A Perfect 101 Guide To Lake Cowichan

Lake Cowichan is a small town located on the eastern shore of the eponymous Lake Cowichan, on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.

The town is located in the Cowichan Valley, surrounded by mountains and forests. Popular tourist attractions and a center for outdoor pursuits like boating, fishing, hiking, and camping include Lake Cowichan.

Tourists can stroll through the town’s quaint downtown, which is home to a variety of stores and eateries, or they can participate in one of the many yearly celebrations held there, such as the Cowichan Lake Days Festival.

The best of Vancouver Island may be found in Lake Cowichan, which boasts breathtaking natural beauty and a welcoming local population.

Lake Cowichan
Photo by rbspace from depositphotos

Perfect 101 Guide to Lake Cowichan

Here is your guide to the lovely Lake Cowichan which is an amazing place to visit.

1. History

The region has been inhabited for countless years by the Cowichan people and is a Coast Salish First Nation. The name “Kaatza” for the lake is Arabic for “large lake.”

Midway through the 1800s, the first European immigrants arrived and built logging camps all around the lake.

The Canadian Pacific Railway expanded its line to the area in the early 1900s, which improved access to the area and encouraged future development.

The town was formally formed in 1944 and was given its name after the lake.

The town underwent a logging and milling boom in the middle of the twentieth century, which turned into the region’s primary economic force.

As more people started coming to the lake for leisure activities like swimming, boating, and fishing in the 1970s, tourism started to grow into a big economy in the area.

Nowadays, Lake Cowichan is a well-liked vacation spot renowned for its scenic surroundings, recreational activities, and small-town charm. The village is constantly expanding as more people learn about the attractions nearby.

2. How to Reach Lake Cowichan?

You can go to Lake Cowichan by ferry, bus, or automobile. The settlement is about 30 minutes drive west of Duncan and is reachable by car by Highway 18 or the Pacific Marine Circle Road.

If taking a bus, Victoria, Duncan, and other adjacent towns offer regular service to the town from the Cowichan Valley Regional Transportation System.

Victoria International Airport, which is about an hour and fifteen minutes away by automobile, is the closest major airport.

Tourists can also travel to Lake Cowichan by ferry. A regular service runs from Mill Bay on Vancouver Island, which is about 45 minutes away by automobile, to Brentwood Bay on the Saanich Peninsula.

3. Best Time to Visit Lake Cowichan

The town of Lake Cowichan enjoys a warm climate with moderate temperatures all year long.

The best time to visit this town is summer because the weather is ideal for outdoor pursuits like hiking, swimming, and boating. It should be noted that this is also the busiest period of the year, so expect crowds and increased costs.

 You may visit the town in winter if you prefer a calmer season with fewer visitors and reduced costs. Even though it may be chilly and gloomy outside, there are still a ton of indoor activities to enjoy, like going to the nearby galleries and museums.

4. Things to do in Lake Cowichan

Various things to do in Lake Cowichan are as follows:

4.1 Explore Cowichan Lake

Cowichan lake is the largest lake on the island, with a surface size of roughly 54 square kilometers, located in the Cowichan Valley area.

A variety of species, including bald eagles, otters, and black bears, can be found in the forests of Douglas fir, cedar, and hemlock that surround the lake.

The nearby settlements rely heavily on Cowichan Lake as a source of drinking water because of its reputation for having crystal-clear, unpolluted water.

Photo by jovannig from depositphotos

The lake has historically been utilized for fishing and other activities by the Cowichan people who have resided in the area for thousands of years. The lake is a well-liked location for outdoor activities like boating, swimming, fishing, and camping.

Rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, and kokanee salmon are among the many fish species that call the lake, which has a maximum depth of 152 meters, home.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans runs the Cowichan Lake Research Station, which carries out ecological research on the lake and offers educational opportunities to the general public and students.

4.2  Visit Kaatza Station Museum

Visitors to Lake Cowichan frequently stop at the Kaatza Station Museum, which is a fantastic spot to learn about the town’s history and significance to the area.

Kaatza Station Museum is located in the town’s former railroad station, which the Canadian Pacific Railway constructed in the early 1920s. The Cowichan word for the lake, “Kaatza,” inspired the name of the museum.

Up until the middle of the 20th century, when rail travel decreased and the station was abandoned, the structure that currently houses the museum functioned as the town’s train station.

The museum features exhibits on logging, mining, transportation, and other businesses that have affected the area as well as the history of the town and the surrounding area.

The museum’s collections contain artifacts, images, records, and other items pertaining to local history.

The museum offers educational programs and events all year long in addition to its exhibitions, such as talks, workshops, and guided tours.

The Lake Cowichan and Area Historical Society, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving and promoting the region’s history, manages the museum.

4.3 Hiking

There are several great hiking opportunities in and around Lake Cowichan. 

Some of them are as follows:

4.3.1 The Cowichan River Footpath

The 20-kilometre Cowichan River Footpath is a well-liked hiking pathway that follows the river through forests, past waterfalls, and rapids. The route is accessible from a number of locations in the vicinity and is appropriate for hikers of all experience levels.

4.3.2 The Mount Baldy Trail

A moderately difficult 7-kilometer climb that provides breathtaking views of Lake Cowichan and the surrounding mountains is the Mount Baldy Trail. The town center is only a short distance from the trailhead.

4.3.3 The Trans Canada Trail

The Trans Canada Trail is a system of footpaths and bicycle lanes that traverses Canada, with a segment that travels around Lake Cowichan. The lake and adjacent woodlands may be seen clearly from the trail, which is well-maintained.

4.3.4 The Heather Mountain Trail

The difficult 12-kilometre Heather Mountain Trail leads to the mountain’s peak, which provides sweeping views of the Cowichan Valley and beyond. About 30 minutes drive will bring you to the trailhead from Lake Cowichan.

4.3.5 The Westwood Lake Trail

The 6-kilometer Westwood Lake Trail circles Westwood Lake and is located around 45 minutes from Lake Cowichan. The lake and surrounding woodlands may be seen well from the relatively simple walk.

4.4 Take a Tour of Nearby Wineries

In the neighboring Cowichan Valley region, there are numerous opportunities for wine and cider tours. Some of them are:

4.4.1 Cherry Point Estate Wines

A family-run winery that makes a variety of wines, including reds, whites, and dessert wines, Cherry Point Estate Wines is about a 30-minute drive from Lake Cowichan. They provide tours, tastings, a picnic space, a gift shop, and all of these things.

 4.4.2 Merridale Cidery & Distillery

It is a well-known destination for cider enthusiasts and is situated about 40 minutes drive from Lake Cowichan. They provide farm-to-table dining, facility tours, and tastings of their spirits and ciders.

 4.4.3 Unsworth Vineyards
Screenshot from unsworth vineyards

It is a winery that creates a variety of award-winning wines, including Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Rosé, and is situated about a 45-minute drive from Lake Cowichan. They have a café that serves cuisine from regional suppliers and offers tastings as well as tours of their winery and vineyards.

 4.4.4 Rocky Creek Winery

A family-run winery that makes a variety of wines, featuring whites, reds, and fruit wines, Rocky Creek Winery is about an hour’s drive from Lake Cowichan. They provide wine tastings, a picnic space, a gift shop, and other amenities.

4.5 Wander in Galleries

A lively arts scene exists in Lake Cowichan, where a number of galleries and studios display the creations of regional artists. Here are a few of the local studios and galleries:

4.5.1 Honeymoon Beach Resort & Retreat

A revolving art exhibit featuring the creations of regional artists is held at Honeymoon Beach Resort & Retreat. There is always something fresh to view because the displays rotate every three months.

4.5.2 The Garden House Studio

The distinctive pottery and other works of art created by local artist Marlene Bowman in this studio are motivated by the Cowichan Valley’s breathtaking natural surroundings.

4.5.3 Kaatza Art Group

The Kaatza Art Group is a collection of regional artists who regularly host exhibitions and art events throughout the year to display a variety of mediums, such as paintings, sculptures, and photography.

4.5.4 The Cowichan Lake Arts Council

This nonprofit is focused on fostering the arts in the Cowichan Lake region. They feature a gallery area where they often display the work of regional artists, as well as activities like concerts, workshops, and art displays.

4.5.5 The Artisans’ Garden

Many local artists and craftspeople’s creations, including paintings, pottery, jewelry, and textiles, are shown at this gallery and gift shop. They also regularly organize activities including workshops and artist demonstrations.

4.6 Enjoy Various Local Events

During the year, Lake Cowichan plays host to a range of regional events, including music festivals, sporting competitions, and community gatherings.

Some of the events are as follows:

4.6.1 Lake Days

This yearly celebration of the town’s proximity to the stunning Lake Cowichan takes place in June. A parade, live music, a craft market, and other family-friendly activities are all part of the event.

 4.6.2 Music in the Lake

This summer concert series is held at Saywell Park’s outdoor stage and features a range of local and regional musicians who play music in various genres, including folk, rock, and country.

4.6.3 Cowichan Valley Wine & Culinary Festival

It takes place in September and highlights the area’s cuisine and libations, including wine, cider, craft beer, and food made using locally produced ingredients.

 4.6.4 Forest Discovery Centre Christmas Express

This yearly celebration includes Santa visits, seasonal music, a train ride through the forest, and other joyous activities. It takes place during the holiday season.

 4.6.5 Cowichan Valley Music Festival

The Cowichan Valley Music Festival is a yearly celebration that takes place in Duncan, a nearby town, and offers folk, blues, jazz, and world music acts.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What kind of weather can you expect in Lake Cowichan town?

A mild oceanic climate characterizes Lake Cowichan, with chilly, rainy winters and warm, dry summers. The hottest month, July, has an average temperature of about 20 °C, while the coldest month, January, has an average temperature of around 3 °C.

2. Is Lake Cowichan Town serviced by public transportation?

At Lake Cowichan town, there is public transit available, including local bus service and a shuttle service. However, as in many small towns, owning a car is frequently the most practical means of transportation.

3. Which airport is the closest to Lake Cowichan town?

The Victoria International Airport, which is situated about 85 kilometers southeast of Lake Cowichan Town, is the closest. The Duncan Airport, a tiny regional airport, is situated about 20 kilometers south of Lake Cowichan.

4. What are some of the most well-liked hiking routes near Lake Cowichan?

The Cowichan Valley Trail, the Bald Mountain Trail, and the Mount Baldy Trail are a few of the well-liked hiking routes in the Lake Cowichan region. These trails offer a variety of levels of difficulty as well as picturesque views of the nearby lake and woodland.


The town of Lake Cowichan is a lovely and charming place to visit. The community is renowned for its beautiful natural surroundings, outdoor leisure opportunities, extensive history, and cultural attractions.

In addition to enjoying the town’s local galleries, museums, and vineyards, visitors to Lake Cowichan can go hiking on the lake and neighboring rivers.

The town also boasts a lively local community that organizes numerous festivals and events all year long. Lake Cowichan town is a great destination whether you’re searching for a tranquil escape or an adventure-filled vacation.

Read more from us here.


Pooja Thakur

About Author

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may also like

A Guide Through Beach Camping Southern California

15 Best Beach Camping in Southern California: 101 Guide

Southern California beaches have long drawn visitors for their golden sand, sun, and carefree mood, and nothing is better than

Fire Pits in Australia: Top 10 Amazing Options

Outdoor activities are common with fire pits in Australia. Summer barbecues and campfires provide occasions for people to get together.