On its way to Youbou

From rails to trails

Rolli Gunderson continues to discuss the history of the railways, detailing how they've been turned into hiking trails.

Continued from last week

After the demise of both the CPR and the CNR railways, the overpass spanning the community of Lake Cowichan and the railway tracks along both rail grades were eventually removed. The question then was “What will happen to the rail grades?” The answer was the eventual transformation of the rail beds to a world class hiking trail.  Known as the Cowichan Valley Trail (CVT), it is the western-most section of the famous Trans-Canada Trail (TCT).  Beginning at the CV Trail terminus in the centre of town, the trails follow the former CPR and CNR railway beds, one on either side of the river. The two trails form a loop that goes as far as Shawnigan Lake and back to Lake Cowichan. The CVT also joins the main TCT near Duncan. A hikers dream, the CVT passes through some of the most beautiful scenery anywhere, including scenic Marie Canyon.

Not all of the old rail line was turned into hiking trails.

A section near the entrance to Youbou, now known as Creekside, was purchased by a land developer and became the site of many lovely homes, some of which are waterfront. Another area of lakefront homes is located nearby on a former section of the CNR rail bed. Other smaller sections within the Town of Lake Cowichan were sold to adjoining property owners. A few homes built along the western section of Park Road are located on a section of the former railway bed between Lake Cowichan and Youbou.  Lake Cowichan’s first roundabout, located at the corner of King George Street, Cowichan and Sahtlam Avenues, is partially located on a section of the former CNR railway bed. The pedestrian footbridge over the Cowichan River near the Duck Pond and South Shore Road was one of the many railway trestles that spanned the river between here and Duncan.

Several other good things came about due to the end of the local railways. The acquisition of the red CNR caboose that forms part of the Kaatza Station Museum’s outdoor train display was greatly appreciated. The caboose was delivered March 27, 1988 by the CN Extra 1000 engine on its final run. Riding in the caboose during the final trip from Youbou to Lake Cowichan was the late Barry Volkers, a stalwart of the Kaatza Historical Society and one of the few residents to be named Freeman of the Town of Lake Cowichan.  Another very important acquisition for the community of Lake Cowichan was obtaining the old CPR train station that now houses the Kaatza Station Museum.

Just Posted

Catch The Real Sarahs as they help open The 39 Days of July

Rising stars in the Americana music scene, The Real Sarahs are making… Continue reading

Drivesmart column: Should I signal?

My stock answer would be along the lines of “Will it hurt?”

Get moving on those tickets or Sunfest might pass you by

If you’re looking to join the huge crowds at Sunfest for Jason… Continue reading

Duncan Tigers strike late, edge Longwood

Gicas brothers score both wins in 2-1 victory

Protesters rally in Victoria over newly approved Trans Mountain pipeline

The Still No Consent! No Trans Mountain! 20 kilometre march will end at Island View Beach

Coming up in Cowichan: Spend Father’s Day fishing, or head to the BC Forest Discovery Centre

Deadline coming to register for class reunion The Cowichan Secondary Class of… Continue reading

Wildfire burning in coastal forest

A fire beside the Sea to Sky Highway is burning up a steep slope

PHOTOS: Event marks one year since soccer team rescued from Thai cave

Nine players and coach took part in marathon and bike event to help improve conditions at cave

Rock climber dies after fall at Stawamus Chief in Squamish

The man had fallen about 30 metres while climbing in the Grand Wall area

Five B.C. students taken to hospital after playing with vaping device

School district said students were taken to hospital ‘out of an abundance of caution’

Being a pot dealer is not what it used to be

Sunday Big Read: the business of selling marijuana in B.C. is a slow bureaucratic slog

VIDEO: Two more pride flags have been stolen from Langley woman

Lisa Ebenal was “angry” and “fed up” after the latest theft. Then people started showing suppport

B.C. couple who has raised 58 children turns to community amid cancer diagnosis

Family who raised, fostered and adopted many kids hoping to gain some precious together time to fight cancer

Most Read