Kinsol Trestle to Glenora Trailhead (14.4km)

Old rail grade with tracks and ties removed, with an historic trestle crossing, following gravel path and service roads through second growth forest and alongside small farms.

Footpath, cyclists and equestrian equestriancyclisthiker

The Trail

The trail follows an old rail grade that is wide, clear, and well graded and on which the tracks and ties have been removed. The first 4 or 5 km to the crossing at Mountain Rd. are now a crushed gravel bed suitable for hiking, cycling, and horseback. After this the route follows unpaved roads, some sections are gated service roads, others accessible by public road. The trail passes through private second growth forest lands, some new clear-cut logging, and small farms. The grade is very level, with a slight downgrade heading north and west behind Cobble Hill. The 12 km from Kinsol Trestle to Glenora Trail Head has a total elevation drop of 50m.


Typical trail scenes in these three photographs.

the-trail-8 the-trail-6

The Kinsol Trestle, passable to hikers, cyclists, and horses, crosses the Koksilah River about a kilometer from the parking lot. This is a year round river, with some nice swimming holes. A number of seasonal creeks are crossed on the remainder of the trail, all with bridges suited to hikers, cyclists, and horseback.

Mountain Rd. is a logging road that crosses the trail about 4 km from the parking lot. This road can be accessed from Highway 1 by turning left at Koksilah Rd, about 6km north of Cobble Hill. You have to follow a number of minor rural roads through small farms and private forest lands to get to this crossing. I don’t recommend it. The next public road access is at Waters Rd. – other roads in between are private drives for the most part.


Bridges are well built and suitable for all users.

Victoria, Shawnigan Lake, and Cobble Hill are possible supply points for the south end of this trail. None of these are within reasonable hiking distance to the trail and driving is required. This trail continues and terminates at its north end at Cowichan Lake, which is a full service community with groceries, fuel, etc.   This section of the trail is not suited to camping, as it passes through private forest lands and small farms.

For picnic or rest stops there is a kiosk with benches and shelter at the north end of the Kinsol Trestle. The Koksilah River at Kinsol Trestle has good swimming if you are willing to hunt up or down the river for a spot that suits you. You can hike down to the river from the trestle. It is not far, but it is steep.

There are no potable sources except at the end in Glenora Trails Head Park. Surface water at Koksilah River Kinsol Trestle year round requires a steep descent to the river. Several small seasonal creeks are found between Kinsol Trestle and Waters Rd. – not recommended for drinking without treatment. Some of these creeks cross small farms with livestock  I wouldn’t drink this even treated.

There is cell phone access at the north and south ends of the trail on the Telus network. The middle section of the trail had no cell phone access.

Driving Directions and GPS Coordinates of Trail Head

From Victoria take the Malahat Highway (Route 1) north towards Duncan. Pass Goldstream Park. Approx. 11 km past Goldstream take the Shawnigan Lake South Rd. exit. Be very careful on this left turn as this stretch of highway has frequent fatal accidents. Stay on Shawnigan Lake Rd. for 6km, then keep left on to West Shawnigan Lake Rd. After 9 km of winding road, turn left on to Renfrew Rd. After 1.9 km, turn right on to Glen Eagles Rd. After 1.6 km, find the parking lot on the right for Kinsol Trestle Park.

 48° 39.57′ N 123° 41.90’W

There is access at another spot:  Waters Road Access : 48 44.78N  123 45.73W


Waters Road Crossing at 11.9km. There is parking for 3-4 cars here.


The Kinsol Trestle parking lot has a capacity of about 35 cars. It is a popular spot in summer, and may fill up on weekends. Additional parking may be possible on the roadside as  it is a quiet dead end road, with little traffic other than trestle goers. There is ample room to turn a larger vehicle or trailer in the lot, depending on how full it is. There is a porta pottie provided here. There is no potable water available at the parking lot.


Parking area at the Kinsol Trestle.

Other links on the web on features along the trail

This section of the VISPINE trail, from the Kinsol Trestle to Cowichan Lake, is part of the Cowichan Valley Trail system, promoted and maintained by the the-trail-3Cowichan Valley Regional district:

The Kinsol Trestle is an historic site, the largest wooden trestle in the Commonwealth of Nations and one of the highest railway trestles in the world.


The Kinsol Trestle.










GPS Coordinates of the ENDPOINT of TRAIL

At Glenora Trails Head parking lot

48° 45.44 N  123° 47.58W


Endpoint of Trail at Glen Trails Head.

As Recorded By M Ister Wyman

April 2017