The southern gateway to the Cowichan Valley is the majestic Malahat Highway. After you pass Goldstream and make your way to the summit, there are a number of observation points where you can pull over and take in the vista from 1,200 feet.

The first of these is the summit rest area where there’s a newly refurbished totem pole and a large regional map to give you the lay of the land. Just beyond that is a chalet that serves up divine views and cuisine.

Farther still is the “Split Rock” rest area where you can see Senanus Island, much of the Saanich Peninsula and on clear days, Mount Baker in Washington State. On your descent you can turn off to Bamberton Provincial Park, a splendid spot for camping, beachcombing and swimming.

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