Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race. — H. G. Wells
The Cowichan Valley offers fabulous opportunities for bicycling. The following detailed route descriptions have been contributed by local commuters and recreational cyclists to aid both visiting and local cyclists.Â If you’re just riding from Point A to Point B, all you need is a road map.Â These route guides are for riders who want to enjoy the treasures in the region’s byways.
* If you would like to contribute a description of your favourite rides or if you have followed one of the routes and have comments or corrections, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
* If you have found this guide useful and enjoyed your bicycle experience, support Nature Cowichan or one of our member organizations
|Cycle Cowichan is aimed at making the region a better place to ride.Â Click the link to learn more and to become a member (it’s free!)|
Wear a helmet, stay alert, obey the law!
Route maps have been colour-coded to indicate the approximate degree of risk.
Red indicates routes with moderate to heavy traffic, moderate to high speeds, and where bicycles are sharing the road with motor vehicles. Stay very alert on these roads or, if possible, avoid them altogether.
Blue indicates two types of roads suitable for cycling with older children who will ride carefully and follow instructions: roads with light to moderate traffic where bicycles are sharing the road with motor vehicles and busy highways with dedicated bicycle lanes.
Green indicates two types of roads: roads with moderate traffic and a dedicated bicycle lane at least 2 metres wide and off-road cycling, as on the Cowichan Valley Trail, which is suitable for cycling with very young children
Cowichan Valley Trail
Guide and map
Distance: 122 Km, but there are several access points for shorter rides.
Terrain: On the railway bed except for a few small hills.
Safety: Safe off-road cycling.Â Suitable for children.Â
Surface: Gravel and hard dirt, some sand and rocks, but OK for a hybrid bike.
Features: The most fabulous ride in the Cowichan region.Â the star attraction is the Kinsol Trestle, but the whole ride is outstanding.Â This is part of the Trans Canada Trail.
Duncan to Ladysmith â€“ 4 different routes
Distance: About 28 km, depending on route.
Terrain: Rolling hills. A few steep hills, a long stretch that is nearly level.
Safety: Mostly on quiet roads or roads with wide shoulders. There are a few dangerous places.
Features: A beautiful ride in the country (especially the segment on Richards Trail and through Saltair) with some great views. Interesting towns of Crofton, Chemainus, and Ladysmith with a number of artisan studios in between.
Distance: up to 3 km
Estimated Time: up to 15 minutes to get in or out of town.
Terrain: mostly flat, one steep hillÂ
Safety: mostly very hazardous.Â Lots of traffic, no bike lanes, parked carsÂ
Features: Downtown Duncan is delightful, and there are nearby attractions and services, but getting in and out of town on a bicycle is neither relaxing nor safe.
Distance: 6.6 km each way
Estimated Time: less than 30 minutes.
Terrain: gently rolling to flatÂ
Safety: Use caution going Cowichan Bay to Duncan, use even more going the other wayÂ
Features:Â Busy country roads, then the frontage road on the Trans Canada Highway, at the end a ride by the Cowichan River.
Genoa Bay spur
Distance: 16 km, 8 km each way
Estimated Time: 1 – 3 hours
Terrain: steeply rollingÂ Safety: Very narrow country road, care requiredÂ
Features: Visually stunning: incredible views of farmland, cliffs, and water.Â Visit to a tiny isolated yacht harbour.Â Steep, narrow, and winding country road.
Glenora loop and Trans Canada Trail connector
Distance: an 8 km loop with a 3.8 km (one way) connector to the Cowichan Valley Trail
Estimated Time: about 30 minutes or more.
Terrain: Moderate rolling except for steep hills near the Duncan (east) end.
Safety: Country roads without bike lanes, sometimes busy.Â Use caution, especially near the Duncan end.Â
Features: Connects Downtown Duncan to the Glenora access to the Trans Canada Trail.Â An attractive ride through farmland.Â Several wineries along the way.
Distance: about 26 kmÂ
Estimated Time: 2 hours to all day
Terrain: Nearly flat for half, rolling countryside for half.Â
Safety: Country roads without bike lanes, but not very busy.Â Use caution, especially near the Duncan ends.Â
Features: An attractive (and almost level) ride in the estuary, the interesting village of Cowichan Bay, and an attractive ride through farmland.
Somenos Lake loop
Distance: 14 km
Estimated Time: 1 hour to all day
Terrain: Moderate RollingÂ
Safety: Safe with a few hazardous sectionsÂ
Features: Opportunities for wildlife and nature viewing, Forest Discovery Centre, Farmers’ Market on Saturday, ride through attractive rural land with beautiful mountain views.
Quamichan Lake loop
Distance: 18 km
Estimated Time: 1 hour to all day
Terrain: Moderate Rolling
Safety: Safe with a few hazardous sections
Surface: Mostly paved.
Features: Opportunities for wildlife and nature viewing, a wonderful shingle beach, and a ride through attractive farmland with beautiful mountain views. Access to Genoa Bay spur.