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The Cowichan River

The Cowichan River is the fourth largest river on Vancouver Island, and its various tributaries at over 100 creeks and streams flow away nearly 99,000 hectares (244,634 acres). Before discharge into Cowichan Bay and the Strait of Georgia, the Cowichan River originates in Lake Cowichan, flowing eastward for roughly 47 km (29.2 miles).
The largest provincial park within the Nanaimo Lowlands eco section (NAL) is Cowichan River Provincial Park. The small western part extends into the Leeward Island Mountain eco section (LIM), located on the eastern margin of Vancouver Island, stretching from Duncan to the Campbell River city. Cowichan River Park is situated on southern Vancouver Island, which is 1,418 hectares (3,504 acres) in size and keeps a 34 km (21.1 miles) stretch of the Cowichan River. The distance between this park and Cowichan Lake is about 17 km (10.5 miles). This impressive park protects the Cowichan River's essential stretches designated as both the BC Heritage River and a Canadian Heritage River.
There are other provincial parks around the Cowichan River Provincial Park, such as Gordon Bay Provincial Park, on Cowichan Lake's south shore. It is about 49 hectares (121 acres), and there are a campground and a day-use area. Moreover, Chemainus River Provincial Park, with about 119 hectares (294 acres), is located 14.7 km (9.1 miles) northwest of Duncan, managed by Cowichan Valley Regional distinct for BC Park. Sandy Pool Regional Park is at the eastern of Cowichan River Provincial Park that Cowichan Valley Regional District possesses.


The Cowichan River Location

The Cowichan River, which originates in the Cowichan Lake, is located south of Vancouver Island. It drops over Skutz Falls after 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) that it passed Cowichan Lake. From the east, the river flows through Marie Canyon and running towards Cowichan Bay, which is more than 40 km (24.8 miles) long.


How to Get to the Cowichan River by Car

From Nanaimo:
The fastest route to get to Cowichan River Provincial Park from Nanaimo is via Trans-Canada Hwy/BC-1 S. It is 66 km (41 miles) and takes about 50 minutes. This route has restricted usage.
Take Wallace St to Trans-Canada Hwy/BC-1 S for 550 m (1804.4 ft). Turn right onto Trans-Canada Hwy/BC-1 S and drive 45.1 km (28 miles). Continue on Cowichan Valley Hwy/BC-18 W to your destination in Cowichan Valley F. After 20.3 km (12.6 miles), you will reach Cowichan River Provincial Park.

From Victoria:
Getting to Cowichan River Provincial Park from Victoria is via Trans-Canada Hwy/BC-1 N. It is 79 km (49 miles) and takes almost 1 hour and 9 minutes. This route has restricted usage.
Take Government St to Trans-Canada Hwy/BC-1 N for 1.2 km (0.7 miles). Use any lane to turn left onto Trans-Canada Hwy/BC-1 N and drive 58.6 km (36.4 miles). Take Cowichan Lake Rd to your destination in Cowichan Valley F. Drive 19.2 km (11.9) more to reach Cowichan River Provincial Park.


The Hike to Get to the Cowichan River

1. "Cowichan River Trail," with 8.4 km (5.2 miles) length, is an easy trail. It is a moderately trafficked loop near Cowichan Valley. The trail with 94 m (308.3 ft) elevation gain offers several activities, and it is suitable for all skill levels. The best time for use is from April until September.

2. "Skutz Falls," with 7.6 km (4.7 miles) length, is a moderate loop near Cowichan Valley F that features a waterfall. The trail has 142 m (465.8 ft) elevation gain and is primarily used for hiking, walking, and nature trips. The best time for use is from April until September.

3. "Hill 60 Ridge Trail," with a 30.6 km (19 miles) length, is a hard out and back trail near Cowichan Valley. It has a 734 m (2408.1 ft) of elevation gain and offers the chance to see wildlife. The path is primarily used for hiking and nature trips.


History of the Cowichan River

The Cowichan River was represented as the BC Heritage River in 1997 and as a Canadian Heritage River in 2003 when it was the third river in British Columbia. Today it remains one of the 42 Heritage River Canada. This designation as Canadian Heritage leads it to be known as Canada's famous river. It causes careful management of maintaining the natural and cultural values for the benefit and enjoyment of Canadians. In the nearby of the Cowichan River, there are several forestry and residential land. The rural communities of Sahtlam to the northeast and agricultural land of Glenora to the southeast are the most developed areas.


Things to do around the Cowichan River Area

Around the Cowichan River area exist facilities and entertainment such as telephone lines, buried water pipeline and groundwater, summer games, shooting ranges, a clubhouse, and a non-shooting picnic area. Also, the Cowichan River Bible Camp offers summer programs and camps for children. Besides that, there are several activities you can do at the Cowichan River area, including paddling, fishing, swimming, and hiking.

Rivers Near the Cowichan River

Koksilah River

Koksilah River

Cowichan River

Cowichan River

The Cowichan River Activities

Canoeing

One of the most popular activities in the Stoltz Pool day-use area is canoeing and kayaking, especially from October through to June. Some natural occurrences, such as logjams and sweepers, may happen for paddlers. You should know the information on these hazards and pull-out locations are posted at the park.

Fishing

In this park, you have an excellent opportunity for fishing because there are various and abundant fishes in the Cowichan River.

Cycling

People are allowed to use bicycle-only through the roadways or the Trans-Canada Trail. Of course, bicycle helmets are mandatory in British Columbia.

Hiking

Inside and around the Cowichan River, you can go hiking, but you must have the necessary supplies such as drinking water, an aid kit, and adequate clothing/ footwear with yourself.

Horseback Riding

Horseback riding is available for you on the Trans-Canada Trail.

Walking with Your Dog

Your pets must be on a leash, and you are responsible for their behaviour and disposing of their excrement.

Scuba Diving

Other popular activities in this river are snorkelling and scuba diving.

Swimming

You are allowed to go swimming at the Stoltz Pool day-use area and below the Skutz Falls. But children must be accompanied by an adult, and you must be expected to encounter some natural occurrences.

Wildlife Viewing

There is a riparian area in Cowichan River Park as a protective corridor to preserve a wide variety of wildlife. These animals include black bears, black-tailed deer, grey wolf and cougar, medium-sized mammals, small mammals, red squirrel, and mink, which are protected.

What you Can Expect to Do Near the Cowichan River

Shawnigan Lake Kayaking and Canoeing

Shawnigan Lake Kayaking and Canoeing

Ladysmith Kayaking

Ladysmith Kayaking

The wreck of the Robert Kerr Diving

The wreck of the Robert Kerr Diving

Boeing 737 Jet Plane Diving

Boeing 737 Jet Plane Diving

Octopus Point Diving

Octopus Point Diving

Camping in the Gordon Bay Camp Site

Camping in the Gordon Bay Camp Site

Cowichan Lake Wakeboarding and Waterskiing

Cowichan Lake Wakeboarding and Waterskiing

Shawnigan Lake Wakeboarding and Waterskiing

Shawnigan Lake Wakeboarding and Waterskiing

Cowichan Lake Windsurfing

Cowichan Lake Windsurfing

Esquimalt Lagoon Windsurfing

Esquimalt Lagoon Windsurfing

The Cowichan River Outline

Specifications

Climate

Water Temperature

Timing

1. The distances are estimated from Cowichan River Provincial Park.
1- The numbers are estimated on average for Cowichan Valley.


What you Can Expect to See Near the Cowichan River

Duncan

Duncan

Lake Cowichan

Lake Cowichan

Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Site

Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Site

Point Ellice House Museum and Gardens

Point Ellice House Museum and Gardens

Race Rocks Ecological Reserve

Race Rocks Ecological Reserve

Woodley Range Ecological Reserve

Woodley Range Ecological Reserve

Ladysmith Bog Ecological Reserve

Ladysmith Bog Ecological Reserve

Florence Lake Cave

Florence Lake Cave

Skutz Falls

Skutz Falls

West Shawnigan Lake Provincial Park

West Shawnigan Lake Provincial Park

Cowichan River Provincial Park

Cowichan River Provincial Park

Gowlland Range

Gowlland Range

Stocking Creek Waterfall

Stocking Creek Waterfall

Memory Island Provincial Park

Memory Island Provincial Park

Christie Falls

Christie Falls

Planning for The Cowichan River

Suitability

Services

Camping & Resort

Travel Tips


1. The distances are estimated from Cowichan River Provincial Park.
1. Forty-three campsites at Stoltz Pool and 2 group sites
2. RV camps located in the Cowichan Valley.
3. The distances are estimated from Cowichan River Provincial Park.
1. Keep your campfires small.

What Do You Think about the Cowichan River?