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.
1Kinsol Trestle Trail
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.
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: https://malahatskywalk.com/plan/tickets-passes/
1Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre
Explore the estuary, its watershed, and local marine and bird life through hands-on, interactive learning experiences. Located in Hecate Park.
2Cowichan Bay Kayaking and Adventure Centre
View local marine and birdlife while paddling in Cowichan Bay with tours led by knowledgeable and skilled guides.
Book Now: https://cowichanbaykayaking.com/booking-tours.html
1Olde School Coffee
A cozy community hub with exceptional coffee and food selections to start your day.
1The Restaurant at Unsworth Vineyards
Enjoy seasonal farm-to-table cuisine while taking in gorgeous views overlooking the award-winning 12-acre vineyard.
2The Eatery at Merridale Cidery
Enjoy the open-air patio with views of the apple orchard while eating casual farm-to-table comfort food.
3Jake’s at the Lake
A casual dining restaurant that offers impressive views of Cowichan Lake. Serving locally sourced, house-made food with celiac-friendly options.
1Oceanfront Suites at Cowichan Bay
All suites are family-friendly and ocean-facing; guests can rent bicycles to travel around town, or recharge in the indoor heated pool and fitness centre.
Book Now: https://www.bookonthenet.net/west/premium/eresmain.aspx?id=p%2b%2b5DRN7Kwc%2fKHdB6O1oeGcqiAEnpqLt01NuWOVed2GNhmTn8HPY0INH%2bVpGSgKQ4DkLRQYNYp3AJeR7%2fwFi%2bA%3d%3d#/search
Afternoon Deep in the Valley
As you continue to explore Cowichan, opportunities abound – get inspired on your own, or amongst the locals.
1Pacific Northwest Raptors
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: https://pnwraptors.com/visitor-centre/book-now/
2Cowichan River Regional Park
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.
1S’amuna/Somenos Marsh Conservation Area
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.
2Chemainus River Estuary
A 2.7 kilometre trail winding through natural fauna and a vital part of the Pacific Flyway, a resting spot for migratory birds.
3Ladysmith Community Marina
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.
1Java World Coffee & Teas
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.
1The Farm Store at the Farm Table Inn
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.
2Volume One Bookstore
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.
1Lake Cowichan Visitor Centre
Seasonally open May-September
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.
1Owl’s Nest Bakery and Bistro
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.
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.
2Fox and Hounds
“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.
1Chemainus Visitor Centre
2Cowichan Regional Visitor Centre
An exceptional guesthouse located right along the Cowichan Estuary, providing unparalleled easy-access to amazing birding.
Book Now: https://direct-book.com/properties/affinityguesthousedirect?locale=en&items[adults]=2&items[children]=0&items[infants]=0¤cy=CAD&checkInDate=2021-08-25&checkOutDate=2021-08-26
1Cowichan River Lodge
This boutique-style Lodge is nestled in a stunning area of natural wilderness along the Cowichan River, making for a perfect relaxing getaway or the hub for endless outdoor activities.
Book Now: https://thecowichanriverlodge.com/reservations/
2Best Western Plus Chemainus Inn
A classic hotel in south Chemainus is conveniently close to many local points of interest. Enjoy spacious, comfortable suites and full-service amenities.
3Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham Oyster Bay
As you continue North on the trail, this pet-friendly stop has all the amenities of home – just minutes from your next birding adventure.
4Kiwi Cove Lodge
Set on a 10-acre oceanfront kiwi vineyard and estuary, this purpose-built lodge B&B offers 12 rustic rooms, a common room for games, and a gazebo in the kiwi grove.
Book Now: https://apps.gracesoft.com/pms/OnlineBookingv2/RoomDetails.aspx?PropertyId=2547&PMSFolder=PMS