Glenora Trails Head to 66 mile Trestle (10.9km)

Old rail grade through protected forests alongside the Cowichan River. Two impressive trestle crossings. Fairly isolated because of the lack of public road access.

Foot traffic, mountain biking. Frequent windfall may be a problem for horses and bikes.  equestriancyclisthiker

The Trail

The trail follows an old rail grade. The tracks and ties have been removed. Most of this section passes through Cowichan River Park to the North and East of the trial, with private forest lands to the south and west. Some logging is visible to the South at times, but the North side of the trail is mature second growth and some old growth remnants, now protected as part of Cowichan River Park. The track is road width in some sections and narrows to single track at times. The middle third of this 15km route has frequent windfall across the trail which may prevent passage to horses and impede mountain bikes.

windfall-is-common-on-the-middle-third-of-this-section

In places, windfall may be common, particularly in early spring.

trail-passes-through-matrue-second-growth-and-less-common-old-growth-forest

The trail passes through mature second growth, and less common old growth forest.

The trail is wide, clear, and well graded. It follows an old rail grade, often road width, with occasional single track sections. Windfall is common in the middle third of this section, and horses may be prevented from transit. There are numerous seasonal creeks of varied sizes crossing the trail. None pose a crossing difficulty, as the old rail grade provides culverts or bridges.

 

typical-trail-section-on-old-railway-bed

Typical trail section on old railway bed.

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TransCanada and Cowichan Valley Trail signage.

No road public road access is available, except at either end of this trail section, as it is on the undeveloped side of the river. Cowichan Lake at the terminus of the Kinsol to Cowichan Lake section is a full service community. There is no access to any part of the trail between the Glenora Trail Heads Park and the 66 Mile Trestle. There was a weak cell reception on the Telus network every time I checked on this trail.

 

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Cowichan River runs adjacent to the trail for the middle third of this trail section.

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The Holt Creek Trestle. No problem for horses or bikes.

While there are no official camping sites on this section, there is no patrolling either, as no road access is provided along this length. There is a level, cleared, meadow along the river at 48 46.37 N 123 54.13, which would make a lovely campsite near the Cowichan River. The easiest access to this little gem is by an old road crossing 8.9 km from the Glenora Trail Head lot. Turn right at the intersection when northbound it is about 250m down the crossing road to a nice meadow by the river. This would also a lovely place for a picnic. Swimming in the Cowichan River is at the swimmers discretion as rapids, pools, long slow meandering sections of the river are all to be found. River access is most often steep and rugged, however. Be safety conscious if you think swimming in the Cowichan River is a good idea.

old-service-road-at-8-9km-unofficial-picnic-spot-on-the-cowichan-river-in-this-location

Old service road at 8.9km leads to a picnic spot on the Cowichan River.

meadow-for-picnic-or-unofficial-camping

Wide open meadow makes a great picnic spot.

Potable water and washrooms are provided at the Glenora Trails Head lot. After that, there are frequent surface water crossings, many seasonal. The Cowichan River is nearby in the middle third of the trail, but access may be steep and rugged. Access to the river is also possible at the 66 Mile Trestle where there is a steep but clear path at the East end of the trestle.

The Glenora Trails Head Park has some developed trails in the area. Along the main route towards the 66 mile Trestle, the Cowichan River Footpath has a number of access points that leave the rail-bed and wander nearer the river, to join the old rail-bed again. These access points are clearly signed, suitable for foot traffic.

cowichan-river-footpath-is-a-good-option-for-hikers

The Cowichan River footpath is a good option for hikers.

the-cowichan-river-footpath-parallels-the-old-rail-bed-for-hikers

The Cowichan River footpath parallels the old rail bed and is suitable for foot traffic.

I really liked this section of the trail. There are beautiful forests, trails by the river, two impressive trestles, and a sense of isolation while still finding the route fast and level. I biked most of it, then abandoned the bike due to windfall.

Driving Directions to and GPS Coordinates of the Trail Head

From Victoria take the Malahat Highway (Route 1) north towards Duncan. About 1.5 km before you reach Duncan, south of town, there is an intersection with a Smitty’s restaurant & Super 8 Motel – turn left at this traffic light onto Allenby Rd. After 300m on Allenby Rd, take the second left onto Kokisilah Rd. About ¾ km along Koksilah Rd. take a sharp right on to Miller Rd. About ½ km along Miller rd. turn left onto Glenora Rd. After 3.5 km along Glenora Rd, go straight at the stop sign, staying on Glenora Rd. After another 0.5 km veer right onto Vaux Rd. After a few km on Vaux Rd. keep right onto Robertson Rd. After 300 m on Robertson Rd. you’ll see a sign for Glenora Trails Head Park on the left. The parking lot is another 200m down this Rd.

Total distance from Highway 1 turn-off at Allenby Rd. = 8.5 km

GPS coordinates, Glenora Trails Head Park: 48 45.44 123 47.58W

Parking:

The Glenora Trails Head Park has ample parking for 30 to 40 vehicles. There is also a large pull out just before the lot with ample turning room for large vehicles/ trailers. At the far end of the lot, there is a wide gravel path on the left marked Trans Canada Trail that curves down to join the Cowichan Valley Trail.  Go right to follow it north towards Lake Cowichan, or left to head south towards the Kinsol Trestle.

parking-lot-at-glenora-trails-head-park

Parking Lot at Glenora Trails Head Park.

sign-on-left-directing-you-to-glenora-trails-head-park

access-to-tct-cowichan-valley-from-glenora-trails-head-parking-lot

Access to TransCanada and Cowichan Valley Trails from Glenora Trails head parking lot.

Other Web Links for this area 

The Glenora Trails Head Park is the start of this trail section: https://www.cvrd.bc.ca/210/Glenora-Trails-Head-Park

Much of this trail follows the Cowichan Valley Trail: https://www.cvrd.bc.ca/121/Cowichan-Valley-Trail

GPS Coordinates and Photograph of ENDPOINT of TRAIL you are describing

48 46.58 N 123 55.69 W  66 Mile Trestle. This is a beautiful place, and an impressive trestle.

views-of-the-river-from-the-66-mile-trestle

Views of the Cowichan River from 66-mile Trestle.

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The underworks of the 66 mile Trestle.

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Approach to the 66 mile Trestle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As recorded by M Ister Wyman

April 2017

 

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