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SOOKE WILDERNESS TRAIL just opened..

… AND WE GOT IT TESTED FROM BOTH SIDES ALREADY!

 

Ian, our social media and website guy, started from the Cowichan side, and Lee, one of our sales staff, from Victoria.

 
 


 

JOIN LEE & LUKE’S RIDE FIRST:

 

 
I waited (im)patiently for the opening of The Sooke Wilderness Trail, a trail that runs from the Humpback Reservoir to Goldstream Heights. This week it opened and the wait was over. I proposed the idea to my friend Luke who said that sounds like a fun ride. – let’s do it!
 
Monday morning we met downtown, crossed the blue bridge and joined on with the E&N Trail and rode till we connected with the Galloping Goose Trail to Langford. We then proceeded around Langford Lake and up Humpback road to the entrance of the Sooke Wilderness Trail.
 
  
 
We started our journey riding on a freshly graded gravel trail that snaked its way uphill until we reached a new suspension bridge. After we crossed we were greeted by a long hill with a steep grade. Probably around 20 degrees. I had to dismount a few times on this 1.5km climb. The trail then started to weave it’s way down a valley and then entering the new Goldstream Heights community. We stopped there to eat some wild strawberries and a snack and then proceeded back to town. Descending the steep road, across the bridge and back to Humpback reservoir.
 

 
The ride was fun, Luke saw a few snakes for the first time in B.C., I had a Turkey Vulture fly over my head, the views were incredible, the trail was amazing even with the dismounts and I would highly recommend checking this trail out on foot or with a bicycle.
 
More info on the trail and trail maps can be found on the CRD website.
 
We would love to thank everyone who made this trail possible.
Lee & Luke
—–
 
Lee is one of our awesome sales peeps and he loves the outdoors. In his free time you’ll find him exploring Vancouver Island either with rock climbing gear, his camera AND/OR riding one of his bikes. He tackled the Sooke Wilderness Trail on his cyclocross bike. Luke, a regular customer who became a friend, is originally from Ontario and trooped along on his single-speed mountain bike.
 
 


 

 Ian’s Cowichan Side of Things (Cowichan Valley Trail Connector)

 

TC Trail 6
Those who follow me on Strava and Instagram are accustomed to my signature image of the Kinsol Trestle. Prior to the trestle opening up, I spent the majority of my gravel riding south along the TC Trail from Renfrew Road.
TC Trail 1
I decided to explore the new section of the Cowichan Valley Trail or Malahat Connector.  Since I reside at the north end of Shawnigan Lake, I opted to ride from the TC Trail and Renfrew Road, an older section which is mainly rail grade with a mix of hard pack and loose gravel.  The new section of the trail begins at Sooke Lake Road on the Shawnigan Forest Service Road, about 10kms from where I started.
TC Trail 5
Once you locate the trail you’ll descend for a few minutes and then begin the climb. I’m not going to say this is an easy climb. The grades vary from 2% up to 18% with a few switchbacks.  When I started the 5km ascent my Garmin indicated I was at 150m and once at the top, just under 400m. There are a few punchy challenging sections so don’t feel bad if you have to dismount.  To ride the entire 5km without stopping you’ll have to be in good shape.
TC Trail 2
Don’t be too upset by some of the recently logged sections along the way.  The majority of the trail travels through old growth and portions that have undergone the reforestation process.
TC Trail 4

The trail surface is composed of crushed (very crushed, almost fine) compacted gravel and is not road bike friendly. In other words: you might want to use a mountain or cyclocross bike. If you want to attempt the climb with a road bike make sure you are using 25mm+ tires.  Also, bring plenty of water, there isn’t any potable water sources along the route. There are a few surface streams that could be used for treatment if you really need a drink.

 

Keep in mind that the trail passes by the controversial contaminated soil landfill site on Stebbings road.

 

TC Trail 3

 

When you reach the Stebbings Road crossing (km 3) the trail isn’t clearly marked yet but you will eventually find it once on the asphalt surface. The remaining 2kms of climbing will take you to a couple Malahat-worthy viewpoints and the connection to the Sooke Hills Wilderness Trail.

 

Things I saw on my adventure:

  • Bear: he was running away from my awesome looking Norco Threshold, probably the same one that was in my yard a couple of weeks ago
  • Deer: much like Oak Bay, they were everywhere
  • Snakes: the non poisonous variety
  • Rabbits: mostly along the older portion of the trail
  • Gandalf’s other brother: I was startled by a man carrying Gandalf’s original staff on a Quest of Erebor or something like that.

 

Don’t hesitate in contacting me if you have any questions about the Cowichan portion of the trail.

 

Ian

 

email: [email protected]
instagram: @cowvalleybiker
strava: https://www.strava.com/athletes/2987129
For an up-to-date map of the Cowichan Valley Trail please click here.