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 Home > Travel BC > BC Cities and Towns > The Islands  > Shawnigan Lake

Shawnigan Lake
Shawnigan Lake is located approximately 45 km (28 miles) north of Victoria and 60 km (37 miles) south of Nanaimo off the Trans-Canada Hwy 1.

'Cottage Country'
Known for being a waterfront resort community in south Vancouver Island, Shawnigan Lake has provided a place where people, especially from Victoria, have enjoyed cottages for get-away weekends for over 100 years.

Getting to Shawnigan Lake
There are three main routes for you to take when travelling north from Victoria on Hwy 1 in order to get to the Village of Shawnigan Lake. They are South End Shawnigan Lake Road just south of the Malahat Summit, Shawnigan Lake-Mill Bay Road and the Shawnigan-Cobble Hill Road. Shawnigan Lake is approximately 5 km (3 miles) west of Mill Bay and Hwy 1.

Village of Shawnigan Lake
Once you're at the Village of Shawnigan Lake you can find the Black Swan Pub, various Bed & Breakfasts, Steeples Restaurant, Village Chippery and Mason's Store.

Arts Community
The Village boasts quite an art community with art displays and craft shows taking place regularly. There are also various musical and theatrical events that happen throughout the year, showcasing lots of local talent at the Shawnigan Lake Community Centre.

Mason's Beach Park
Right across the street from Mason's Store is the community beach called Mason's Beach Park. If you don't have a boat but would like to go for a swim, this is a great spot for the kids. Mason's Beach Park features a pebble beach, a grassy area and a log boom that forms a protective zone from the boats. The water is nice and clear and during the summer warms up nicely.

William Rivers Community Park
If you're walking around the Village of Shawnigan Lake, there is a nice park called William Rivers Community Park. Situated next to an E&N Railway bridge, the park features a great place for a picnic, grassy field and an excellent spot for kids to watch some birds.

Waterskiing on Shawnigan Lake
Waterskiing has always been very popular on Shawnigan Lake throughout the years. If you enjoy waterskiing, come try the calm waters that Shawnigan Lake has to offer. One ski club called Victoria Aqua Ski Club uses Shawnigan Lake for competitions so expect to see lots of good skiers on the lake.

West Shawnigan Lake Road
There is a road that goes around the west side of Shawnigan Lake where you can find views of Old Baldy Mountain called the West Shawnigan Lake Road. You can find West Shawnigan Lake Road by travelling north of the community along Shawnigan Lake Road, then west on Renfrew Road or you can also go south on East Shawnigan Lake Road to where it meets West Shawnigan Lake Road.

West Shawnigan Lake Provincial Park
Once on West Shawnigan Lake Road you can find numerous lakefront cottages and West Shawnigan Lake Provincial Park. At West Shawnigan Lake Provincial Park there is a great spot for picnics, grass field and a small beach area.

Memory Island Provincial Park
Shawnigan Lake also features a small island that is home to Memory Island Provincial Park. This day-use only park features nature viewing of small plants and animals plus a small picnic area near the beach. The easiest way for you to reach here is to put your boat, canoe or kayak in at West Shawnigan Lake Park.

Outdoor Recreation
The whole Shawnigan Lake area has great outdoor recreation from fishing, canoeing, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing whitewater kayaking, horseback riding, 4x4 adventures and motorcycling especially around the backroads off Renfrew Road. There are also some hiking and walking trails available with a favourite trip up Old Mount Baldy one of the local mountains.

Koksilah River Provincial Park
Make sure you take the time and visit Koksilah River Provincial Park. Just 7 km (4.4 miles) from Shawnigan Lake along Renfrew Road, the Koksilah River Provincial Park features good hiking, mountain biking, fishing and a nice little swimming hole. There are numerous trails throughout the forest offering some great wildlife viewing opportunities.

Trans-Canada Trail
The Trans-Canada Trail is located on the west side of the lake. Watch for the signs to access routes onto the trail along West Shawnigan Lake Road. Once on the trail you can either ride south towards the starting point on Sooke Lake Road or north towards the Kinsol Trestle.

Kinsol Trestle
At one time the largest wooden railway trestle in the British Commonwealth, the Kinsol Trestle was the property of Canadian National Railway. Built in 1921 this engineering feat made out of wooden timbers spans the Koksilah River Canyon and is 187.6 metres (615 feet) long and 38.1 metres (125 feet) high. Used to service the forestry industry and the famed King Solomon's Mines, the bridge eventually succumbed to years of wear.

Kinsol Trestle Revitalized
The Kinsol Trestle was closed due to poor shape until 2011 when it was re-opened to the public after a major project revitalizing the bridge with a new capital through the Cowichan Regional District, funding and donations.

Getting to Kinsol Trestle
You can get to Kinsol Trestle by travelling from the Village of Shawnigan Lake north to Renfrew Road. Take Renfrew Road until Glen Eagles Road, turn right towards the north until Shelby Road then right again and look left for a small parking area. Look for the railbed which is the Trans-Canada Trail. Once at the trail there is a quite a walk over the trestle.

Cobble Hill
There are lots of exploring around Shawnigan Lake. Another community in the Cowichan Valley Regional District called Cobble Hill is located close by. Cobble Hill features various vineyards and wine tours available during various months throughout the year.

Quarry Regional Wilderness Park
Cobble Hill also has a great walk up the Cobble Mountain Trail which is located in Quarry Regional Wilderness Park. Once up at the top, you will have a great panoramic view of the valley below.

Information on Shawnigan Lake



Map of Shawnigan Lake
click map for larger image


Shawnigan Lake
Shawnigan Lake


Mason's Beach Park
Mason's Beach Park


William Rivers Community Park
William Rivers Community Park


Mason's Beach Park
Mason's Beach Park


Old Mount Baldy
Old Baldy Mountain


Shawnigan Lake Museum
Shawnigan Lake Museum


View from Old Mount Baldy
View from Old Mount Baldy


Koksilah River Provincial Park
Koksilah River Provincial Park


Koksilah River Provincial Park
Koksilah River Provincial Park


Kinsol Trestle
Kinsol Trestle Before Revitalizing Project


Kinsol Trestle
Kinsol Trestle before Revitalizing Project



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