River Provincial Park
Cowichan River Provincial Park is located approximately 25 km (16
miles) west of Duncan
near the small community of Lake
This park is especially popular during the summer and is comprised
of a number of pools along a 27 km (17 mile) corridor on the Cowichan
River. Cowichan River Provincial Park also offers the visitor
two separate campgrounds one at Stoltz Pools, and the other at Skutz
Falls, plus providing access to the Cowichan River Footpath and
the Trans-Canada Trail.
to Lake Cowichan
The easiest way to access Cowichan River Provincial Park coming
from Hwy 1 is to take the Hwy 18 exit for Lake Cowichan and travel
west following the directional signs located on the highway. Once
at either Stoltz Pools or Skutz Falls, the rest of the park is easily
accessible along Skutz and Riverbottom Roads.
There are also a large number of recreational opportunities in the
park including the very popular summertime pastime of tubing and
swimming on the river. The park also offers opportunities for white-water
kayaking, cycling and horseback riding on the Trans-Canada Trail
and hiking the Cowichan River Footpath which has fly-fishing available.
River Swimming Holes
The swimming holes found along the Cowichan River at Stoltz Pools
and Skutz Falls are also very different. The swimming hole at Stoltz
Pool is safer, shallower, has a gravel beach and is more suited
for young children. The swimming hole at Skutz Falls is deeper,
rocky and the water is swifter with some rapids, more suited to
teenagers and younger adults.
There is only one campground which is located at Stoltz Pools. The
campground is more suited for small kids with the sites being larger
and more private.
The swimming hole at Stoltz Pool is located by a short walk from
the campground on the Stoltz Pool Loop Trail. The swimming area
features several gravel beach areas and shallower water that is
well suited for younger children. There are pools around but they
tend to be smaller than and not quite as deep as those found at
Skutz Falls. If you can, try and view the Burma Star Memorial Cairn
located along the Stoltz Pool Loop Trail.
Tubing along the Cowichan River especially from Skutz Falls to Marie
Canyon is absolutely incredible. This 2.5 km (1.6 miles) trip takes
from between 2-3 hours depending on water flow let out at the weir
in Lake Cowichan. Skutz Falls and Marie Canyon offer excellent swimming
and have ample vehicle parking for transporting back and forth if
You can also tube from Marie Canyon to Stoltz Pool. Unfortunately
because of some dangerous rapids, you cannot tube through Marie
Canyon from Skutz Falls. You have to start below a rocky shelf and
shoreline at Marie Canyon. It is a good idea that you have proper
footwear or water shoes when walking at the river's edge and unusual
rock formation at Marie Canyon.
For people who enjoy cycling the Trans-Canada Trail happens to pass
right through Cowichan River Provincial Park. The trail has been
designed to use the abandoned Canadian National Railway right-of-way
on the south side of Cowichan River.
of 2010 Trail
The trail part of the Spirit of 2010 Trail Legacy goes through the
park starting at Holt Creek Trestle in the south at Glenora by the
Cowichan Fish and Game Association. From here it travels north through
lush forest to Skutz Falls over a number of trestles spanning the
Cowichan River. Once out of the park, the trail eventually goes
to Lake Cowichan and makes a loop back to Duncan on the abandoned
CPR non-maintained E&N right-of-way.
Another trail that meanders along in the park is the Cowichan River
Footpath. Also starting near the Cowichan Fish and Game Association
in Glenora with access points throughout the park, the 20 km (13.5
miles) hiking trail provides you with opportunities for some great
The Cowichan River, declared a 'Provincial Heritage River,' is noted
for great angling opportunities. The best angling, especially fly-fishing,
is found during the colder months with species found including Cutthroat,
Rainbow and Brown Trout plus Coho, Chinook, Chum and Steelhead Salmon.
If you are planning to use a campground at Cowichan River Provincial
Park reservations are accepted for Stoltz Pool campground only from
May 15 to Sept 8. If reservations are full, try coming during the
week as the park fills up quickly during the weekend. Reservations
can be made through Discover Camping with the park managed and serviced
by RLC Enterprize Ltd.
on the Cowichan River