The Cowichan Valley trail is part of the Trans Canada Trail network. With access points all over the Cowichan Valley (see map below), this trail provides numerous possible running routes of pretty much any distance.
- Difficulty: Easy/Intermediate – most is railway grade
- Terrain: Dirt and Gravel (roadway in a few places)
- Length: over 100 km
- Flow: for most sections it is possible to run without encountering any traffic lights and only a handful of rural road crossings
- Scenery: farmland and forest
- Safety Issues: watch for wildlife (bears, elk, and cougar); dogs are required to be on leash but people generally don’t mind so long as your dog is fully under control
- Bathrooms: several trailheads have outhouses (see map below)
- Drinking water: no
- Transit Access: sparse at best
- Parking: free parking at various trailheads (see map below)
- Night Access: 24 hr access but no lighting
- Special Features: there are farms with livestock along the trail in many places, please make sure your dog is leashed or fully under your control; no motorized vehicles are allowed on the trail which makes for a safer experience; if you encounter someone on horseback and need to pass, make sure they know you are coming and ask before passing – give plenty of room around the horse
- Nearby Attractions: Kinsol Trestle – historic wooden trestle bridge that was fully restored in 2015; City of Duncan – home to the Totem Pole Trail, which winds through downtown, and several good restaurants and cafes
I mostly run along the section that runs close to Highway 18. It’s a pretty secluded area. On sunny weekends you’ll find a few people and cyclists and even some on horseback. But on a weekday morning I pretty much have the place to myself.