Fire Restrictions in Effect for this Park
Activites and Facilities Available in this Park - Click icon to view
Activities Available at this Park
Facilities Available at this Park
Park Contact This park proudly operated by:
K2 Park Services Ltd.
E-mail: k2parks@shaw.ca
Phone: 877 559-2115

Click here to view K2 Park Services’ Webpage, for more information.

Cowichan River Provincial Park

Updated December 8, 2014
  • Temporary trail closures for construction will be occurring from October 23, 2014 through to December 31, 2014.

About This Park

Cowichan River Provincial Park If it’s outdoor recreation you’re after, Cowichan River Provincial Park on southern Vancouver Island is the place to go. Whether you want to go swimming, canoeing, white-water kayaking, tubing, camping, fishing or hiking, or just want to take it easy in the sun, you’re bound to find something to do in this “recreation corridor” south of Duncan.

This spectacular park protects significant stretches of the Cowichan River, which is designated as both a BC Heritage River and a Canadian Heritage River, and is internationally renowned for its wild salmon and steelhead fishery. Click here to learn more about the Canadian Heritage River designation for the Cowichan River.

The park is adjacent to an abandoned rail right-of-way, which provides recreation opportunities for cyclists, hikers and horseback riders. While staying at the park, visitors can enjoy other features of Cowichan River Provincial Park. These include the historic 20 km long Cowichan River Footpath and a variety of day-use and picnic areas, each with their own unique features and highlights. Visitors won’t want to miss the sights from the restored 66-Mile and Holt Creek Trestles on the Trans-Canada Trail, which offer spectacular river views and the opportunity to imagine back to a time when log-laden traincars would thunder along these tracks high above the Cowichan River.

Park Size: 1,414 hectares

Stay Safe:

Cliffs: Cowichan River Provincial Park contains many areas adjacent to the river with steep drop-offs and overhanging bluffs. Please stay on designated trails and respect signs and railings.

River Course: The Cowichan River has fluctuating water levels and swift currents. Children should be accompanied by an adult when in or near the river. Visitors should also expect natural occurrences such as log jams and sweepers at any point and at any time along the river. Large rapids exist at Marie Canyon and Skutz Falls throughout the year. Information on these hazards and pull-out locations are posted at the park. Visitors wishing to swim, kayak, canoe or float tube in this area must familiarize themselves prior to entering the river.

Visitors recreating within the park should leave a plan of their intended trip, including which trail or area of the park they plan to use, along with arrival and departure times, with a friend or relative.

Campground Dates of Operation
All dates are subject to change without notice
Opening and Closing Campground Dates:
(campground is accessible but may not offer full services such as water, security, etc.)
– Stoltz Pool campground
– Cowichan River group-sites (Horseshoe Bend and Stoltz Pool)
Year round
Campground Dates with Full Services and Fees:  
– Stoltz Pool campground
– Cowichan River group-sites (Horseshoe Bend and Stoltz Pool)
May 15 to October 31
April 1 to October 31

Campground Reservable Dates: Stolz Pool: May 15 to August 31
Cowichan River Group-sites: April 1 to October 30
Total Number of Vehicle Accessible Campsites: Stoltz Pool = 39 drive-in and 4 walk-in
Number of Reservable Campsites, if applicable:
(all remaining sites are first-come, first-served)
Stoltz Pool = 24
Note: The above information is for the campground only. Park users can still walk into the park if conditions such as weather permit. Check the "Attention Visitor Notice" above for park alerts.

Reservations

All campsite and group site reservations must be made through Discover Camping. When reservations are not available all campsites function as first-come, first-served.

Reserve a site

Campsite Reservations:
Campsite reservations are accepted and first-come, first-served sites are also available.

Group Campsite Reservations:
Group campsite reservations are accepted at this park through Discover Camping for dates starting April 1 to October 30.
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Location and Maps

Please note: Any maps listed are for information only – they may not represent legal boundaries and should not be used for navigation. There are three main access points to this Cowichan River Provincial Park:

Skutz Falls Road/West Access: Located off Highway 18, Skutz Falls Road provides access to Skutz Falls day-use area, Horseshoe Bend Group Campsite, Marie Canyon day-use area and the Skutz Falls Trailhead of the Cowichan River Trail. Follow signs from Skutz Falls Road via Cowichan Lake Road and Mayo Road to Riverbottom Road.

Highway 18 Connector/Middle Access: Located off Highway 18, the Highway 18 Connector provides access to the Stoltz Pool campground, group campsite and day-use areas. Follow signs to Riverbottom Road.

Robertson Road/South East Access: Located on Robertson Road in the Glenora area south of Duncan. To access this point proceed west on Glenora Road, turn right onto Vaux Road and continue down Vaux Road, as it leads into Robertson Road. This provides access to the Glenora Trailhead of the Cowichan River Trail.

Maps and Brochures

Please note: Any maps listed are for information only – they may not represent legal boundaries and should not be used for navigation.
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Management Planning

Management Planning Information
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Activities Available at this Park

Canoeing

Canoeing

Canoeing and kayaking are popular in the Stoltz Pool day-use area. Experienced whitewater kayakers may wish to navigate the river between Skutz Falls and Marie Canyon. The river is suitable for year round kayaking, although the best water conditions are from October through to June.

Warning: The Cowichan River has fluctuating water levels and swift currents. Paddlers should also expect natural occurrences such as log jams and sweepers at any point and at any time along the river. Severe rapids exist at Marie Canyon and Skutz Falls throughout the year. Information on these hazards and pull-out locations are posted at the park. Visitors must familiarize themselves prior to entering the river.
Cycling

Cycling

Bicycles must keep to roadways or the Trans-Canada Trail. Bicycles are not permitted on developed hiking trails. Bicycle helmets are mandatory in British Columbia.
Fishing

Fishing

This park offers excellent river fishing opportunities. The Cowichan River is a highly important river because of its variety and abundance of fish species, including coho, Chinook and chum salmon, steelhead and Rainbow, Brown and Cutthroat trout. It is one of only two rivers in British Columbia known to have Brown trout, which was introduced from Scotland in the 1930s.

Spawning salmon are often easily seen during the fall spawning season at Marie Canyon. All fishing is often closed in this section of the river from October to mid-December; specific fishing closures are posted at information shelters within the park.

For up-to-date information, all anglers should check the current regulations issued by from Fisheries and Oceans Canada site (DFO) prior to fishing. Anyone fishing or angling in British Columbia must have an appropriate licence.
Hiking

Hiking

A maze of developed and undeveloped routes offers significant walking and hiking opportunities in and around Cowichan River Provincial Park. Click here for trail descriptions. As emergency aid is not immediately available over much of this trail, please always travel prepared. Basic supplies should include drinking water, a first aid kit and adequate clothing/footwear.
Horseback Riding

Horseback Riding

Horseback riding is permitted on the Trans-Canada Trail.
Pets on Leash

Pets on Leash

Pets/domestic animals must be on a leash and under control all times. You are responsible for their behaviour and must dispose of their excrement. Backcountry areas are not suitable for dogs or other pets due to wildlife issues and the potential for problems with bears.
Scuba Diving

Scuba Diving

Snorkeling and scuba diving in this clear river is becoming more and more popular, as it offers great opportunities for fish viewing.
Swimming

Swimming

Swimming and tubing are popular activities at the Stoltz Pool day-use area and below Skutz Falls.
Warning: The Cowichan River has fluctuating water levels and swift currents. Children should be accompanied by an adult when in or near the river. Visitors should also expect natural occurrences such as log jams and sweepers at any point and at any time along the river. Severe rapids exist at Marie Canyon and Skutz Falls throughout the year. Information on these hazards and pull-out locations are posted at the park. Visitors wishing to swim or float tube in this area must familiarize themselves prior to entering the river. There are no lifeguards at Provincial Parks.
Wildlife Viewing

Wildlife Viewing

River viewing points at Skutz Falls and Marie Canyon are prime locations to watch spawning salmon in the fall, or to have a picnic at the end of a day’s hike. Marie Canyon day-use overlooks the Cowichan River as it surges through a spectacular sheer rock canyon. Skutz Falls offers magnificent views of river rapids and a man-made fish ladder.

The restored 66-Mile and Holt Creek railway trestles along the Trans-Canada Trail offer spectacular river views and the opportunity to imagine back to a time when log-laden traincars would thunder along these tracks high above the Cowichan River.

At Stoltz Pool, the picnic site overlooks the river from a grassy area nestled in a grove of old big leaf maple trees. The Burma Star Memorial Cairn, a replica of the Kohima Monument in Myamar (Burma) is located here. The cairn was erected by the Burma Star Association to commemorate and tell the story of Major Hoey and the Allied Second World War campaign in East Asia.
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Facilities Available at this Park

Boat Launch

Boat Launch

A boat launch suitable for hand-launching only is located at the Stoltz Pool day-use area near the group campsite. Parking is available near the boat launch.
Campfires

Campfires

Campfire rings are provided at each campsite. Firewood can be purchased from the Park Facility Operator. Fees for firewood are set locally and may vary. To preserve vegetation and ground cover, please don’t gather firewood from the area around your campsite or elsewhere in the park. Dead wood is an important habitat element for many plants and animals and it adds organic matter to the soil. You can conserve firewood and air quality by keeping your campfire small. Campfire bans may be implemented. Be prepared to bring a portable stove for cooking.
Drinking Water

Drinking Water

Cold water hand pumps are located at Stoltz Pool and Skutz Falls. It is recommended that you boil, filter or treat this water prior to consumption.
View the Annual Drinking Water System Reports [pdf]: Cowichan Horseshoe Bend group site, Cowichan Stoltz Pool campground, Cowichan Stoltz Pool group site.
Group Camping

Group Camping

There are group campsites at Stoltz Pool and Horseshoe Bend. For reservation information click here.
Stoltz pool group campsite
There is a shelter with two wood stoves inside and picnic tables inside and out. Water is available by a water pump at the site. Beside the shelter is a communal fire pit surrounded by benches. No field area at this site but instead there are 16 tent pads with trails leading to each one. The large gravel parking lot is situated between the river and the group site. Please be cautious of children as the river runs alongside the group site area and can run high and fast during the spring and fall.

Horseshoe Bend group campsite
This site has a shelter and is situated beside Cowichan River amongst the trees. There are 11 tent pads. Parking is in a gravel lot above the site. Vehicles are only allowed to drop off at the shelter and then have to park in the lot. Campers and RVs can camp in the parking lot. The shelter has a sink, wood stoves inside the shelter and picnic tables inside and out. Water is available by a water pump in the group site. Cowichan River is beside the site so watch small children. The river can be dangerous certain times of the year; especially in winter, fall or spring. This is a very private site and beautifully situated.

Youth group camping charges per night are $1/person (6+), with a $50 minimum and $150 maximum.

Regular group camping charges per night are the base rate for the site, which is $70.00/group site/night, plus $4/adult (16+, minimum charge for 15 adults), plus $1/child (6-15).

Picnic Areas

Picnic Areas

There are four day-use areas at Cowichan River Park: The main day-use area at Stoltz Pool, as well as Skutz Falls, Marie Canyon and 66-Mile Trestle.
Group Picnicking Fee: $50.00 per group
  • Stoltz Pool day-use: This day-use/picnicking area is located adjacent to the campground and includes a boat launch, riverside trail, picnicking area with tables, parking, pit toilets, information shelter and an all-purpose playing field. The picnic area overlooks the river from a grassy area nestled in a grove of large maple trees.
  • Skutz Falls day-use: Located at the western trailhead for the Cowichan River Footpath, this site offers parking, pit toilets, picnic tables, a river pull-out and information shelter. This site provides access to the Skutz Falls section of the river, where visitors can watch view spawning salmon.
  • Marie Canyon day-use: Marie Canyon is a popular sit for picnicking and for viewing one of the more spectacular sections of the river. Facilities include parking, pit toilets, an information shelter and a trail down to the canyon bottom.
  • 66-Mile Trestle day-use: Located near the beautiful 66-Mile Trestle on the Trans-Canada Trail, this site offers, parking, pit toilets, picnic tables and an information shelter.
Pit or Flush Toilets

Pit or Flush Toilets

There are several pit toilets available throughout the park.
Vehicle Accessible Camping

Vehicle Accessible Camping

Stoltz Pool Campground - There are 39 drive-in and 4 walk-in sites at the Stoltz Pool campsite, situated in a second-growth Douglas fir stand. All sites are well spaced with easy access to the river. Campsite reservations are accepted; first-come, first-served sites are also available. The Stoltz Pool Campground is open year round; a winter camping fee is in place.
Vehicle Accessible Camping Fee: $16.00 per party / night
BC Senior’s Rate (day after Labour Day to June 14 only): $8.00 per senior party/night. Read the User Fees Policy for information on Senior Camping Discounts.
Walk-In/Wilderness Camping

Walk-In/Wilderness Camping

There are 4 walk-in campsites at the Stoltz Pool campground. Camping is permitted only in designated campsites.
Wheelchair Access

Wheelchair Access

The Stoltz Pool day-use/picnicking area is wheelchair accessible.
Winter Camping

Winter Camping

The Stoltz Pool Campground is open year round; a winter camping fee is in place.

Winter Vehicle Accessible Camping Fee: $11.00 per party / night