Q: How long is the route?
A: The main route is approximately 1,700km.
Q: Is the route completely paved?
A: It's about 50% paved and 50% dirt and gravel. However, considering the amount of time you spend on each type of road, it feels more like 20% pavement and 80% gravel by the end.
Q: How long will it take to complete the route?
A: The main route will take 5-8 days to depending on your pace. Based on my own experience, I would recommend the following itinerary:
- Day 1 - Stages 1, 2 & 3 - Victoria to Lake Cowichan
- Day 2 - Stages 4, 5 & 6 - Lake Cowichan to Mount Washington
- Day 3 - Stages 7 & 8 - Mount Washington to Woss
- Day 4 - Stage 9 - Woss to Port Alice to Port Hardy
- Day 5 - Stages 10, 11 & 12 - Port Hardy to Cape Scott to Telegraph Cove
- Day 6 - Stages 13, 14 & 15 - Telegraph Cove to Campbell River
- Day 7 - Stages 16, 17 & 18 - Campbell River to Victoria
Q: Can I do this route on a <insert your motorcycle here>?
A: That depends. People have travelled around the world on a Honda Goldwing, a Vespa, and even a tiny Moped. If they can do that, then you can ride the Vancouver Island Grand Loop. However, I would highly recommend using an adventure motorcycle. Many of the roads are quite rough and will be very stressful on your suspension.
Q: Is there reliable cell phone coverage along the route?
A: No. Parts of Vancouver Island are very remote, isolated, and mountainous. Please refer to your service provider's coverage map. It is highly recommended that you have emergency satellite communication (like a ResQLink or a SPOT GPS) for the entire Western side of the VIGL route.
Q: What are the food options along the route?
A: Food is readily available at a variety of restaurants and pubs along the route.
Q: What accommodations are available?
A: There are hotels and motels, hostels, lots of campgrounds, an alpine resort, and even some back-country camping options. In general, you should not have an issue finding accommodations. However, if you plan to do any camping, it's advised that you book as early as possible during the summer months as they fill up quickly. If you plan to do any backcountry camping, please be bear aware.
Q: Should I bring extra fuel?
A: Yes. Stages 2 and 3 combined are one of the longest stretches without fuel, as is Stages 10 and 11. Extra care should be made to ensure you always have a full tank of gas before setting out. Having a spare bottle of fuel is also a good idea.
Q: What should I pack?
A: That will depend on your own personal preferences, but at a minimum, I would suggest: a tent, sleeping bag, a few changes of clothes, reading material, rain gear, and paper maps of the route. Beyond that, a GPS, camera, a small repair kit, and an emergency beacon would be great additions.
Q: What are the most exciting sights along the route?
A: In addition to the many exciting and challenging dirt and gravel roads all over the west side of the Island, and the numerous secluded lakes and outlooks, as well as beaches and ocean views, highlights include:
- The little tree at fairy lake.
- Bamfield is a beautiful West Coast town.
- Cathedral Grove with massive old growth Douglas Firs.
- The chairlift ride to the top of Mount Washington in the summer.
- Atluck Lake is beautiful and serene.
- Port Alice is a super remote village with postcard views.
- The beach at San Josef Bay is considered one of the most beautiful on the Island.
- The Shoe Tree near Port Hardy is an interesting memorial.
- Telegraph Cove is a small village with buildings sitting on stilts over the water.
- The view from Ripple Rock looking out at Quadra Island is highly rewarding.
- The entire seaside road from Fanny Bay down to Nanoose Bay.
- The Old Stone Church near Duncan.
If you have any other questions, feel free to contact me.