This beloved family getaway spot is renowned for its water sports (action-packed jet-skiing and wakeboarding included) and is just 90-minutes from Victoria. Settle in for your stay in vacation lodgings, pitch a tent in a lakeside campground, or rent a houseboat for a little extra time on the water. Circle the lake by car, cruising on the unpaved gravel roads surrounding Kaatza (or “big lake” as it was originally known to First Nations). Along the way stop and enjoy the amenities found in Youbou, Honeymoon Bay, Mesachie Lake, and the town of Lake Cowichan. The latter is the largest of the area’s communities and a departure point for tubing adventures in local waters. Further west, travellers can either head for the wild backcountry of Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park or explore the Pacific Marine Circle Route, which links the wild west and calm east coasts of the South Island. Spectacular scenery and stops at such towering roadside attractions as the Harris Creek Spruce, Avatar Grove, and the San Juan Spruce (the world’s second-largest spruce tree) are among the circle route’s genuine highlights.
Through the eyes of the travellers
Things to do near Cowichan Lake
- Swim and launch a boat at numerous Cowichan Lake access points. Canoe and whitewater kayak along the Cowichan River, or settle back and float down the tree-lined, sun-dappled river in an inner tube. Discover the beauty of Kissinger Lake.
- The Cowichan River Provincial Park protects significant stretches of its namesake river, internationally known for runs of wild salmon and steelhead trout. Hikers amble through dense forest along the Trans Canada Trail to scenic spots like Marie Canyon’s Mile 66 trestle, where one can watch tubers in the waters below.
- Check out the Kaatza Station Museum’s mural and collection of logging artefacts, then stroll the floating boardwalk.
- Stock up at last-chance gas and shopping outlets as forestry roads wind towards Nitinat Lake, an A-list windsurfing and kite boarding destination.
- Enjoy the coastal rainforest trails in the Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park, one of the West Coast’s most remarkable wilderness areas. Access either end of the West Coast Trail at Port Renfrew or Bamfield via roads leading from Cowichan Lake.
- Make it a long daytrip or stretch the journey over multiple nights when exploring the fully paved, 255 km Pacific Marine Circle Route. Travel up the Malahat from Victoria then circle back to your starting point via Cowichan Bay, Duncan, Lake Cowichan, Port Renfrew and Sooke. Highlight stops will include Cowichan Valley farmgates and wineries, the giant trees of Avatar Grove and surf-washed Juan de Fuca beaches.