Vancouver Island: Lake Cowichan to Bamfield

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Lake Cowichan to Bamfield (Hwy 18)

The Rainforest

Traversing the southern part of Vancouver Island, this 100km (63mile) unpaved stretch of road leads to small west coast logging and fishing villages. Along Highway 18, near Cowichan Lake is the Cowichan Valley Demonstration Forest with extensive walking trails offering a self-guided tour explaining the forest and it's management. At the town of Lake Cowichan (28 km or 17 miles west of Highway 1) one road follows the north shore of the lake to Youbou. The southern route passes through Gordon Bay Provincial Park and Honeymoon Bay Wildflower Ecological Reserve where many wildflower species are protected. 19km past Cowichan Lake turn right to Bamfield (65km). To Nitinat Lake and Carmanah Pacific Provincial Park, follow left.

Nitinat Lake:
This lake is a tidal inlet, connected to the ocean by Nitinat Narrows. It is known for thermal winds, making it a windsurfers paradise.

Carmanah Walbran Pacific Provincial Park:
Located about 40 km (25 miles) past Nitinat Lake is the Carmanah Walbran Pacific Provincial Park. A trail from the road leads to Carmanah Creek and onto other trails leading through stunning groves of what are believed to be the world's tallest sitka spruce. The awe-inspiring Carmanah Giant, at 95m (312 feet), may be accessed via steep and muddy hiking.

This fishing village is home of the Bamfield Marine Station, which is maintained for research by five western universities. Bald eagles, stellar sea lions and orcas are just some of the wildlife found here. The West Coast Trail, which is part of Pacific Rim National Park ends here. The hike generally begins at Port Renfrew.

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Vancouver Island: Lake Cowichan to Bamfield