Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Vancouver Island - Part 3, Duncan, BC to Port Renfrew, BC

Vancouver Island – Part 3, Duncan, BC to Port Renfrew, BC

View Duncan to Port Renfrew in a larger map

--> There is a driving route known as the Pacific Marine Circle Route that covers between 290 km (180 Miles) and 330 km (205 Miles) depending on which roads are taken.  While most start this route in Victoria, we’ll begin this journey in Duncan, BC and finish this section of the route in Port Renfrew, 87 km (54 Miles) away.

Our journey begins at the junction of Highway 18 and the Trans-Canada Highway a few kilometers north of Duncan, BC, where we’ll ride toward the town of Lake Cowichan, 27 km (17 Miles) away.  This portion of our journey is beautiful stretch of pavement that is wide and pleasant to ride.  You’ll be passing through farmland and forest, with views of the coastal mountains as you descend into Lake Cowichan.

Lake Cowichan, BC
Nearing Lake Cowichan, you’ll turn left onto South Shore Road, which will take you into town and the east end of the lake.  One of the best places to stop is the Kaatza Station Museum, which has preserved the regions logging history.  The park next to the museum is restful and offers a fantastic view of Lake Cowichan. 

There are a number of small places to have a coffee or get food in Lake Cowichan so take you’re time and enjoy what this community has to offer.

Leaving Lake Cowichan heading west on South Shore Road, you’ll be turning left onto Pacific Marine Road.  This road is paved, sort of.  I’ve seen every type of motorcycle on this section of road, however if you’re on a cruiser, sport touring or sport bike, take your time as the road is narrow, has gravel in places and is loaded with pot holes and heaves in the tarmac.  If you’re into corners, you’ll have a great time on this road.


 The scenery along Pacific Marine Road is a mixture of forest and logged areas.  Keep in mind that this is an active logging area and you may encounter a truck or two.

On of the best places to stop along this route is along the Harris Creek, where a tall Sitka Spruce stands.  It’s a short and easy hike to the tree and there are few trails that beg to be explored.

Harris Creek Sitka Spruce

 The rest of the route into Port Renfrew has a couple of scenic lakes to visit.  Lizard Lake and Fairy Lake offer camping areas, if that’s part of your plans.

Port Renfrew is a small community on the southwest coast of Vancouver Island.  It offers a few places to eat and is a common meeting area for motorcyclists who ride from Victoria, especially on the weekends.  Juan de Fuca Provincial Park is west of the community and is home to one of the best hiking trails on Vancouver Island, The Botanical Beach Loop Trail.

Overlooking the southwest coast of Vancouver Island near Port Renfrew, BC

This is the end of this part of the Pacific Marine Circle Route.  The next entry will take from Port Renfrew to Victoria.

Gerald Trees

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