Discover the Flavour of Cowichan Lake

INCLUDES: Lake Cowichan, Youbou , Honeymoon Bay, Mesachie Lake, Caycuse, Nitinat Lake, Carmanah Valley

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"Gateway to the West Coast"

The Cowichan Lake area is the largest and most westerly in the Cowichan Region, a gateway to some of the most spectacular camping, hiking and fishing available on Vancouver Island. The town of Cowichan Lake is a 20-minute drive from Duncan on Highway 18 or a rural scenic drive on the Old Lake Cowichan Road, through Sahtlam. The communities of Mesachie Lake, Honeymoon Bay, and Youbou are within easy reach with Youbou on the north side of the lake, Honeymoon Bay and Youbou on the south arm. Although Cowichan Lake is often colder and has a heavier snowfall than the rest of the Cowichan, the south arm of the lake is a heat trap, boasting the highest average summer maximum temperatures in Canada - over 24 degrees Celsius!

Lake Cowichan is one of the largest bodies of fresh water on Vancouver Island with some of the most spectacular camping and hiking available on Vancouver Island. Whether you come for fising, swimming or boating the pristine waters of Lake Cowichan or Mesachie Lake, Nitinat Lake, or hike or tube down the Cowichan River, visit the ancient forest of the Carmanah Walbran Provincial Parks, or hike the West Coast or Juan de Fuca Trails, you will find it easy to satisfy your desire for adventure in this area. Excellent fishing, swimming, kayaking, and boating are all at the community's doorstep. One of the best places to launch a boat when fishing is at Gordon Bay Provincial Park.

Cowichan River Provincial Park is a 750-hectare area stretching almost 20 kilometers, from the village of Lake Cowichan to Glenora, just south of Duncan. This spectacular park protects significant stretches of the Cowichan River, known as a first class recreational corridor. Fresh-water summer adventures include camping and steel-head trout fishing, river tubing, exploring the endless logging roads by ATV or motorbike, and hiking the historic Cowichan River Footpath that winds through dense Douglas-fir and Western Hemlock forest. Cowichan River Wilderness Lodge overlooks the Cowichan River and offers mountain biking and outdoor activities including access to 16 acres of Cowichan River trails.

The Lake communities hold a lot of festivals and events throughout the summer months, so there is plenty to see and do. Little did they know, in the summer of 1931, that a small community picnic, fancy dress parade and sports day, would evolve into a week-long event known as Cowichan Lake Days Celebration which is held annually each June.

A little history...

Credit is given to Colonial surveyor Joseph D. Pemberton, acting upon instructions from Gov. James Douglas, for first exploration of the unknown territory between Cowichan Bay and Nitinat on the west coast. Six years later, Island explorer Robert Brown recorded in his journal that he "engaged Kakalatza, a chief of (Somena) tribe, to accompany us to the great (Cowichan) Lake".

From the beginning, even among the natives, Cowichan Lake has had an air of intrigue. Some of these explorers added to this near-mystical sense with their glowing but unsubstantiated tales of "rich gold discoveries" having been made on the banks of the Cowichan River. But it was 'green gold' that attracted the first real development to Cowichan Lake. The region's massive stands of first-growth fir, hemlock and cedar, said to have been among the finest in all of British Columbia, attracted lumbermen from eastern Canada and the United States. As the industry has had to change over the years, so has the village as major employers of the area shut down. What was once mostly a logging camp, is now a community... To read more about the history of visit the local Kaatza Station Museum.