City Escape: Victoria, British Columbia

Text: Robert Smith • Photography: Robert Smith

Ride west from historic Victoria via Vancouver Island’s rugged coastline to Port Renfrew, then cross the island through remote villages and ancient forests as well as along rushing rivers back to the Trans Canada Highway by Lake Cowichan. Admire the totem poles in Duncan, and ride the spectacular Malahat Highway. Go from April to October.

Length

Approximately 175 miles

Meet-up spot

The Trans Canada Highway, Mile Zero marker, Douglas St and Dallas Rd in Victoria.

Lunch stop

Coastal Kitchen Café, 17245 Parkinson Rd, Port Renfrew. Biker-friendly and famous for its fish & chips, (250) 647-5545.

Scenery (4 out of 5)

Pristine lakes, old-growth forests, snow-capped mountains, ocean beaches, fishing villages, and the occasional bear.

Traffic (4 out of 5)

Mostly light, especially on Pacific Marine Road between Port Renfrew and Lake Cowichan, though the Malahat Highway can get busy south of Duncan.

Difficulty (4 out of 5)

Easy from Victoria to Port Renfrew. Pacific Marine is narrow and rough in places. Watch out for wildlife—and distracted drivers on the Malahat Highway.

Road conditions (4 out of 5)

Good overall with many entertaining sections on 14 west of Sooke. Pavement has only recently been completed on Pacific Marine—now a fun riding road.

Attractions

  1. Sooke 
Fuel up here for the tour. Last gas before Lake Cowichan.
  2. Jordan River 
Remote coastal community with endless ocean vistas.
  3. Port Renfrew 
Charming fishing village 
and setting off point for the West Coast Trail.
  4. Honeymoon Bay 
Romantic setting on the 
waterfront at Lake Cowichan.
  5. Duncan 
Home of the world’s largest hockey stick and 80 totem poles.
  6. Goldstream Provincial Park 
Some of the tallest trees in Canada, right by the highway.
  7. Victoria 
The most British city in North America. Stop for tea at the 1908 Empress Hotel.

 

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