By Sheila Nykwist
Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching. You may be wondering where you can take your sweetheart that will inspire them to give you a smooch. Well, you’re in luck. We’ve scoped out some beautiful spots in the Cowichan Valley with this quest in mind.
1. Maple Bay
It’s the amazingly beautiful scenery from this spot that makes it top on our list. It might take you both about 25 minutes to hike up this fairly steep and gnarly trail, but when you reach the first look-out point – you’ll be so excited with the view, you’ll want to celebrate with a kiss!
Starting at the trailhead off Arbutus Road, take a wooden staircase up to a well-marked trail leading up Maple Mountain. Look for orange markings on the trees. When you reach a fork in the trail, keep left. Within a few minutes, you’ll emerge onto a rocky outcrop with a spectacular view of the bay below.
This is a perfect place to rest and take in the view.
Notes: Wear some good hiking shoes and comfortable clothes as this trail is left in its natural beauty and slippery in spots.
Parking is limited – 1-2 spots at the trailhead. Find a trail map of the area here.
If you aren’t up for steep climbing but still want to enjoy a view of the water, head down to Maple Bay’s quaint pebble beach, steal a kiss, and then head into the nearby local pub, The Lion Rampant Scottish Pub for refreshments. Access to this beach is from a Beach Access at the corner of Beaumont and Redcap Roads.
Another option in Maple Bay requiring a short walk down a paved path, is this cute, secluded viewpoint at the end of Peter’s Lane. To get there, drive to the end of Arbutus Road, park near the cul-de-sac, where you’ll see the public access down to the water.
The small rock bluff at the end of the trail is just big enough for you both to sit and take in the magnificent view.
2. Kinsol Trestle
Are you ready to have your breath taken away?
A short 1 km walk from the Kinsol Trestle parking lot along a wide path through the forest, will take you to the Kinsol Trestle. A historic, impressive structure. Standing atop the Kinsol Trestle, 44 meters above the Koksilah River below, is sure enough to warrant a little closer embrace as you peer way down. The majestic surroundings of mountains and forest with the roar of rushing water below will enhance your admiration of nature…and your partner.
No better place to snap a picture (and steal a kiss!)
Find more info here.
3. Gordon Bay – Lake Cowichan
If you’re in the mood for a mini road-trip, why not make Gordon Bay your destination?
14 km west of Lake Cowichan, Gordon Bay provides the perfect backdrop for a romantic excursion. Walk along the water’s edge, through the forested trails, or pack a picnic and take in the view from one of the many picnic tables set up for such an occasion.
4. Cobble Hill
If you’re both up for a bit of exercise and want to be rewarded with a top-notch view of the valley, head to Cobble Hill Provincial Park.
Numerous trails of varying intensity will take you to the main summit from which you can sit back and reward yourselves with this amazing view. Wander around and discover multiple places to cuddle up and soak in the magnificent views below.
Access to the park is from Quarry Nature Park in Cobble Hill.
5. Mill Bay Marina
Mill Bay Marina is an easy-to-access marina with a nearby parking lot, that provides a beautiful spot to relax and enjoy the marine view from your car, or outside on a bench.
If the weather is getting chilly, head into Bridgeman’s Bistro to continue your date enjoying a glass of wine from the stunning, surround-window setting. A perfect place to watch the sunset over the water.
6. Transfer Beach
A beautiful park situated at the water’s edge, Transfer Beach is a unique spot for a romantic stroll. Walk along paths through the green space, along the rocky beach or simply park and enjoy the view from inside your vehicle. Transfer Beach is easily accessed from the Island Highway.
7. Cow Cafe – Cowichan Bay
Should the weather not be enticing you to head outdoors but you still would like a romantic spot to impress your sweetheart, get a window-side table at the Cow Café. This restaurant, perched on the top of the hill as you enter the sea-side village of Cowichan Bay, provides a stunning view of the marina and bay.
8. Kin Beach
Following Maple Street through the quaint town of Chemainus will bring you to Kin Beach. Rest on a bench at the edge of Kin Park, or stroll the beach. There are plenty of spots to relax and soak in the ocean-scape.