Stroller Friendly Walks in Langford
When you have a baby, even the most day-to-day activities require more planning and consideration. Outdoor recreation is no exception. While it can feel difficult to plan excursions, getting fresh air is so important. Walking with a stroller is a great way to do this, providing parents with exercise and stress relief while the movement of the stroller, the fresh air, and background noise encourage the little one to get some rest.
Luckily, Langford is teeming with easily accessible, stroller-friendly trails so you can get out for walks in all sorts of environments.
The Galloping Goose
The Galloping Goose has multiple access points in Langford, as it makes its meandering way from downtown Victoria right out to Sooke. Originally a railway, it tends to be as straight and flat as possible, and though not paved, the dirt is well maintained and smooth. You’ll never run out of trail, so you can tailor your walks to be as short or long as you want.
One of the best access points is on Page Ave, beside where Glen Lake Rd meets Sooke Rd. There’s a large parking lot, and when you head east (away from Sooke Rd), you quickly come up along the southern point of Glen Lake. Detour off the trail along the Cy Jenkins Boardwalk to soak up the serenity of the lake and possibly spot the herons, otters, and other resident wildlife.
The E&N Rail Trail
Part of another railway, the E&N Rail Trail, is managed by a not-for-profit group that is slowly developing paved walkways along its length. Currently, the trail is paved from Jacklin road east, all the way through Esquimalt. The section from Jacklin Rd to Savory Elementary School (at Atkins and Selwyn) a straight, quiet, and wonderfully sunny stretch of peace right in the heart of the City. Continue east as the trail starts to wind through a shady forest. In fall, take a moment to stop at the fish ladder to watch the salmon jump up from pool to pool.
There are parking options along the length of this trail segment, including a large parking lot at Station Ave and Jacklin Rd, an access point from the parking lot behind the Goudy library branch, and a small parking lot at Hoffman and Selwyn, where the trail can be reached over a short bridge from Atkins Ave. Further down Atkins, past Mill Hill, there is also a small parking area along the side of the road, directly beside the trail.
Irwin Humpback Connector and the Great Trail
If you are feeling more adventurous, you can get your heart rate up on the paved pedestrian trail that connects Westhills and the Goldstream Meadows neighbourhood. On the north end, the trail starts out flat for three blocks as it runs beside Humpback Rd under a canopy of large Douglas fir trees. Then there’s a steep incline up into the forest and a slow decline to where Humpback Rd meets Irwin Rd. The trail flattens out again as it runs along Irwin into Westhills. The total length is roughly 2km, including the 750m hilly section between the neighbourhoods.
To get more of a workout on your walk, you can detour where Humpback meets Irwin and hop on the packed gravel surface of the Great Trail. It starts along the east shore of Humpback Reservoir and then up, up, up, into the mountains. If you kept going, you would eventually reach Shawnigan Lake. This means you can go as far as you’d like for the day and then enjoy the more relaxing downhill return. You would be hard-pressed to find another stroller-friendly trail that carves its way through such ruggedly beautiful wilderness.
These trails are also easily accessible, with several parking lots to choose from. At the very north end of Humpback Rd, there is a parking lot at Sooke Lake Rd and Golden Gate Rd. On the South end, you may find parking at the Jordie Lunn Bike Park or continue up Irwin Rd to park at the Mount Wells parking lot, right beside where the trail starts its incline into the forest. This is also where you would start on the Great Trail.
Ed Nixon Trail
Running all along the south and west edges of Langford Lake, the Ed Nixon trail is an escape from the city without actually having to leave the city. The tranquil trail is mostly well-maintained dirt, with a few long stretches of boardwalk. With lake, marsh, and forest landscapes, you can’t help but spot some wildlife. At the very least, you are sure to see a wide variety of birds, from ducks on the lake to blackbirds in the bushes.
There are parking lots at both the north and south tips of Langford Lake. On the north, you will find a parking lot at the very end of Goldstream Ave. On the south, there are two options, either on Leigh Pl between Squirrel Ln and Trillium Rd or off Langford Pkwy, just west of Leigh Rd – both are close to Langford Lake Beach Park where you will find a playground, a sandy beach, sunny picnic tables, and a public washroom.
The trail is currently 2.5km long, and the City of Langford is working on making it a full loop. Soon there will be a protected pedestrian trail along Goldstream Avenue, making it a round trip 6km.
Millstream Creek Trail
Millstream Creek Trail follows its namesake through the Thetis Heights neighbourhood from Goldie Ave in the north, down behind Millstream Elementary School, and along Selwyn Rd almost as far south as Whitehorn Pl. While there are a couple of access points along Selwyn, there is only limited street parking, so it’s best to start your walk at the north end. There you’ll find Goldie Park, which has a small playground and some parking.
The 1.7km gravel trail is shaded by tall cedar and Douglas-fir trees, and with the stream always burbling nearby, it’s a perfect escape on a hot summer day.
Willing Park is in the Happy Valley neighbourhood and is named after the pioneering family who moved to this area in the early nineteen hundreds. The park has a 1km gravel walking trail that winds through the alder and cedar second-growth forest and meadowlands. This popular walking loop has lots of parking where it begins and ends on Wild Ridge Way.
I always thought that to be a nice walk it had to be somewhere in nature. Recently, however, I have been increasingly enchanted by the slow adventure of exploring quiet neighbourhood streets. Every block, house, and front yard is unique and constantly changing throughout the seasons. Plants bloom, decorations are put up and taken down, landscaping gets redone. It’s neat to see the collection of older and newer houses, the variety of landscaping choices, and the surprising number of small neighbourhood connector trails.
In the end, the best location for your walk is the place you actually want to go. Whether you are looking for somewhere sunny, shady, quiet, or simply nearby, Langford has a trail for you. And there are more coming. In 2021 alone, Langford is working with partners to add 3km of multi-lane protected trails, plus bike lane and sidewalk additions throughout the city. With so many options nearby, there’s nothing left to do but get out and discover them!