Shawnigan Lake

Shawnigan Lake Village, Vancouver Island Communities, Pacific Northwest
Shawnigan Lake Village, Photo By Bud Logan

Shawnigan Lake Village is located on southern Vancouver Island, 5 km west of Mill Bay and 45 km north of Victoria. Shawnigan Lake Village is known for its artists and craft people. Built on the eastern shore of the lake, the village has two small general stores, a couple of restaurants, several beaches, a barbershop, and a wonderful little museum. There are several more beaches and picnic sites at various spots along the lake.

The numerous shoreline marshes, parks, and beautiful old cabins that dot the shores make Shawnigan Lake an excellent spot for canoeing and kayaking and the trails here are numerous.

Shawnigan Lake, Vancouver Island Communities, Pacific Northwest
Kinsol Trestle, Photo By Bud Logan

Spanning the Koksilah River Valley, the Kinsol Trestle is one of the largest and highest wooden trestle bridges in the world. Hikers and bikers can cross the trestle to access the trails beyond. To reach Kinsol Trestle, head north from Shawnigan Lake Village on Old Port Renfrew road for about 10 km, then just follow the signs.

There are some very nice parks on the lake, you could visit Memory Island Provincial Park, it is located on the southern half of Shawnigan Lake. You can reach this park by kayaking a short distance from town, it’s a great place to picnic, and the bird watching is great here. There is only water access.

Shawnigan Lake, Vancouver Island Communities, Pacific Northwest
Shawnigan Lake, Photo By Bud Logan

The West Shawnigan Lake Provincial Park offers a beach that is very popular with young families. An alternative is Shawnigan Lake Municipal Beach located on Renfrew Road beside the E and N Railway on the east side of the lake. Both spots are just awesome for sunbathing and swimming.

Koksilah Provincial Park is spread out along the Koksilah River west of Shawnigan Lake. The beautifully clear water offers good fishing and the network of trails provides easy hiking in the forest. Further up the river is the Kinsol Trestle, it is part of the Trans Canada Trail, and it is a must-see for all who appreciate old trestles.

The wildlife viewing here is at its best, and you could see black bears, blacktail deer, elk, otters, beavers, muskrats, and many types of birds, so come on in for a visit and bring your camera.

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