A few months ago we sat down and created a wish list of all the things we would like to see and do on Vancouver Island this Spring and Summer. At more than 20 places the list turned out to be quite extensive. While I doubt we will be able to tick off every last request, it gives us some great ideas to work with. Near the top of the list was the Historic Kinsol Trestle, located in the Cowichan Valley.
We decided not to wait until the fair weather months to get started on our list, and instead got to it right away. We packed the kids bikes, our camera, and an overly eager dog and made the trek out to Shawnigan Lake (the location the Kinsol Trestle is closest too). It was an overcast day, but the threat of rain didn’t dampen our spirits. We were bound and determined to view this much awaited sight no matter what the weather did!
Was it worth the anticipation?
The Kinsol Trestle is truly an amazing structure.
A Few Interesting Facts
- The Kinsol Trestle is one of the tallest free-standing and most spectacular timber rail trestle structures in the world. It is 614 feet in length and stands 145 feet above the Koksilah River
- The Trestle was officially finished being built in 1920 (construction started in 1911)
- Although designed by engineers, it was built by local farmers and loggers
- After years of neglect and vandalism, from 1999 – 2010 the CVRD was commissioned
to restore the Kinsol Trestle for park use
- 2012 marked the grand reopening of the Kinsol Trestle, which is now used as part of the Cowichan Valley Trail
And what a trail it is!
The hard packed gravel is perfect for bike riding, for even the littlest of riders, and would definitely be considered stroller and wheel-chair friendly. And with only 1.2 km’s from the parking lot to the Trestle, it is also a relatively short jaunt.
On the other side of the bridge there is a short Forest Trail that takes you down to the view points below as well as the beautiful Koksilah River. There are a few steeper parts along the trail, so unless your kids are really comfortable using their bike brakes, I recommend walking down. (The Cowichan Trail does continue on as well, if you want to further your walk or bike ride passed the Kinsol Trestle).
Public access is from Shawnigan Lake through to the south end of the Trestle.
From Victoria: From the Trans Canada Highway turn west onto Mill Bay/Shawnigan Lake Road and go all the way into the Village of Shawnigan Lake. Turn right onto Shawnigan Lake Road and follow it until it turns into Renfrew Road. Follow Renfrew road past the end of the Lake to Gleneagles Road and turn right. There is a public parking area about 550 metres down the road on the right hand side.
From Nanaimo: Drive south of Duncan on the Trans Canada Highway and turn west (right) onto Cobble Hill/Shawnigan Lake Road and follow it all the way to Shawnigan Lake. Turn right onto Renfrew Road and follow the road past the end of the Lake to Gleneagles Road and turn right. There is a public parking area about 550 metres down the road on the right hand side.
Points of Interests Along the Way
For an added bonus during your travels along Renfrew Road, I suggest taking a quick detour into the absolutely gorgeous grounds of Shawnigan Lake School. And if you are without children during your drive to the Kinsol Trestle, there are a few great wineries in the Cobble Hill area as well!
Have you been to the Kinsol Trestle? What was your impression? Let us know in the comment section below!