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 Home > Travel BC > BC Cities and Towns > The Islands  > North Cowichan

North Cowichan
The Municipality of North Cowichan is located 50 km (31 miles) south of Nanaimo and 54 km (33.5 miles) north of Victoria on the Vancouver Island portion of the Trans-Canada Hwy 1.

Large District
North Cowichan is quite a large district made up of the communities of Chemainus, Crofton, Genoa Bay, Maple Bay and Westholme plus the land surrounding the town of Duncan referred to as the 'South End.'

Very Picturesque
North Cowichan is very picturesque with the countryside quite varied, ranging from beautiful ocean views, and rural farmland to small mountains surrounding the municipality.

Recreational Activities
With the Cowichan and Chemainus Valleys running through North Cowichan, the various recreational activities that are available are never ending. Hiking, sailing, boating, fishing, scuba diving, hang gliding and mountain biking - they are all excellent.

Nicest Gardens in British Columbia
North Cowichan enjoys a very nice pleasant temperate climate. The winters are short, fairly mild with some rain but not too overly wet. The summer time is quite hot, dry and sunny. The Cowichan Valley is often referred to as the 'Valley of the Sun.' If you enjoy gardening North Cowichan is able to boast some of the nicest gardens in British Columbia.

Chemainus - 'The Little Town that Did'
The community of Chemainus lies within the boundaries of North Cowichan and has the district's greatest tourist attractions in the Chemainus Murals. The 36 murals (2006) were the brainchild of local resident, Karl Schutz, to attract people to Chemainus to stimulate the economy after a series of mill closures in the area.

Askew Creek Wilderness Park
For people who love trees and wild plants visit Askew Creek Wilderness Park in Chemanius. The wilderness park is located between Chemainus Road and Oak Street. Askew Creek has trees over 500 years old, with easy walking paths traversing throughout. The views of nature and the wilderness ecosystem that you will see are awe-inspiring.

Crofton is located just south of Chemanius and north-east of Duncan. Situated here is home to one of the largest employers in the area with the Catalyst Crofton Pulp Mill. There is a BC Ferries terminal located in Crofton with a ferry crossing via Stuart Channel to Vesuvius, Salt Spring Island. There is an excellent waterfront RV Park at Crofton as well as a small museum located at the Visitor Info Centre.

Maple Bay
Located directly east of Duncan is Maple Bay, your escape route to the ocean. Maple Bay is situated near the east side of Mount Tzouhalem with Sansum Narrows in the east with a view of Maxwell Point on Saltspring Island.

Birds Eye Cove
Maple Bay is centrally located for cruising around southern BC. Birds Eye Cove is situated at the southern end of Maple Bay where you can find docks, fuel, a small shipyard plus a general store.

Maple Bay Marina
There is the Maple Bay Marina if you require boat services including moorage for the evening or extended stay. This place makes a good spot to rest and take shelter especially if the weather changes. The marina is also home to a few float homes, marine artifacts and the Maple Bay Marina Pub.

Genoa Bay
Located 9 km (6 miles) farther south of Maple Bay on a no-through very scenic ocean view road is the very small community of Genoa Bay. Most of the residence here are made up of around two dozen or so houses mostly waterfront along the southern end Sansum Narrows near Cowichan Bay. There is also the Genoa Bay Marina, very handy if you require marine services including moorage, general store or a really cool waterfront café.

This small community is located alongside the Trans-Canada Island Hwy 1 between Duncan and Chemanius. Westholme is mostly made up of beautiful farmlands offering mountain landscapes and views. Westholme is situated near the Chemanius River if you wish to fish or swim.

Chemainus River Provincial Park
For people who enjoy fishing or swimming holes there are some places located in Chemainus River Provincial Park. Travel 6 km (4 miles) on Hwy 18 west of Hwy 1 to Hillcrest Payne forestry road. Access to the Chemainus River Provincial Park is off Hillcrest Payne. The trails along the river are unmarked so please practice good hiking habits.

Mount Prevost
As you travel through North Cowichan you can't help noticing the mountain on the west side just north of Duncan. This is Mount Prevost famous for thermal winds rising off the landscape creating perfect conditions for paragliding or hang gliding.

If you enjoy this sport, come and have a look at Mount Prevost - you won't be disappointed. To get here, go down Somenos Road, north of Duncan to Mt. Prevost Road.

Mount Tzouhalem
There is one other mountain that stands as you view the countryside, Mount Tzouhalem. Located in the south-west Mount Tzouhalem offers mountain biking and hiking trails with some excellent panoramic vistas of the landscape. For access go along Maple Road and Genoa Bay Roads.

Finest Wineries and Vineyards
Throughout the Chemanius and Cowichan Valleys are some of British Columbia's finest wineries. The word 'Cowichan' in the local First Nation's language means "the land warmed by the sun" with the quality of grapes being the proof. Take your time and visit some of the wineries or try some wine when you're at a local restaurant when visiting North Cowichan.

Information on North Cowichan

Chemanius Bed & Breakfasts



Map of North Cowichan
click map for larger image

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