Rich history and nature collide at the Kinsol Trestle in Shawnigan Lake; a hidden gem located just outside of Victoria. Originally constructed in 1920 for mining and logging, the late railway is now a popular adventure spot with spectacular views of the surrounding forest landscape and the rushing river below. A spot for hiking, cycling, and horseback riding, the area has excellent accessibility with gravel trails that can accommodate both strollers and wheelchairs.

The trestle is a part of the Cowichan Valley trail and is the grandest of the 8 trestles that are present along the route. As one of the world’s tallest free-standing timber rail trestle structures, the trestle is 187 metres long, towering over the Koksilah River, but with high railings, even those squeamish about heights are likely to enjoy this unique structure.

With access to the salmon-bearing river, the area has many picnic tables and viewing platforms to truly take in the beauty of the trestle and local scenery and wildlife. Depending on the time of year, you may see eagles soaring overhead, or salmon swimming below.

While the trestle has been rehabilitated since it was first constructed, some of the original wood remains just above the river. With information boards that depict the history of the trestle, there is an opportunity for both fun and learning on this scenic hike. The trestle intersects with the Jack Fleetwood trail that crosses through Koksilah Provincial Park. Open from dawn until dusk, the Kinsol Trestle has two lot options for parking, washroom facilities and plenty to see, making it a perfect place for a day-trip or a quick hike.

  • Violet-green swallows
  • Chinook and Coho salmon
  • Bald eagles
  • Wildflowers

From the Trans-Canada Highway turn west onto Mill Bay/Shawnigan Lake Road and go into the Village of Shawnigan Lake. Turn right onto Shawnigan Lake Road which will eventually turn into Renfrew Road. Follow Renfrew Road to Gleneagles Road and turn right. There is a public parking area on the right-hand side about 550 metres down the road.

This blog post was written by Kira Rowsell, Power To Be’s Marketing & Communications Coordinator. Kira is passionate about encouraging people to get outside and helping to share the endless stories of nature through photography, videography, and writing.