppings of famous Botanical Beach, this is the West Coast at its most spectacular.
After our interpretive walk we’ll start our ride down the West Coast Road to Sooke, again combining driving the more difficult sections and riding the best, of course. Today’s ride takes us along some beautiful coastline including French and China Beach and the surfing hot-spot of Jordan River. Our lunch today will be a picnic lunch on the beach. We will end our ride at our accommodations for the night in the Town of Sooke
Day Eight: (approx: 50 kms/30 miles) After breakfast today we head up to the Sooke River and the potholes.
This is a beautiful watershed with huge trees and deep pools of crystal clear water. After exploring the area we depart on the Galloping Goose trail towards Victoria. This old railway right of way leads us through old growth forest, along the shores of the Sooke basin and on through uninterrupted park and pasture land right to the doors of our office in downtown Victoria.