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Love Where You Live



Compiled by Judy Stephan

The Cowichan River Footpath in the Cowichan Valley is a day hike that follows the meandering banks of the rugged Cowichan River. Generally considered a moderately challenging route, it takes just over 2 hours to complete one of the shorter routes. This is a popular trail for fishing, hiking, and trail running. The trail is open year-round, has its fair share of bears and wolves so dogs should be on a leash. This path connects all the river’s parks and makes for an excellent scenic hike through Cowichan River Provincial Park where you can see immense old growth forest, soaring cliffs and local flora and fauna. Revel in history as you see massive tree stumps with notches hacked into their bases – vestiges of the logging era.

The trail was developed by the Cowichan Fish and Game Association in the 1960s, with the co-operation of government, industry and private individuals, and is accessible from two trailheads, both accessed from Highway 18. The trail begins from the parking lot of the Cowichan Fish and Game Association.

There are a few options for your day hike, ranging from a gentle circle route to a more strenuous 6-hour endeavor to Skutz Falls. To do this hike in one day, you will need to have transportation waiting for you at the Falls. The well-used, lower part of the footpath is well-marked, seasonally cleared with many picnicking and swimming spots. The section from Skutz Falls to Old Cowichan Lake Road receives less maintenance, but is regularly used by anglers. Swimmers, tubers, canoeists, and kayakers should be aware of the dangerous sections of the Cowichan River.

Sources: Tourism Cowichan, Cowichan Fish & Game

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