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perto de Lake Cowichan, British Columbia (Canada)
Cowichan Lake and Lake Cowichan Village are landmark locations for adventure bicycling into the interior, for example to and from Port Renfrew.
The current track follows the North Branch of the Cowichan Valley Rail trail to the Town of Duncan, on to the seaside Village of Cowichan Bay, and to the Bamberton - Brentwood Bay Ferry (65 km). The segment from Lk. Cowichan to Duncan is light gravel to hard pack forest trail. the rest is rural paved roads and minor highways. However, there is an unavoidable 6-km or less segment on the Transcanada Highway when approaching Mill Bay from the north.
From Brentwood Bay its an additional 22 km of road bicycling to Swartz Bay and the Tsawwassen or Gulf Island Ferries.
The Marina is on Cowichan Lake to the west of Lake Cowichan Village. There are mostly power boats, many equipped for live aboard, with a few small sailing yachts. The docks are accessible for pedestrians.
The Museum grounds have lots of relics from the old rail logging days, including a log train locomotive and a crew car with engine. There is access to a dock on Cowichan River from Saywell Park.
Most of the restaurants and accommodation are in this area, including Tim Hortons (the only early opening breakfast place on the day). The logging truck haul route passes here, heading towards mills on the coast.
Following the paved road close to the river bank, some river views open up.
Typical trail conditions.
Most bikes can handle the light gravel conditions on the Northern branch of the Cowichan Valley Rail Trail.
A large vocalising raven was roosting on a tree branch 5 meters above the center of the trail near here. Waiting for a suitable target?
Ducks and a beaver house seen from the trail.
Foot access only, about 15 minutes round trip.
This is one of the most scenic spots on the route, with reflections of the forest on the still dark pond surface. There is a picnic table on the northern edge of the pond.
Bullfrogs are very vocal, Great Blue Herons swoop in to feed
There is a short steep decent down to the bridge.
The north branch of the Cowichan Valley Trail spits off here. Not explored on this route.
End of gravel trail. Track turns east along Sherman Road towards the Somenos Marsh area
A recognized special bird area, with picnic tables and an elevated boardwalk.
Gravel bike trails in this area are more extensive than those on this track, and there is an option to connect with the Cowichan Bay Road, bypassing downtown Duncan.
Next, this track heads into downtown Duncan for an interesting lunch break and tour of the town core. Part of the way to central Duncan is off road.
Town streets are bicycle friendly. There are traditional small town cafes or more exotic options for a lunch stop. At least one cafe has an open outdoor deck.
Commemorates the arrival of early colonial pioneers at the head of Cowichan Bay.
Historically one of the richest salmon fishing grounds on the west coast. Not surprising the colonial settlers landed here.
Lots of water view cafes, guesthouses, a hotel. Busy with visitors in the summer.
The hill heading south on the east edge of town is long with a maximum grade section.
The track follow the wide marked shoulder of the Trans Canada Highway for approx 6 km to the turnoff for Mill Bay and the Bamberton Ferry. There are smaller quiet rural roads to the east that could reduce this highway segment, but it is still necessary to get on the highway a bit. The highway is straight and fast, with a long ~40 km/hr downhill to Mill Bay turnoff. It's possible to experience what a longer Trans Canada cycle might be like.
The terminal waypoint on this track.
Ferry service every approx 1 hour and 10 minutes to Brentwood Bay on the Saanich Peninsula. From Brentwood Bay it's a 21 km road bike to the Swartz Bay Ferry along Stelly's Crossroad and the Lochside Trail.