Looking for some cycling magic? Call 1.250.661.0462

Vancouver Island Gravel Tour

Using our extensive experience riding in our own back yard of Vancouver Island, we’ve created what we think is the very best riding the South Island has to offer, and better yet, you don’t need to be an expert to enjoy all of it!  Showcasing the unmatched beauty of coastal Vancouver Island, your custom gravel itinerary combines curated routes on friendly trails and roads, boutique west coast accommodations, and great meals to create the perfect ‘intro to gravel’ cycling tour.

Tour Difficulty Rating:

Tantalizing tour pics:

Vancouver Island Gravel Tour

May 26th – June 2nd, 2024

Tour Description

Come See The Wild Side of Vancouver Island! Curated from our own experiences, our Vancouver Island Gravel Tour incorporates ‘must do’ rides with a selection of ‘locals only’ secrets. This trip will see you riding a wide variety of terrain, including smooth, loamy singletrack, winding rail trail, and backcountry forestry roads, while staying in the finest lodge accommodations in the region.

Tour Highlights

  • Experiencing Gabriola Island. It may lack the popularity of its neighbouring islands, but this place is a quiet gem of off-road riding that captivates all that visit;
  • The exhilarating feeling of riding over trestles, hundreds of feet above the roaring creeks and rivers below;
  • Riding the incomparable Sooke Wilderness Trail through blazing fields of fireweed, beneath massive second-growth firs, and through forests sacred to the first nations people of the area;
  • Feeling like you’re in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nothing but trees and mountains, with only the sound of gravel crunching under your tires;
  • Watching sea otters play in the kelp as you enjoy a gourmet picnic lunch on the beach at Descanso Bay.

Package Includes

  • Seven nights double-occupancy lodge-style accommodation
  • Six fully guided, van supported daily rides;
  • Six delicious breakfasts and gourmet picnic lunches, along with ride nutrition and drinks on your rides;
  • Pickup and return shuttle service for your and your gear from the Victoria airport or ferry terminal;
  • 1 set of Magic Places professional-grade cycling bibs and jersey;
  • Our friendly and attentive customer service.

Optional Services Include

Single Occupancy Accommodation Supplement: $890

Tour FAQ

1. What does a typical day look like?

7:30am to 9:00am – Breakfast  in our hotel.
9:30am – Ride departure.
12:00 – 1:00pm – Lunch stop enroute – either a gourmet picnic put on by our guides, or a lunch in a local cafe or restaurant.
2:00 – 5:00pm – We finish our ride and check into our hotel. Relax, explore the local area, or have a cold bevie to celebrate the day!
7:00  Group dinners are arranged each night, but you’re free to go explore on your own.

2. Where does the tour start and finish?

The first and last nights are spent at the Sidney Pier Hotel in beautiful Sidney, BC.

3. What is the terrain like?

This tour is the perfect for those who have started riding gravel and are accustomed to riding multi-surface terrain such as gravel roads, smooth singletrack, and converted rail trails.  The terrain is varied and beautiful, but you want to have some experience riding off the pavement before you join us.  Our guides are great coaches, so expect to learn some valuable riding skills on the tour.

4. What are the hotels like?

The week will see you staying in three different hotels/lodges – all on the water!  The Sidney Pier is a beautiful modern hotel in the quaint town of Sidney, while the Oceanfront Suites in Cowichan offer spacious condo-style accommodations right on Cowichan Bay.  Finally, the Surf Lodge on Gabriola Island is a classic Gulf Island lodge, full of charm and laid-back west-coast character.

5. Where do we have dinners?

Sidney offers many great restaurants and our guides will have reservations in place for us.  In Cowichan Bay, we’ll visit two different seaside restaurants boasting fresh seafood and farm-to-table fare, while on Gabriola, we’ll enjoy one night on the deck overlooking the ocean at Surf Lodge, and the other at a local legend.

Tour Itinerary

Day 1:  Arrive in Sidney at your leisure.  If you arrive by air or ferry, we’ll pick you up and transport you to the Sidney Pier Hotel where you can relax and enjoy exploring beautiful Sidney.  At 7pm, we’ll hold our Welcome Dinner at 10 Acres Bistro, the award-winning restaurant in the hotel.

Day 2:  We meet downstairs at 8am for breakfast, before loading up for the short shuttle to begin our first ride on the south island’s famed ‘Galloping Goose,’ a former rail grade that runs through farms, arbutus forest, and along stunning coastline enroute our lunchtime destination – the tumbling Sooke River Potholes. A picnic lunch awaits before we shuttle you back to the Sidney Pier Hotel.  65km/1100m

Day 3:  After your morning pick-up at the hotel, we shuttle you to Langford and the start of the Sooke Wilderness Trail, a challenging and spectacular gravel marvel that winds through deep forest up and over the Malahat summit, before joining the Cowichan Valley rail trail. After a lunch stop near the 150ft high Kinsol Trestle, we continue north, before turning onto logging and then paved roads, taking us to our lovely oceanfront suites on Cowichan Bay. 55km/1400m

Day 4:  A short shuttle returns us to the Trans Canada Trail, heading west along the Cowichan River through lush west coast rainforest, passing waterfalls and trestles enroute Lake Cowichan. After a lake-side lunch, we begin our return journey, heading back east along a smooth gravel trail that gently descends through forest and marshland for 25km, depositing us in Duncan, city of Totems. Here we take to pavement, passing longhouses and log sorts along the Cowichan estuary as we ride beneath the cliffs of Mt Tzouhalem before arriving back at Cowichan Bay. Cold microbrews await at the iconic Masthead Pub. 67km/750m

Day 5:  After breakfast, we’ll shuttle to Nanaimo, where we board the ferry bound for Gabriola Island and the classic island hideaway of Surf Lodge and Pub. After three big days of riding, some of us will opt for an afternoon relaxing on the Lodge’s outdoor deck or exploring the shops of Gabriola, but for those itching to ride, we’ll offer an optional afternoon jaunt through the trails and tracks hidden on this forested island.

Day 6:  Today we explore Gabriola Island’s incredible mix of double track, gravel, and smooth single-track riding on trails that are closely-guarded local secrets. The day will be split into two, with a delicious lunch allowing you to refuel for the afternoon’s adventure. Feel like taking it easy? No worries, a short shuttle back to the Surf Lodge after lunch and you can kick back on the seaside deck to relax for the afternoon. 25-60km/ 260-970m

Day 7:  We hop on the ferry after breakfast and shuttle south through Nanaimo to Ladysmith and the newly-created Cowichan Rail Trail, riding past picturesque Stocking Creek Falls and through Chemainus and its famed murals. We take to pavement here, riding winding, narrow roads through farmlands to the shores of Quamichan Lake, where we’ll have a delicious al fresco lunch at the Italian Kitchen and Deli. Post lunch, with full bellies, we’ll shuttle to the Mill Bay ferry, where a picturesque 30min crossing deposits us at the ideally located Brentwood Bay Pub, and the perfect place to enjoy the view and toast an amazing tour. After refreshments, we’ll return you to the Sidney Pier Hotel where we’ll check in and relax before our final celebration dinner.  55km/1200m

Day 8:  Enjoy a relaxed seaside breakfast at the Sidney Pier Hotel before we shuttle you to the ferry for your return home.

Tour price

$3590 CAD per person

Riding Gabriola's Natural Pavement