Cowichan Lake Section

From Lake Cowichan town the Great Trail/Trans Canada Trail crosses to the north side of the Cowichan River valley and retreats eastward, en-route to Nanaimo.  But the Vancouver Island Trail leaves the Great Trail at Lake Cowichan and is now routed to the west along the north side of Cowichan Lake via Youbou and Kissinger Lake/Campsite to the Tuck Lake trailhead.

To avoid hiking or biking North Shore Main, which can be very dusty in the summer, a hiker could alternatively use/hire some sort of water transport to reach Heather campsite at the west end of Cowichan Lake.  VITA is currently working to arrange such a service along the Lake.  If you do canoe or kayak along the lake, keep in mind that like many large B.C. lakes, it is often windy and the waves are substantial particularly from later morning through the afternoon; early morning and evening are typically the best times to paddle.

Here is a GPS file in gpx format – showing the north side route – updated May 2021:    Download