Lake Cowichan

A destination made for sunny summer fun!

Cowichan Lake is situated on the southern half of Vancouver Island, halfway between the Island’s east and west coasts.

Twenty-seven kilometres from the town of Duncan, the lake is an ideal vacation destination with its temperate weather and many beaches and trails.

Take advantage of swimming, boating, kayaking, water skiing and canoeing. Camp in one of the many campgrounds, or take part in one of the many events hosted by the local townships every summer.

The Cowichan River has also become increasingly popular over the years. River enthusiasts often park in Lake Cowichan and ride inner tubes or inflatable rafts to Little Beach.

Lake Cowichan is the largest community at the lake, with roughly half of the area’s 7,000 residents. It has an abundance of accommodations including hotels, cottage rentals, bed and breakfasts, and plenty of camping, and an array of stores, restaurants and other services.


  • Cowichan Lake is 34 kilometres long and is one of the largest bodies of fresh water on Vancouver Island.
  • Before settlers arrived, local First Nation bands from both the east and west coasts of Vancouver Island used Lake Cowichan for fishing and hunting and utilized the area’s large cedars for building canoes.
  • In the 1950s the Civil Defense Organization decided that the Cowichan Lake station was sufficiently remote to provide a safe refuge for the cabinet in case a serious threat of atomic bomb attack occurred.
  • The lake is known for the legend of the First Nations lake monster known as Stin’qua. One story has it that the serpent-like Stin’qua consumed a canoe and three young Indian women as they were returning across the South arm from Bald Mountain. 1930: Reported the sighting of a serpent-like creature in the waters of Cowichan Lake


The Cowichan Lake area sits in the midst of a temperate rain forest, making for lots of rain in the winter and lots of sun in the summer.

Destination BC is developing a new campaign to promote hyper-local travel where residents are “tourists-in-their own hometown,” while practising the COVID-19 safety protocols as recommended by the B.C. Provincial Health Officer. Many B.C. parks are now open, and national parks were to open as of June 1.

(Check this website for current details on travel.)

Getting here

Ferry: Take BC Ferries from Tsawwassen to Sidney which is about an hour drive from Cowichan. From North Vancouver, consider the BC Ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo.

Flying: Victoria International Airport (YYJ) or The Nanaimo Airport (YCD) are the nearest airports.

Vehicle: From Victoria take Trans-Canada Hwy/BC-1 N to Lake Cowichan. For a longer road trip experience take the scenic route to Cowichan with the Pacific Marine Circle.

For more visit WestCoastTraveller or Lake Cowichan Gazette

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