Visit Once, Stay for A Lifetime
This is life in the Cowichan Valley…
Living in the Cowichan Valley is a dream come true on Canada’s West Coast. This is where a rugged sense of adventure is born, and where wilderness and wildlife reign supreme. The best part? You can easily make it your life!
It’s really no surprise why people visit with so many things to do in the Cowichan Valley, and why they decide to start living here. Whether you want an action-packed adventure, a relaxing date with nature, or an opportunity to reconnect with friends and family, you’ll find it all right here.
What does living here look like to us? With so many things to do in the Cowichan Valley, this is everything that makes living in the here rarely boring, often spectacular, and always a dream…
We’re known as the “Napa of the North,” and with good reason! Cowichan wineries, cideries, distilleries, and craft breweries can be found all over! We didn’t invent the term “cheers,” but you’ll find yourself saying it here a lot.
Bays, lakes, islands, and more! Living in the Cowichan Valley is a boater’s dream. You’ll be able to enjoy day after day out on the water, with easy opportunity to appreciate the gorgeous vistas, the stunning wildlife, or the relaxing rhythm of the waves under your hull.
Cast off, enjoy the ocean sounds, and try some of the Cowichan Valley’s fishing opportunities. Head to the Cowichan River for world-famous steelhead, the Cowichan Bay for the protected waters to enjoy prawning, crabbing, and even fantastic salmon fishing all around. Want to cast off? This is the place.
The sheer number of trails across the Cowichan Valley are astounding – you can spend days, weeks, even months traversing them all. It’s no wonder why people move here simply to take a hike. Stroll around lakes, cycle down forested paths, or climb your way through one of the “extreme” trails – but more on those later…
It’s great to live in a place where a little rest and relaxation aren’t limited to your backyard. Thanks to the relatively mild climate, the Cowichan Valley is home to some stunning golf courses. There’s no doubt this is a great place for getting out on the green.
Arts & Culture
It’s not only natural beauty! The Cowichan Valley has been inhabited for thousands of years, and we’re not quick to forget about our past. From totem poles and carvings, to sweaters and wooden trestles, there are reminders of our rugged past (and bright future) all over this great land.
Sound like a lot? When you’re living in the Cowichan Valley, every day can be a new adventure. There’s an incredible amount of things to do in the Cowichan Valley, in communities that are just as easy to call home as they are to explore.
Take A Hike
The trail system in the Cowichan Valley is simply amazing. The network of trails runs across the mountains, along the rivers, past man-made and natural landmarks, and even connects the iconic Trans Canada Trail (which stretches across the nation).
What will you find when you hit the trails? Some of our favourites include the Cross Trail and Stoney Hill or maybe Skutz Falls, or cross the Kinsol Trestle (don’t look down if you’re scared of heights). You can also bike along these same trails, or take the ferry to Thetis Island or Salt Spring Island and do some more exploring.
Here’s just a taste of some of some of our favourite trails in the area….
We should all love where we live, and knowing it like the back of your hand is a nice bonus – that’s where we come in. We pride ourselves on our area knowledge and want to help you learn more about the charming hamlets that make up the rest of the Cowichan Valley…
Duncan is a quaint city in the heart of the Cowichan Valley and the Business Hub of the area, featuring plenty of local art and iconic totem poles. The highlight of this community has to be the Duncan farmers’ market. Stretching across blocks of the downtown core, this is the place for locals and visitors alike to find everything they need that’s farm fresh and delicious; open every Saturday!
Maple Bay is an area that is defined by adventure. From here, you can hike to the top of Mount Tzouhalem (from the south) and appreciate the sweeping views of Cowichan Bay – with eagles soaring above and crystal clear water below. With views like these, it’s really no wonder why Maple Bay has been a popular destination for settlers stretching as far back as the late 1800s. To the North is the majestic Maple Mountain offering outstanding hiking and mountain biking. Maple Bay is also home to two marinas and the yacht club.
Home to boutique cheese shops, fish mongers, ice cream shops, cafes, and more, Cowichan Bay is a picturesque village where life is known for moving at its own pace. Stroll the waterfront, get yourself a kayak, and consider taking a whale watching tour to admire the orcas, sea lions, grey whales, and porpoises galore.
Cobble Hill is all about old fashioned country life. Here you’ll find a network of scenic hiking and mountain biking trails that make up Cobble Hill Mountain. There’s also the iconic Cobble Hill Fair, which takes place each August and is over 100 years old. With local farms, estate cideries, and delightful hillsides, Cobble Hill is a glorious return to simpler living that you’re sure to enjoy.
This cozy community has become a wonderful spot for beachcombing, swimming, sailing, fishing, rowing, and more. Not only that, but you can find one of the best places to store your boat in the area at the Mill Bay Marina (which also features a great restaurant – the Bridgemans Bistro). Locals will also tell you to take the ferry ride to Brentwood Bay and back, often referred to as “Vancouver Island’s most beautiful shortcut,” which is easily worth the trip.
Rugged beauty, bordering a gorgeous lake, it’s no wonder why people love calling Shawnigan Lake home. Not only will you find local restaurants, cafes, and a charmingly artistic museum, but the restored Kinsol Trestle (one of the most fantastic wooden railway trestles in the entire world) which can be found by following the iconic Cowichan Valley Trail.
Chemainus’ story is one of reinvention and reinvigoration. This town used to be the site of the fishing, mining, and forestry industry in the area, but repositioned itself with a focus on local artwork, history, and culture. Nowadays, you’ll find stunning murals, jazz festivals, theatre, and plenty of food and drink on offer – all you have to do is visit Waterwheel Park once to see what we mean.
Another quaint seaside town, Crofton can be found directly across from Salt Spring Island. The communities are linked by the local ferry, which you can take and peer out across the water to see orcas, sea lions, and beautiful views. Most of all, Crofton is known for its boardwalk, which winds along the shore with some of the prettiest views in the area.
Located where the lake meets the Cowichan River, Lake Cowichan is home to some great hiking, camping, and fishing on the island. Cowichan Lake offers 26 kilometres of lake, regarded as the best on Vancouver Island. You can also hike the Trans Canada Trail from here, which goes all the way into Duncan. There are historical sights, like a schoolhouse from 1925, and plenty of local charm to make your stay here more than memorable. You can also find close access to incredible fishing at Port Renfrew.
Want to start living in the Cowichan Valley?
It’s equal parts a beautiful dream, a work of art, and a whole other world. The best part is that it can become your community! The Cowichan Valley is where we live, work, and play, and we’ll help you do the same.