The Pacific Marine Circle Tour is an excellent way to explore the historic West Coast of Vancouver Island. The wilderness route traces the coastline from Victoria through Sooke and Port Renfrew, continuing onto the Cowichan Valley and looping back down the Trans-Canada Highway via Duncan to Victoria.
Location: The Cowichan Valley is located on southern Vancouver Island, on the north side of the Malahat mountain north of Victoria. Trans Canada Highway 1 connects Victoria to the Cowichan Valley. The most westerly section of the 4,850-mile (7809-km) Trans-Canada Highway 1 runs north-south through southern Vancouver Island between Victoria and Nanaimo, a distance of 70 miles (113 km). Highway 19 runs 22 miles (35 km) north of Nanaimo to Parksville, and beyond to the northern end of Vancouver Island. Highway 18 is an 18-mile (29-km) stretch of blacktop that runs east-west from Highway 1 through the Cowichan Valley between Duncan and Youbou. From Youbou a series of logging roads leads 67 miles (108 km) west to Bamfield on the west coast of Vancouver Island.
A ferry service from Brentwood Bay on the Saanich Peninsula to Mill Bay at the north end of Malahat Drive also connects with Highway 1 (Brentwood Bay/Mill Bay Ferry). BC Ferries connects the Lower Mainland with Nanaimo’s Departure Bay from the Horseshoe Bay terminal in West Vancouver, and Duke Point from the Tsawwassen terminal in Delta.
The following towns are located in the Cowichan Valley:
The former coastal mill town of Chemainus transformed itself into the world’s largest outdoor art gallery, capturing and expressing its history, its people and its future on huge heritage murals painted on the sides of buildings, attracting visitors from around the world.
Surrounded by a picturesque landscape, the tiny farming village of Cobble Hill is a creative community boasting galleries run by local artists, including painters, sculptors, potters and totem pole carvers.
The village of Cowichan Bay and the surrounding area is home to a host of artists, craftspeople, and cottage industries – including some fine local wineries.
Cowichan Station is a small community located west of the Island Highway, near Whippletree Junction, established in 1885 as a stop-off for the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway. Cowichan Station was built to service settlers living in the area, as well as the logging and copper mine operations located on Mount Sicker and Mount Prevost.
Cradled by verdant hillsides and surrounding mountains, the active community of Crofton is situated on the calm waters of Osborne Bay, with great views of Saltspring Island a short ferry ride across the channel.
Duncan is the civic centre of the Cowichan Valley and the traditional home of the Coast Salish First nation. Known as the City of Totems, Duncan boasts over 41 distinctive hand-carved cedar poles on public display in parks and downtown streets.
Genoa Bay is a quiet and picturesque bay on the north side of Cowichan Bay, at the south end of Sansum Narrows. The Genoa Bay Marina is a rustic hideaway full of old wooden sailboats – an interesting place to visit and relax.
The small farming community of Glenora is nestled in the Cowichan Valley, near Duncan. About two-thirds of Glenora is devoted to vineyards and farming, while the remainder supports rural and residential lifestyles. There are approximately 250 homes and businesses in Glenora.
Honeymoon Bay is a quaint little town on the southeastern shore of Cowichan Lake. The town offers beautiful views of Bald Mountain, RV campsites, and the popular Gordon Bay Provincial Park.
Ladysmith is a spirited and picturesque community with many of its original heritage buildings recently restored. Visitors travelling the Island Highway can stop at Ladysmith and take a stroll along First Avenue for a look at the turn-of-the century buildings.
Cowichan Lake is one of the largest bodies of freshwater on Vancouver Island, at over 30km long. The town of Lake Cowichan is the gateway to some of the most spectacular camping and hiking available on the island. The south arm of the lake is a heat trap, boasting the highest average summer maximum temperatures in Canada – over 24 degrees Celsius!
Travelling north from Victoria, Malahat Drive climbs through imposing mature forests and over rugged mountainside before dropping down into the Cowichan Valley. The Malahat is of great ceremonial significance to the Malahat First Nation, whose ancestors used the caves for spiritual enchancement. The mountain is one of the most sacred sites on southern Vancouver Island.
Maple Bay is a pretty seaside community that bustles with marine activity all year round. Located in a narrow inlet and surrounded by smooth, pebbled beaches, Maple Bay offers one of the finest natural harbours on the West Coast.
The small community of Mesachie Lake is located on the south shore of Cowichan Lake. Mesachie Lake was a mill town from 1942 to 1968, and has since been transformed into a tranquil country lifestyle community, surrounded by mountains, waterways, and rural woodlands.
Located at the south end of the Cowichan Valley, travellers on the Island Highway can stop in at Mill Bay and enjoy the village’s quiet waterfront streets and wonderful Gulf Island views.
Shawnigan Lake is a fashionable summer recreation and cottage area, and a favourite weekend getaway spot. The Village is a well-known venue for arts and craft shows, and hosts a small but excellent museum.
The small community of Westholme is located alongside the Island Highway, between Chemainus and Duncan, offering beautiful farmlands and mountain landscapes.
The beautiful little community of Youbou is located on the north shore of Cowichan Lake, west of Duncan and a 25-minute drive west of the community of Lake Cowichan. The former mill town provides a good public beach and extensive recreational opportunities, including fishing, boating and hiking.
FarOut Wilderness is an outdoor adventure travel company specializing in overland vehicle rentals and tailor-made itineraries in British Columbia. We use our local knowledge and experience to transform your ideas into an authentic and unique adventure.
Our self-drive itineraries allow you to explore off the beaten track at your own pace. We provide you with the resources to re-connect with nature and most importantly each another. All of our vehicles are fully insured for driving on unpaved roads and are equipped with a rooftop tent, camping equipment and GPS Messenger service.
FarOut Wilderness operates in all seasons and has one pet friendly vehicle. We offer complimentary vehicle collection and drop off at the following locations: Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal, Victoria Airport, Victoria Downtown, Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal, Vancouver Downtown, and Vancouver Airport. If you have another collection or drop off location in mind, please contact us!
Careers and Jobs at BCjobs.ca
BCJobs.ca enables job seekers and employers to connect with each other. Search for employment opportunities throughout BC or apply for and post BC jobs and resumes. Use the internet as a resource to find that dream job, including accounting jobs, administration jobs, construction, manufacturing, customer service, sales, marketing, financial, technical, technology, health care, tourism, retail and more… all in British Columbia.
Waterfront West Real Estate
Waterfront West is the first and only marketplace dedicated exclusively to buyers and sellers of waterfront and water view real estate in British Columbia. Advertising Realtors’ listings, private sales and developments, we are pioneering the market for this prime real estate. Featuring private and brokered sales, waterfront developments and a complimentary Buyers’ Club.
Genoa Bay Marina offers lush tree-lined shores, towering vistas, and sheltered moorage. Our prices are affordable, and our services include Transient and Permanent Moorage, a General and Marine Store, Car and Video/DVD rental, Laundry, Showers and Washrooms, Fax service, Postal services, Internet and email access, and the Genoa Bay Cafe. Shipwright and Mechanical services are also available.
The BC Oceanfront Real Estate Team Shelley McKay Personal Real Estate Corporation and Ed Handja Personal Real Estate Corporation
ROYAL LEPAGE Advance Realty Campbell River 972 Shoppers Row Campbell River BC V9W 2C5 Phone: 250-286-3293Fax: 250-286-1932Toll Free: 1-888-286-1932Cell Phone: 1-250-830-4435 Shelley CellCell Phone: 1-250-287-0011 Ed Celltheteam@bcoceanfront.comVisit Website
It’s a Coastal Lifestyle … Live It!
Specializing in marketing and selling local residential, recreational, unique oceanfront and commercial real estate throughout Campbell River, northern Vancouver Island, Discovery Islands, the Outer Islands and the BC Mainland Coast. Our real estate listings include homes to small oceanfront and lakefront recreational lots, private islands, remote island acreages, fishing lodges, wilderness / adventure resorts and vacation homes, oceanfront / lakefront cabins, marinas, remote & timbered acreages, and development investment properties on the west coast of BC and Vancouver Island – BCO has the Coast covered!
The BC Oceanfront Real Estate Team loves to bring people to the coast and introduce people to the coastal lifestyle. All members of the team live an active coastal lifestyle, and they bring that passion for the coast to all that they do. Shelley and Ed both have their own boats and are very familiar with the many different regions surrounding central and northern Vancouver Island. With a team behind you, you can be sure that someone is always at hand to answer questions and lend assistance.
The Genoa Bay Cafe offers a fine selection of Pacific Rim cuisines, featuring fresh seafood from local waters, meats, produce and poultry from the farms of the Cowichan Valley, and the relaxed ambience of a waterfront setting at the Genoa Bay Marina. The Genoa Bay Cafe guarantees a unique and memorable experience. Open 7 days a week.
Malahat Mountain Meadows RV Park
Malahat Mountain Meadows RV Park and Campground is located 26 kms north of Victoria near the summit of the Malahat Drive. Our quiet and natural resort offers private and scenic campsites, and 63 spacious, fully-serviced RV sites nestled amongst giant cedars and seasonal creeks – either warm and sunny or deeply shaded lots. Amenities include clean washrooms with hot showers, and much more.
Our goal is to make campers as comfortable as possible during their stay in the Greater Victoria area. Head south to Victoria or north to explore the beautiful Cowichan Valley and the rest of Vancouver Island beyond. Come visit Malahat Mountain Meadows RV park and campground today! Quiet and natural!
EMR is a fully licensed Travel Agency offering fully furnished vacation homes, condos, suites, and estates in Victoria, Vancouver, Tofino, Whistler, the Okanagan, and on Vancouver Island. We have a large inventory of unique properties to select from. This includes properties that feature oceanfront, beach front, breathtaking views, private hot tubs, luxurious settings and more.