The Lochside Regional Trail – Sidney is a multi-use trail that is used by cyclists, hikers, runners and dog walkers. The Lochside Regional Trail is a great pathway to use to explore the outdoors and to traverse the Saanich Peninsula on Vancouver Island. The Trail is about thirty kilometers long with about four kilometers that lie within Sidney. The Trail starts near the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal along Dolphin Road in North Saanich and extends to the Galloping Goose Trail that leads into Victoria. It passes through Sidney and continues onto North Saanich, Central Saanich and Saanich. The trail joins the Galloping Goose Trail near the Trans-Canada Highway and the Switch Bridge. Victoria is accessed by continuing southward and the West Shore Communities are further west. This is a well-traveled trail that is used regularly by local residents as well as travelers from throughout the world.
From the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal, the Lochside Trail parallels Dolphin Road then along the Pat Bay Highway (Hwy 17) to MacDonald Park Road. The asphalt trail is roadside along MacDonald Park Road. At this point it passes by the MacDonald Park Campground, managed by the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. After about two and half kilometers in North Saanich the trail crosses into Sidney. The pathway enters Sidney-by-the-Sea at the junction with MacDonald Park Drive and Resthaven Drive. This section through Sidney is paved. This section of the Lochside Trail – Sidney is shaded by weeping willow and ornamental plum trees and the occasional fir tree. Other street trees such as cedar hedges and Lombard poplar are found along this section of the Trail.
This bicycle and pedestrian trail parallels Highway 17 passing across Beacon Avenue, near the Sidney Information Center in Bevan Park. Shortly after the Trail passes near the Winspear Green Space, there is an optional bypass: continue to parallel the highway to Weiler Avenue or turn past the Sidney Public Works yard to reach Eighth Street and Ocean Avenue and pass by Iroquois Park, with its washrooms and other amenities. The route to Weiler Ave is bordered by cedar hedge trees provide a green fence line on the east side the trail while grasses lie the west. The Pat Bay Highway (Hwy 17) is right beside the trail if you stay on this section.
When you take the bypass to reach Eighth Street at Ocean Avenue, the route leads past the sport fields of Iroquois Park. At the traffic circle continue to the right along the bicycle lane that lies parallel with Fifth Street/Lochside Drive. There are a several street trees such as ornamental plum trees in in area. As the bypass trail continues it passes the US Ferry Terminal there is a high chain link fence. There are a few trees along this section of Lochside Drive, in the Sidney Lawn Bowling Green Space as well as in Tulista Park and Lochside Waterfront Park. After this, the Lochside Trail enters again in North Saanich and is described in the Lochside Regional Trail – North Saanich.
All the roads mentioned above will allow access to the Lochside Regional Trail. There is limited parking in some areas and check where you park for time limits. There are many bus options to access the trail from along Fifth Street, Lochside Drive or MacDonald Park Drive.
The map shows an potential starting point near North Saanich Middle School at the junction of Resthaven Road and MacDonald Park Road. There is parking available near the school outside of school hours.
Information on Lochside Regional Trail can be found on the CRD website or through this link: https://www.crd.bc.ca/docs/default-source/parks-pdf/gglochsidebrochure.pdf
Information on the area