As the name implies, The Cowichan River Footpath is a hikeable trail that follows the meandering banks of the rugged Cowichan River.
20 kilometres in length, it affords a leisurely daylong hike that will introduce you to immense old growth forest, soaring cliffs plus a splendid array of local flora and fauna.
You’ll also see massive tree stumps with notches hacked into their bases – vestiges of an era when loggers would insert “springboards” which were used to stand on while they tackled the trees with axes and crosscut saws.
The Cowichan River Footpath is accessible from two trailheads, both of which may be accessed from the Cowichan Valley Highway (Highway 18), the east/west route that connects Duncan with the town of Lake Cowichan.
Eastern trailhead: 48.757316º -123.793176º
Western trailhead: 48.782259º -123.948639º
Will you encounter bears and cougars? It’s very unlikely, because they’re typically more scared of you than you are of them. But it’s always good to be aware that they live here too. The entire walk takes approximately 7 hours, but there are also smaller loops that are family friendly. There’s even a small zipline and playground at the eastern trailhead.
Learn more about this footpath on the Trails Society of BC website.