Routes, Paths & Directions
This page provides more specific directions for cycle tourists who need to find a decent route from, through or around some of the busier locations of Vancouver, the lower mainland and Vancouver Island, British Columbia. As in any city, try to avoid riding at peak periods, Monday to Friday, as even the "quieter" routes may be congested with commuters travelling to or from their various workplaces.
Not all possible routes are described and some may seem a little convoluted. However, these directions are intended to perhaps be a little safer and quieter than the seemingly more direct routes, which are really better suited for motor vehicles.
The routes described below will generally work in both directions, with some amendments for bridge entrances and exits etc.
many of the following routes are in and around the City of Vancouver. Vancouver has an extensive public transport system run by "Translink." most buses have bike racks for two bikes and there are three major "Skytrain" routes which will carry bikes. The most recently opened (2009) Skytrain route is the "Canada Line" which will carry bikes at all times; it runs between Vancouver Airport and downtown. The other two Skytrain lines (Millennium and Expo) will NOT carry bikes at peak rush-hour periods. Check out the Translink website for more information about bikes on transit and any restrictions. The directions below will seem much clearer if using the Translink cycling maps, therefore I STRONGLY RECOMMEND DOWNLOADING THE PDF MAPS FROM THEIR SITE...
Download Links for the .pdf maps... The larger "Translink Regional Cycling Maps - West" and "Translink Regional Cycling Maps - East" maps have detailed windows of difficult areas including the Vancouver Airport and approaches to many of the bridges in and around the City of Vancouver region.
Portions of maps shown on this page are courtesy of Translink
Here are some relevant links to sites that have information/maps
regarding some of the routes and services below...
- BC Ferries
- Washington State Ferries
- Cycling in Victoria and Vancouver Island
- Galloping Goose & Lochside Trail Information
- Cycling in British Columbia
- BC Transit
- Translink (Vancouver Public Transit)
- BC Rail - (Taken over by Via Rail)
- Via Rail
In addition to the following, there are other options available on quieter streets, but a map is a necessary prerequisite for negotiating many of the cycling routes around the Greater Vancouver area. Click here to access the Translink website for some excellent PDF cycling maps of the Vancouver area.
A sample of the Translink cycling maps...
- Vancouver Airport to Hope via Highway 7
- Vancouver Airport to Hope via lower Fraser Valley
- Vancouver Airport to Peace Arch U.S. Border Crossing
- Vancouver Airport to Tsawwassen (Vancouver Island/Swartz Bay) Ferry Terminal
- Vancouver Airport to Horseshoe Bay (Vancouver Island/Nanaimo & Sunshine Coast/Langdale) Ferry Terminal
- Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal to Horseshoe Bay Terminal
VANCOUVER ISLAND ROUTES...
- Swartz Bay to (Sidney) Anacortes Ferry Terminal
- Swartz Bay to (Victoria) Port Angeles Ferry Terminal
- Swartz Bay to Brentwood Bay/Mill Bay Ferry
- Victoria Airport
To Ride East (to Hope, BC) from Vancouver Airport...
Option 1 - East via Highway 7...
To connect to Highway 7 from Vancouver airport; from the terminal, take Grant McConachie Way east, turn right off Grant McConachie Way when possible, then left and continue east on Miller Road which will take you to Sea Island Way and Sea Island Bridge. After the Sea Island Bridge, continue on Sea Island Way for about .75 Km, then turn left (north) onto Garden City Road. Very shortly after this, turn right onto Van Horne which will lead to the Canada Line Skybridge bicycle lanes.
Routes from Vancouver Airport - YVR
After exiting the bridge, continue north on Cambie St. for a short distance, turn west (left) onto South Kent Ave, north (right) onto Ash St. and then immediately right (east) onto North Kent. Continue on North Kent until Cambie then turn left (north) onto Cambie until 63rd Ave. Turn right (east) onto 63rd until Ontario and then turn right (south) back to South Kent Ave which will be a left (east) turn. Continue east on South Kent until Inverness where a short left turh will get you to North Ave on which you will continue east until Boundary Road. At Boundary Rd. travel north (left) and then next right (east) onto Marine Way. Stay on Marine Way until you come to the Queensborough Bridge. This is where it gets tricky, so check the Map! DON'T take the ramp to the bridge, but continue almost straight through to connect with River Drive and then veer right onto Stewardson Way which will connect with Columbia Street (both of these two roads follow the waterfront in New Westminster where there is a bike path that runs parallel to a section of Stewardson Way. Cycling along the New Westminster waterfront is a combination of bike paths and bike lanes, so check the Map!). Stay on Columbia Street until you reach Cumberlad, then cross over (a slight right hand jog) to carry on north onto North Road. Carry on North Rd until Sherbrooke. Right (east) onto Sherbrooke, left (north) onto Fader, then right onto Major, left onto Rousseau which will take you to the Braid Skytrian Staion, behind which there is a bike path that will take you east to United Boulevard. From which you will turn left (north) onto King Edward and shortly intersect with with Highway 7 which you can take east all the way to Hope.
Bypassing the Queensborough Bridge
Option 2 - East via Richmond - Surrey - Aldergrove - Abbotsford - Highway #1...
NOTE: Bicycles are prohibited to ride on Highway 99 from the Oak Street Bridge, in Vancouver, all the way south to 8th Ave. in Surrey. From 8th Ave., to and from the U.S. border crossing at 0 Ave., it is permissible to cycle on the shoulder of Highway 99. Also, even taking the most direct alternate route, there is one tunnel (George Massey Tunnel) to negotiate on the ride from the airport, which cyclists are not allowed to ride through. There are two options to get through the tunnel though...
Option 2 (a)... Take the Canada Line Skytrain, which will accept bicycles with some restrictions at peak hours, from the airport terminal and alight at Bridgeport Station. From Bridgeport Station, transfer to the #620 bus and then alight at the first bus stop past the George Massey Tunnel exit (or at Ladner Exchange).
Then after the tunnel, continue on by bicycle as outlined below in "Option 2 (b)"...
Cycling route from the airport... From the terminal, take Grant McConachie Way east, turn right off Grant McConachie Way when possible, then left and continue east on Miller Road which will take you to Sea Island Way and Sea Island Bridge (if you get to the Arthur Laing Bridge, you've gone too far along Grant McConachie Way and are heading north). After the Sea Island Bridge, continue on Sea Island Way for about .75 Km, then turn right (south) onto Garden City Road. Continue on for 5.5 Kms then turn left (east) onto Williams Road for just over 2 Kms, then right (south) onto #5 Road for 1.5 Kms, then left (east) onto Rice Mill Road and across Highway 99 to the Visitor's Bureau, where there is a bicycle shuttle service to take you southbound through the tunnel...
Check out: MOT Cycling Restrictions for information on the tunnel and other cycling restrictions in the Vancouver area.
The shuttle will drop you off outside the Town and Country Inn on 62nd B St. From there you need to head north (not for long though!) for a little less than 1 Km, then turn right (east) onto 60th Ave, then right (south) onto 64th St all the way down to 36th Ave. Turn left on 36th Ave. and then right onto 72nd St. down to the bike trail along the shores of Boundary Bay - turn left onto the bike trail (hard-packed gravel). Carry on riding the bike trail until just past 125th A St. where the trail ends at some railroad tracks. Turn left onto Railway Rd., which veers northwest for a very short distance, then turn east (right) onto Colebrook Rd. Colebrook will take you to Turn right onto 99A and ride to 8th Ave. Turn left onto 8th, around the roundabout continue on 8th then turn right on 172nd St., then south to a left turn on 4th Ave., then right on 175th A St, left onto 2nd Ave., right for a short distance onto the Highway 15 shoulder to 1A Ave. Follow 1A east and south on 176th A Ave to 0 Ave. Turn left onto 0 Ave all the way to Townline Road. Turn left on Townline to Huntingdon Road (an extension of 8th Ave.), then right onto Huntingdon.
Huntingdon Road changes its name to Vye Road after crossing Highway 11.
Left onto Cole Road, right onto South Parallel, right onto #3 Road, left onto Inter-Provincial Highway, right onto #2 Road. Follow #2 around a right hand curve then turn left onto Keith Wilson and across the Vedder Canal, left onto Lickman Road, right onto Yale Road West, which changes to Luckakuck Way. Follow Luckakuck Way through the Cottonwood Mall area (good place for a snack!) and beyond. Cross over Chilliwack River Road and take Prairie Central Road east. At the end of Prairie Central, you have to turn left onto Annis Road, which accesses the Trans Canada Highway #1.
To Ride South (to the Peace Arch/Douglas U.S. Border Crossing)
from Vancouver Airport...
Two good options exist for this destination...
Option (a)... Taking Public Transit either the whole way or partially... From the airport terminal, take the Skytrain to Bridgeport Station. From Bridgeport Station, take the #351 or #620 (or any other transit bus that travels south through the Massey Tunnel) bus, which have racks for two bikes, and alight at the first bus stop past the George Massey Tunnel exit. Then after the tunnel, continue on by bicycle as outlined below in "Option (b)"...
OR, stay on the #351 Crescent Beach bus, then alight at the stop of "White Rock Centre", which is located very close to the border. You can then ride your bike to the intersection of 16th Ave. and 160th St.. Ride south on 160th to 8th Ave., then turn east on 8th until the south (right) turn to reach the shoulder of Highway 99 to the border.
NOTE: There is a short unpaved path at the south side of the intersection of 16th Ave. and 160th St. which leads to a pedestrian bridge and then to Beach Road, which will also connect to Highway 99 very close to the border crossing.
Option (b)... Cycling from the airport... Follow the directions as described above in "Option 2 (b)" above, following Colebrook road to reach Highway 99A (King George Highway). Then turn south (right) onto 99A (although busy, this highway has a very good shoulder) to 8th Ave. Once at 8th Ave. continue as described in the paragraph immediately preceding this one.
NOTE: If crossing the USA border is your objective, then once close to the actual border crossing there is no bike lane or sidewalk to reach the actual security control building. Nevertheless, bicycles do not have to wait in line with vehicles and may continue down to the short sidewalk located at the east side of the building. Cyclists must park their bikes there and present their documentation to the personnel inside the building. Getting to the short sidewalk is best accomplished by riding in the usually vacant "NEXUS" lane until reaching a suitable way to cross to the building. For this reason, cyclists may prefer to cross the border at the Pacific Crossing, which can be reached via 8th Ave. then Highway 15 by following the directions described in the text above near the end of "Option 2 (b)".
To ride to Vancouver Island via the Tsawwassen/Swartz
Bay Ferry from Vancouver Airport...
To reach the terminal for the Vancouver Island ferry from Vancouver airport, you will still have to make your way to the George Massey Tunnel as described above in
"Option 2 (a) & 2 (b)."
Then, if you caught the #620 (Tsawwassen Ferry) transit bus (has 2 bike racks) from Bridgeport Station, you could either alight at the first stop past the tunnel exit then ride south on Highway 17 (which has a wide, paved shoulder), to take you directly to the ferry terminal. Or, you could stay on the #620 bus , and then alight at the ferry terminal.
If you decide to ride from the airport, you will have to take the shuttle through the tunnel, then from the Town and Country Inn shuttle drop-off, you just need to ride the overpass over Highway 99 and then continue south on Highway 17 to the Tsawwassen ferry terminal. Highway 17 has a wide paved shoulder.
To Ride to Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal from Vancouver Airport...
Ferries from Horseshoe Bay travel to the Sechelt Peninsula (Sunshine Coast) and also to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. From the Airport you can take Grant McConachie Way, veer north to the Arthur Laing Bridge - there are bike lanes and bike paths which can be accessed in this area of the "Templeton" skytrain station to reach the bridge - once again, check the Map. After crossing the bridge you need to access SW Marine Drive, going west - which is a left turn after the bridge exit. Continue on SW Marine Drive as it veers northwards. Just before 72nd Avenue there is a crosswalk for cyclists to make the awkward left turn that enables the cyclist to continue on SW Marine. (From 72nd Avenue the road that continues north is Granville Street - not a cycling corridor!).
After using the crossing, follow signage for SW Marine/Cypress route, then turn left onto 68th Ave., right onto Adera St., left onto 64th Ave., then right onto East Boulevard which will turn into Angus Drive. This is the beginning of the "Cypress" bikeway which is well signposted and follows Angus Drive and Cypress Street northwards to English Bay. At Cypress and 1st Ave., turn right onto 1st Ave, then left to cross over the Burrard Street bridge on the dedicated bike lane. Once exiting from the bridge, follow the signs for the "Seaside Bike Route," which will loop you under the bridge to access Beach Avenue. The actual Seaside Bike Route follows the shoreline of English Bay through a park and can be ridden instead of riding the streets. From the bike path, you can either take a right at Chilco Street (make a left onto Georgia at the bottom of Chilco to ride to the bridge) or carry on little further along the path and then make a right onto another path that goes past Lost Lagoon and then carries on to reach Stanley Park and access points to cross the Lions Gate Bridge (the Lions Gate Bridge can be also be accessed by cyclists from one of the northerly park exits). Access the shared sidewalk ASAP and then continue on to cross the Lions Gate Bridge - Cyclists may only ride on the bridge shared sidewalk. After the bridge there are two options...
NOTE: Cyclists are allowed to ride on Highway 1/99 from Capilano Road all the way west to Horseshoe Bay. This section of Highway 1/99 is known locally as "The Upper Levels Highway."
After exiting the bridge, follow the bike path signed "West Vancouver." This will loop you under the bridge exit, where after a short distance the bike path ends at Taylor Way. Turn right onto Taylor Way for a short distance to the traffic lights at Marine Way. At the traffic light, either turn left for Marine Way westbound, or continue straight through the light, staying on Taylor Way which will join Highway 1 at Exit 13.
Marine Way westbound does go all the way to Horseshoe Bay, but it is an indirect, narrow route, with quite heavy traffic. However, there is an "escape" at 29th Street and also at 31st Street. Take a right turn at 29th or 31st Street, where a bike route sign directs cyclists up some very steep hills. From either street, turn left when you get to Mathers Avenue, then right onto Thompson Crescent - Ignore the "Bike Route" sign at the intersection with Westmount - Turn right onto Westmount which veers left after a short uphill pedal. At the end of Westmount, turn right to access the overpass leading to the on-ramp (Exit 7) of Highway 1. Ride over the overpass, turn left to take Highway 1 west to the ferry terminal.
To ride from the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal
to the Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal...
Riding from one ferry terminal to the other is a combination of two of the above routes - i.e. From the Airport to Tsawwassen route and from the Airport to Horseshoe Bay route. Obviously, the airport is bypassed and the following route can be utilised...
After travelling north along Garden City Road in Richmond, turn right at Sea Island Way. From Sea Island Way eastbound, follow the signs for "Highway 99," approaching the Oak Street Bridge by passing under the bridge on the on-ramp with other traffic. Then access and use the sidewalk to ride across this bridge, as cycling on the roadway of the bridge is not permitted. Use the first exit to SW Marine Drive eastbound and follow the bike path that loops back under the bridge. Turn right from the bike path and then left at the traffic light on SW Marine Drive to access the "Cypress Bike Route." Continue on with the Airport to Horseshoe Bay route above.
VANCOUVER ISLAND ROUTES...
Note that many BC Transit buses in the Greater Victoria Region have a bike racks capable of transporting two bikes - notably the buses that run to and from the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal and Victoria International Airport.
In the following text, there are numerous references to the "Lochside Trail." In addition to the official maps of the trail that I have links to on this page, I have also created a Google map illustrating the paved/unpaved sections and a few other points of interest or amenities. The unpaved sections are hard-packed fine gravel and very ride-able on just about any bicycle. Wet weather may create some soggy/muddy puddles, but otherwise the trail is in excellent condition...
View Lochside Trail - Victoria, BC to North Saanich, BC in a larger map
To ride from the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal to the
Sidney/Anacortes, Washington Ferry Terminal...
After exiting the ferry, follow the paved shoulder through the terminal which will lead you the entrance to Highway 17 (Pat Bay Highway). Two good options exist for this route...
Option (a)... Follow Highway 17 for 5 Kms, turn left at Beacon Avenue, Sidney (Sidney's main street). Follow Beacon Avenue almost all the way to the waterfront, then turn right onto First Street, which will lead you to the Anacortes, Washington Ferry Terminal.
Option (b)... Just at the exit to the ferry terminal, after riding under an overpass, on the right there is a signposted path/turnaround for access to the "Lochside Trail." Take this path, which will allow you to double back and cross over the overpass that you just rode under. Follow the signs for the Lochside Trail, which is sometimes on shared roadways, until you reach Resthaven Drive on the outskirts of Sidney. Turn left onto Resthaven Drive and continue on for the rest of the way into Sidney. When you reach Beacon Avenue, turn left, then turn right onto First Street which will lead you to the Washington Ferry Company's terminal with boats to Anacortes, WA.
To ride from the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal to the
Victoria/Port Angeles, Washington Ferry Terminal...
After exiting the ferry, follow the paved shoulder through the terminal which will lead you the entrance to Highway 17 (Pat Bay Highway). Three good options exist for this route...
Option (a)... Follow Highway 17 (good, wide paved shoulder) for 30 Kms all the way into Victoria. Just on the outskirts of Victoria, Highway 17 will flow into Blanshard Avenue. Continue on Blanshard all the way downtown almost as far as it will go, then veer right onto Belleville Street. The ferry terminal for Port Angeles, Washington is less than one kilometre along Belleville Street.
Option (b)... Just at the exit to the ferry terminal, after riding under an overpass, on the right there is a signposted path/turnaround for access to the "Lochside Trail." Take this path, which will allow you to double back and cross over the overpass that you just rode under. Follow the signs for the Lochside Trail, which is a shared use trail - some sections are unpaved but in very good condition, and some sections are on shared (quiet) roadways - all the way to the outskirts of Victoria. There you will veer left and follow the bike path to the Johnson Street (Blue, swing) bridge. Cross over the bridge and turn right onto Wharf Street. Continue on Wharf Street until it ends at Government Street. Turn right on Government, then right again onto Belleville Street. The ferry terminal for Port Angeles, Washington is less than one kilometre along Belleville Street.
Option (c)... Just at the exit to the ferry terminal, after riding under an overpass, on the right there is a signposted path/turnaround for access to the "Lochside Trail." Take this path which will allow you to double back to the overpass that you just rode under. Turn left at the overpass and take Lands End Road, west. After 4 Kms, turn left onto West Saanich Road. After about 25 Kms, West Saanich Road will end at an overpass crossing Highway 17. Take Highway 17 for the rest of the way into Victoria as per "Option (a)" above. This is a much quieter route than riding Highway 17 all the way into Victoria - but is a winding and somewhat hilly route.
To ride from the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal
to the Brentwood Bay/Mill Bay Ferry...
The Brentwood Bay to Mill Bay Ferry crosses Saanich Inlet in a short 20 minute sailing. This short trip will place a cyclist about 40 Kms north of Victoria if travel up-island is on the agenda. Highway 1 can be accessed at Mill Bay. This short ferry ride will negate the need to ride into Victoria to access Highway 1 north. It will also eliminate the need to ride over Malahat Mountain and cut considerable distance off the journey northwards...
Just at the exit to the ferry terminal, after riding under an overpass, on the right there is a signposted path/turnaround for access to the "Lochside Trail." Take this path which will allow you to double back to the overpass that you just rode under. Turn left at the overpass and take Lands End Road, west. After 4 Kms, turn left onto West Saanich Road. After about 11.5 Kms you will reach the village of Brentwood Bay. Just at the entrance to the village, turn right onto Verdier Avenue. The ferry dock is at bottom of Verdier Avenue.
2011 NOTE: BC Transit now has a bus service (with a bike rack for two bikes) from Victoria International Airport Terminal connecting to the nearby McTavish Road transit exchange for buses heading south to downtown Victoria and north to Sidney and the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal. However, the actual community bus services that stop at the airport (route numbers 83 and 88) are limited but well supplemented at the transit exchange for access to other routes - check on the BC Transit website for scheduling.
Victoria International Airport is located approximately 2 Kms west of the Town of Sidney. The airport is well signposted from Highway 17, both northbound and southbound.
The Victoria Airport Authority (VAA) have created a multi-use paved path named "The Flight Path" around the entire airport lands providing easy access to the airport terminal. The path is over 9 kms in length and is well signed to connect to the
Highway 17, West Saanich Road and the Lochside Trail that runs from the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal to Downtown Victoria. There are two easy routes to access the airport trail.
Travelling south on the Lochside Trail, cross Highway 17 at Beacon Ave. in Sidney - the airport trail access is a very short distance west via a marked crossing - take the trail left (south) and it will eventually turn west to reach the terminal.
Travelling north on the Lochside Trail, take Weiler Ave west before the entering the town of Sidney. Weiler breaks at the trail and highway, take the pedestrian overpass over the highway and then Weiler continues west to the airport trail, turn left (south) to eventually reach the terminal.
If negotiating the highway routes... A new interchange at Highway 17, McTavish Road and Canora Road (the road to the airport) is now complete. Transition from the highway requires negotiating roundabouts (easier from the north than the south, but pay attention to the excellent signage and the correct exit will be revealed!) To avoid the multiple roundabouts, there is a cyclist's bridge that northbound cyclists can access by taking the off ramp for the airport and immediately taking the first exit right (Lochside Drive south) at the first roundabout. Bridge access will be very obvious after making this turn.
Southbound on Highway 17, it is still easier to turn right onto Weiler Avenue (the first right AFTER the main Sidney intersection at Beacon Avenue and Highway 17). Ride to the top of Weiler, then turn left onto Canora Road. Canora Road will veer right at a "Y" after .5 Km. After the "Y", turn right at the roundabout, which will lead you onto Willingdon Road. Follow Willingdon Road around to the airport terminal.
The above explains the Highway routing, but for cyclists
Adjacent to the terminal in the parking lot area is a covered bicycle park area (photos above) complete with a floor tire pump and two bike work stand. This is an excellent facility if you have to pack or unpack your bike at the airport. The shed in the bike park area is usually stuffed with bike boxes and packing material if needed.
To ride to the Town of Sidney from Victoria Airport...
From the terminal take Willingdon Road eastbound. After approximately 1 Km at the roundabout, turn left onto East Saanich Road, then left again onto Canora Road; turn right onto Ocean Avenue, which will turn into Stirling Way. At the end of Stirling Way, turn right and then cross the highway for downtown Sidney.
Due to constant road building/maintenance, upgrading of bike lanes/routes etc., some of the above routing may change without notice. For this reason, I apologise in advance if there are any errors or omissions to the above routes. Please e-mail me with any corrections and/or updated information.