Frequently Asked Questions
About the hikes....
1. Can I run the route?
Good question. Can you?
Trail running is popular and yes, the trails are great for cross-country running. Check the daily distances, the overview map. We can tell you more about the terrain to help you decide.
2. Do I have to be extremely fit to hike the Salish Shores Discovery Trail?
You should be able to walk 15 km/10 miles a day, for several days in a row. If you're not sure, we suggest walking 8-10 km with some elevation changes, for 2 or 3 days in a row. If you wake up the next morning with a smile on your face, you're good to go! Remember that your inn-to-inn hiking tour allows for slow walking with many stops, as you have all day! You'll be surprised what a difference that makes.
3. Do I need to worry about bears and cougars?
We packed lots of info into a blog post on this topic.
The short version: you will be in Black bear country, but not Grizzly country. Keep in mind that all of North America is Black bear country. And yes, the area has a healthy cougar population. However, we are not aware of any worrisome human-bear or cougar encounters in this area in as long as we remember. Your pre-trip orientation includes wildlife awareness, as much for the protection of the wildlife as for your own safety. Please don't believe sensationalist media articles without questioning. Read our blog post and follow the links at the bottom for additional reading.
4. How challenging is the terrain?
The trails and topography vary widely. Most trails on Vancouver Island are partially rocky and hilly, though there are many smooth sections that offer reprieve from the tougher sections. You won't be climbing or crossing dangerous, slippery beaches. Read more about the geography of the region and what to expect on a hike.
Overall, hiking on the Saanich Peninsula (Segments 1-3) is more challenging than the West Coast segments of the route (Segments 4-6). We can make suggestions for the best route for you, based on what you tell us. Please include some info on what you like, your previous hiking experiences and any physical challenges in your inquiry.
5. How do I get to the trailhead?
On some days, you will walk right from your accommodations, on other days, we take you to the trailhead in the morning. We also offer our customers a courtesy shuttle to the start of their tour and again, from the end point.
6. How far do I have to hike each day?
Expect to walk 15 km a day, plus/minus a kilometre or two. (That's 10 miles, more or less). If you complete each section from beginning to end, you will walk 17-20 km on some days. We can offer you a ride part-way in the morning to ensure you have lots of time for detours that interest you, or for visits to gardens and historic sites along the route.
More at this link.
7. Is this the same route as the Galloping Goose Regional Trail?
The Salish Shores Discovery Trail is a separate route, designed for hiking through scenic areas, including beaches and some rugged terrain. You will walk on “the Goose”, or on trails parallel to the Goose, in a few locations.
The 85 km Galloping Goose and Lochside Regional Trails, both former railway routes, are superb for cycling from Sidney to Sooke, and are very scenic, too. However, some parts run close to highways and none are on the waterfront or scenic hill tops, making them less interesting for hiking. If you choose to cycle part of your inn-to-inn route, we will provide you with a map that uses the Goose and Lochside Trails, along with other regional cycling trails and safe road segments.
8. What if I can’t do the entire day’s distance?
Read your route description before you start your trek, so you can plan your days. In an emergency, you’re never more than a few kilometres from a road where you can take a bus or call a taxi. But: you will be out of cell phone range often and may have to keep going on rugged trails, even if you get tired.
It’s a self-guided or partially guided tour. You need to be responsible for yourself. Prepare well. Be realistic about your abilities. Talk to us about what to expect. Once you are on your tour, you can ask us about getting a ride part of the way at the beginning of your daily route.
1. Can I cycle the route while my travel companions are walking?
You can. Parts of the route are great for cycling, while in other areas, you would follow a separate cycling route on our fabulous regional commuter trails, sometimes with some road riding. We’ll equip you with the regional cycling map and lots of pointers. You can end at the same locations as your travel companions.
More at this link: Multi-Sport Options.
2. How can we cycle part of the trek?
Most of the distance is great for cycling on a parallel route. You can cycle shorter distances (~10-15 km), equivalent to one hiking Segment, or cycle 2-3 Segments in one day (~20-30 km).
You will stay in the same accommodations as hikers. We provide daily luggage transfer and will get your and your own, or a rented bicycle to the starting point and back from the end point of your tour. And yes, we can arrange bicycle rental.
More on this page: Multi-Sport Options.
Tours and Logistics
1. Can I camp on this trek?
Camping isn’t part of the trips we offer at this time, as there are very few campsites in suitable locations.
If you’re into camping and are coming to this part of the world to camp, check out Tourism Victoria's listing for campsites in the area
2. Do I have to decide in advance if I want to cycle and kayak?
It helps, in that we can arrange for two nights in one or more locations that area ideal for kayaking, to make sure you have time for a rewarding paddle. However, you can hike and kayak on the same day without much advance planning, in 3-4 locations. Energy permitting.
3. Do I need a car?
If you visit to Vancouver Island entails only time in Victoria and a Trek & Treats hike, you don't need a car.
Tips on getting to Vancouver Island are posted here.
Some hikers have taken a car along, as they traveled with children or had other plans along the way. We are able to accommodate that with advance notice. Please ask us about the options.
4. Do you offer guided hikes?
We partner with Freewheeling Adventures to offer week-long, fully guided hikes several times a year. Please visit Freehweeling's website for details.
5. Is the map for the Salish Shores Discovery Trail available to locals?
It isn’t yet, as we’ve designed the route with travelers in mind and integrated overnight options into the route. However, we’re open to suggestions and are working on a version that can be used without booking a tour.
6. Is this like the West Coast trail?
Nope. It’s a lot less muddy and it has pubs. But don’t let that fool you.
The Salish Shores Discovery Trail is located on the West Coast, but the experience is quite different from the West Coast Trail, which is a 5-day wilderness trail with almost no amenities and no vehicle access along the trail.
On our hikes, you will walk longer distances but on much easier terrain. You will be walking through wilderness parks as well as communities, often remote but still within reach of civilization. You won’t carry your multi-day pack, as we transport it for you. You will eat fresh food and sleep in beds.
9. What will the weather be like?
It'll be great.
Sometimes it rains.
For more details, check this page for year-round temperatures and tips on how to prepare.
10. What's included?
In short, our tours include pick up / drop of at the beginning and end of a tour; nightly accommodation, breakfasts (unless otherwise shown), daily luggage transport, maps and route descriptions, and shuttle to or from trailhead, where needed.
Please see this page for more details.
11. Where do I leave my car during the tour?
If you are traveling by car and staying in Victoria or Sidney before your trek, ask your hotel for advise.
If staying at Accent Inns before or after your hiking tour, you can leave your car during your tour. Please enquire with the motel directly or book through us.
12. Where will I be staying?
Our accommodation partners include Bed and Breakfasts, lodges, inns and one university residence with private rooms and ensuite bathrooms. We initially inspected the premises and met the hosts before including them, and have since been collecting feedback from our hikers for three years. Everyone has agreed that the lodging along the route exceeded their expectations.
We will ascertain availability before requesting a deposit from you, so you will know exactly where you will be staying. People's expectations can vary: please peruse the accommodations and let us know if you have a preference along the way.