Anderson Hill to Humpback Reservoir
The southern trailhead of the Vancouver Island Trail (VIT) lies within the Garry Oak woodlands and meadows of Anderson Hill Park in Oak Bay.
The VIT initially follows close along the shoreline of Juan de Fuca Straight on urban roads and trails to Clover Point, the western terminus of the Trans-Canada Trail which the VIT now follows all the way to Lake Cowichan. From Clover Point the route continues close by the shoreline past the Ogden Point Harbour facilities and around Victoria’s Inner Harbour past the B.C. Parliament Buildings to the Johnson Street bridge.
From Johnson Street bridge, the route is along the Galloping Goose Trail (Goose) to Langford by way of a paved, urban-style trail mostly within green-strips, well-suited to walkers, hikers, and cyclists. (An alternative is to take a section of the new E & N Rail Trail past the Songhees Wellness Centre). From the bridge, the Galloping Goose goes along the Selkirk Waters, across the Selkirk pedestrian/bike bridge, north to the Switch Bridge at Douglas and the Trans Canada Highway. Past the Switch Bridge, the route bears west and threads through mostly residential areas of Victoria, Saanich, View Royal, Colwood and Langford.
Vancouver Island Trail diverges from the Galloping Goose at Veterans Memorial Parkway and then follows a combination of urban trails and roads to the Westshore Parkway. The next section of the route starts by following busy urban streets.
After crossing over the Veterans Memorial Parkway, continue westwards along Kelly Road using either the paved sidewalk or bike lane, to the intersection of Kelly Road and Jacklin Road. Turn right (north) on Jacklin Road, using bike lanes if cycling. If walking, it’s best to use the crosswalk across Jacklin at Kelly and walk northwards on the west side up Jacklin to Rex Road. Both Kelly and Jacklin Roads are busy urban thoroughfares, in stark contrast to the previous relatively quiet, mostly well-screened Galloping Goose Trail. From Jacklin Road, turn left onto Rex Road for just a short block where you will see the entrance to Hull’s Trail, a paved trail through a ‘green strip’ between residential and light industrial/warehouse properties; there are even a few small fragments of native Douglas-fir zone vegetation (second-growth forest) on a couple of the residential properties.
Hull’s Trail ends at Glen Lake Road and you will follow Glen Lake Road for almost 200 metres to where you enter a paved trail through the grounds of Belmont Secondary School. The trail is first situated between the school buildings and the soccer fields that are at a lower level, before climbing a small hill with a remnant of forest on the left.
About 500 metres past the school, the trail switchbacks down to the Westshore Parkway. Go left at the Parkway, using either the wide sidewalk or the bike lanes and follow it for 250 meters to a marked crosswalk over the Parkway.
To this point, the route has been on formal trails and urban roads, without any steep grades or water crossings. There are numerous coffee shops nearby but no picnic tables, nor is there any camping allowed.
After crossing Westshore Parkway, jog a short distance to the left and then go sharp right onto another paved trail section through a green-space with new housing just upslope to your right. The trail environs now become decidedly more natural as it passes through a linear park and pleasant forest that surrounds two small water reservoirs, terminating at Raven’s View Road. Go right on Raven’s View just a short distance uphill to Irwin Road. Turn left onto Irwin Road (only light traffic) and follow it to Humpback Road. Jog left for a short distance on Humpback Road, and you will see the parking area for Mount Wells Regional Park, with signage for both Mt. Wells Park and Trail and the Humpback Trailhead kiosk of the Sooke Hills Wilderness Trail.