Cowichan Valley cycling trail loop c28(a&b)

Map Legend: 

c28 (a and b) Full 100k Cowichan Valley - a two-cycle-loop equivalent
 Trans Canada Trail Portal in Lake Cowichan and the Totem at Duncan Train Station
Gateway Lake Cowichan.JPG Duncan Totems.jpg

GPS Downloads

  • KML/KMZ files can be opened in Google Earth, and many smartphone apps.
  • GPX files can be opened by most GPS software apps when KMZ cannot. Note, GPX files do not contain custom colours and icons that we use on our maps; all tracks and icons will appear the same colours and styles. We recommend using KMZ instead when possible.
  • GPX-Garmin are GPX files that we have optimized for older Garmin units that only display tracks that contain 500 points or less (such as Garmin eTrex units).

Visit our GPS & Navigation page for instructions of how to use your smartphone as a GPS device (even when outside of data coverage) or how to import data to your Garmin unit.

About the Journey: 

It is important to note that this larger loop can be divided into smaller loops denoted on the map using magenta colored lines.  As well, the map shows an extra loop that goes around Shawnigan Lake which is also part of the Trans Canada Trail.  Doing the whole 100 km orange loop is the equivalent of 2 loops 28a and 28b.

This extraordinary loop features more than 60 km of rail trail that takes in the Kinsol Trestle, the Marie Trestle and Canyon, Skutz Falls, the Cowichan River, spectacular forests as well as Duncan, and the touristy fishing village of Cowichan Bay.

The rail trail is known as the Cowichan Valley Trail, which is the Cowichan Valley Regional District's contribution to the Trans Canada Trail along with the Cowichan River Park section makes for a spectacular multi-use trail and an integral part of the TCT route on Southern Vancouver Island. Between Lake Cowichan and the Kinsol Trestle, the trail follows the gentle grade of the former turn of the century CN and CP railway lines that served pioneer logging and settlement communities. 

Note that through the Cowichan River Provincial Park, walkers have the option of taking the footpath that connects with the rail grade from time-to-time (the brown track on the map gives the approximate location of the pathway).

Journey Highlights: 

The Kinsol Trestle is one of eight trestles along the Cowichan Valley Trail route and by far the largest and most spectacular. The Kinsol Trestle is one of the tallest free-standing and most spectacular timber rail trestle structures in the world. At 614 feet in length and standing 145 feet above the salmon bearing Koksilah River, the Kinsol is an incredible structure and was worth preserving.

Parking & Staging Areas

Parking areas can be found at the Kinsol Trestle, at Skutz Falls, Lake Cowichan, Duncan, Cowichan Bay and elsewhere along the route.

Shopping & Provisions

Lake Cowichan, Duncan and Cowican Bay have a variety of places to shop for supplies.

Public Washrooms

Washrooms can be found near the Kinsol Trestle, Marie Trestle, Lake Cowichan, Duncan and periodically along the route.

Directions: Printable Description (PDF Download)

Directions: Counter-Clockwise

Go to the printable version to have a complete description.

Composite Google Map
Composite Google Earth Map


Note: If you used this information for one of your trips, please send your comments to

Starting and end point: At the Somenos Ball Park Fields (Evans Park) on Somenos Road, North Cowichan. Off the Island Highway North of Duncan and North of a new major Shopping Mall take Drinkwater Road going west and turn west on Somenos Road. You will soon see the ball fields on your left.

  • On Roads - 33 km
  • Trails and Pathways - 67 km - the Trans Canada Trail’s Cowichan Valley Trail
  • Mode of travel: Well maintained Mountain Bike. Pay particular attention to brakes, chain, and derailleur.
  • Lowest elevation - 0 ft –
  • Highest - 780 ft - Quite hilly on pavement
  • Time allowed: about 7.5-10 hrs. including lunch
  • Fitness level: Should be in good physical condition and have experienced cycling over 60k and be able to cycle up hills.
  • Food breaks: Lunch in Lake Cowichan.

Spur of Interest: Cowichan River Footpath (from Provincial Parks Brochure): This historic trail winds its way along the Cowichan River for approximately 20 km from Skutz Falls to Glenora. This is an easy to moderate level of hiking and you should allow approximately 6.5 hours to hike its length. The main trail is well marked but several older secondary routes still exist and these are not signed or maintained. Notices will be placed at each trailhead (Glenora and Skutz Falls) explaining any current situations of interest to trail users. Parts of the trail are through private property - please respect these areas and any potential restrictions that may be in place.

Suggestion: If you decide on this alternative, start on the trail once you have crossed the Marie Canyon Trestle (look for a trail on your left as you are heading for the Kinsol). The trail will take you along the river and on the rail grade from time to time. From here to Holt Creek will add about 2 km. to your walk. Here is the link to a map: click here




Campsites are available at Lake Cowichan and Cowichan Bay. A group campsite is available at Skutz Falls.