Getting Here

By Bike
By Public Transit

Sunrise in Cowichan Bay

Quiet mornings along the Salish Sea provide an ideal setting to explore the unique communities that makeup Vancouver Island’s Southeast tip. Take your time, there’s magic in the air – and if you’re lucky, herons and osprey too.

Cowichan Bay Marina by Andrea Johnson
 Birding
  • 1
    Kinsol Trestle Trail
    Glen Eagles Rd

    One of eight trestles along the Cowichan Valley Trail route and is one of the tallest free-standing and most spectacular timber rail trestle structures in the world. Keep your eyes peeled for kingfishers as you walk the 1.5km trail to the trestle.

  • 2
    Malahat Skywalk
    901 Trans-Canada Hwy

    This experience starts with an accessible 600m TreeWalk through beautiful arbutus forests full of birds, leading you to the gentle spiral ramp that takes you up 32m to a sightseeing lookout offering views of Finlayson Arm, Saanich Peninsula, Mount Baker, and the ultimate bird’s eye view.

    Book Now
  • 3
    Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre
    1845 Cowichan Bay Rd

    Explore the estuary, its watershed, and local marine and bird life through hands-on, interactive learning experiences. Located in Hecate Park.

  • 4
    Cowichan Bay Kayaking and Adventure Centre
    1765 Cowichan Bay Rd

    View local marine and birdlife while paddling in Cowichan Bay with tours led by knowledgeable and skilled guides.

    Book Now
 Cafe
 Food
 Accommodations

Afternoon Deep in the Valley

As you continue to explore Cowichan, opportunities abound – get inspired on your own, or amongst the locals.

Photo of person holding an owl
One of the resident owls from The Raptors by Jordan Dyck
 Birding
  • 10
    Pacific Northwest Raptors
    1877 Herd Rd

    This is your opportunity to engage in up-close, hands-on interactive learning with a variety of birds – including eagles, falcons, hawks, owls, vultures, and more.

    Book Now
  • 11
    Cowichan River Regional Park
    Riverbottom Rd W

    This park protects significant stretches of the Cowichan River. You’ll find resident birds such as osprey, hawks, owls, ravens, and crows as well as many species of songbirds. Bald eagles can be seen along the river in late fall and winter.

  • 12
    S’amuna’/Somenos Marsh Conservation Area
    Entry off the Trans Canada Highway

    The wildlife-viewing facilities of the Somenos Watershed welcome waterfowl travelling the Pacific Flyway, as well as resident wildlife. Home to the annual The WildWings Nature & Arts Festival.

  • 13
    Chemainus River Estuary
    Entry at the end of Swallowfield Road

    A 2.7 kilometre trail winding through natural fauna and a vital part of the Pacific Flyway, a resting spot for migratory birds.

  • 14
    Ladysmith Community Marina
    611 Oyster Bay Dr

    Ladysmith Harbour is the largest nesting colony of Western Purple Martin on Vancouver Island. The Ladysmith Maritime Society co-operates with the BC Purple Martin Stewardship & Recovery Program by attaching nest boxes to dock pilings. See them nesting during July and August.

 Cafe
  • 15
    Java World Coffee & Teas
    5811 York Rd

    A retro-styled highway drive-thru refitted as a coffee hub; this community favourite serves up organic Karma coffee, a variety of sandwiches, and delicious baked goods.

 Shopping
  • 16
    The Farm Store at the Farm Table Inn
    6755 Cowichan Lake Rd

    Located right at the entrance of their restaurant, this literal farm-to-table shop has take-and-bake items, soups and stocks, farm-raised meats, local milk and eggs, and many more goodies.

  • 17
    Volume One Bookstore
    149 Kenneth St

    Since 1972 this downtown Duncan staple has been full of new and used books, as well as guides by local authors about nearby trails and outdoor hotspots.

 Visitor Centre

Quiet Coastal Evenings

As the sun sets on Cowichan, the dynamic food and beverage scene comes alive with a variety of family-friendly hotspots welcoming to locals and visitors.

Shorebirds by Martin L. Martens
 Food
  • 19
    Owl’s Nest Bakery and Bistro
    9752 Willow St

    Fill your pack with pre-made sandwiches and baked goods, or take a break and enjoy the Owl’s Nest’s house-made soups & entrees.

Ma Maison Cafe by Jordan Dyck
 Food
  • 20
    Ma Maison
    10445 Chemainus Rd

    Head chef Lauren Cartmel brings her worldly charm to the Cowichan Valley in this beautiful cafe and bakery, serving up farm-to-table deli-style breakfasts and lunches.

  • 21
    Fox and Hounds
    11 High St

    “Like a warm hug on a chilly day,” this British-style pub presents a welcoming atmosphere to all who enter, serving up all the classic fare you’d expect to find at a local pub.

 Visitor Centre
 Accommodations
Cowichan River Lodge
 Accommodations

Explore More

Take a self-guided tour of the Duncan Totems
Enrol in a workshop at the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre
Learn about the vibrant history of the Town of Ladysmith with the new Heritage App
Visit the Ladysmith Museum
Take a self-guided tour of the Chemainus Murals
Visit the Shawnigan Lake Museum
Discover Canada's only commercial tea farm at Westholme Tea Farm
Visit the BC Forest Discovery Centre
Visit Hand of Man Natural History Museum
Birding and Bird Photography for Beginners (Online Workshop)
Observe the nesting of the Purple Martins at Ladysmith Harbour

Open House Mid-July

Attend the WildWings Nature & Art Festival

Month-long celebration in October 2021.