Vancouver Island is packed with gorgeous hikes with views of ocean harbours, Islands, mountains and valleys. From the top of Mount Tzouhalem you can see it ALL.
On a beautiful Vancouver Island day you just have to get out and enjoy a good hike.
“Kids get your coats on! We are going outside!”
If you are in the Cowichan area on Vancouver Island and looking for a quick access hike to beautiful viewpoints, this is it.
The Mount Tzouhalem hike will add so much to your day because you accomplish something amazing so quickly and then you can be off to the next adventure.
Read on and I will share all I know about this local gem of a mountain.
Most all the locals know about the Mount Tzouhalem Cross hike and now you will too!
A good starting point to begin your Mount Tzouhalem hike is the “Properties At Maple Bay” trailhead. The parking lot is approximately a 10 minute drive off the Trans-Canada highway (The main Island highway that connects Victoria to Nanaimo and beyond).
Directions can be found at bottom of post.
The trail to the most popular lookout is the Cross Summit lookout. This hike is about 1 hour and 30 minutes from the parking lot if you keep a good pace.
Our first time up Mount Tzouhalem my kids were 8,6 & 5. We had a fantastic day and almost made it to the top on our first attempt.
If you are hiking as a young family and anticipate any of the following… plan for a good 2 hours up to the Cross Summit Lookout.
- If you’re going to stop and have a leisurely lunch at the first viewpoint and explore around in the ecological reserve.
- If every member of the family stops to go pee and one of your kids will go for a surprise #2.
- If after discovering the garden of rock cairns, your kids decide they must play with them… and your dog knocks over several that you must rebuild.
- If each one of your kids biffs it at least once on their face.
- If your kids decide they must carry a large 6ft branch with them up the mountain… and then stop periodically to sweep the leaves off the trail.
I always have lofty dreams of my kids smiling, dancing and holding my hand ALL the way up the mountain. As soon as I modify those expectations, the hike always goes much better. Don’t miss the small moments, friends.
With kids especially, it’s the journey that matters the most and not the end destination.
Mount Tzouhalem is on one of the largest municipal forests in North America. At over 5,000 heactares of forestland, it makes for one massive area for hiking, mountain biking and forest exploring.
The main hiking trail will take you to the top of rock bluffs at over 500 meters high. On a beautiful day like we had today, it makes for one amazing lookout.
If you are a wild flower lover, you are in luck! In late April the Mount. Tzouhalem Ecological Reserve protects the finest examples of woodlands and wildflower meadows in in all of B.C.
Ecologocial Reserve Lookout
Once you are standing in the Mount Tzouhalem parking lot you have a choice to make as to which way you start off on your hike. You can either head to the yellow gate with the more established fire access dirt road, or you can head off in the direction on the other end of the parking lot and start off on more of an established footpath through the forest.
15 minutes into this hike you will come to the entrance of the Ecological Reserve. Here you’ll enjoy a beauty vista view of the Cowichan Valley with mountains off in the distance.
The Mount Tzouhalem Cross Lookout
Finding this lookout can be a little trickier for first time hikers on Mount Tzouhalem. One of the reasons is because there are many roads and offshoot mountain biking trails. The other reason is that there are no signs! It’s like someone is getting a kick out of first time hikers not being able to find their way.
We love the Mount Tzouhalem cross hike! The beautiful forest walk, the small running brooks of water, the wide easy trail, and the gorgeous views made for one amazing hike.
Video Guided Tour To The Mount Tzouhalem Cross Lookout
Step By Step Directions To The Mount Tzouhalem Cross Lookout:
- Starting Point: Properties At Maple Bay Parking Lot & Trailhead
- Go through yellow gate and stay on main road path.
- Pass by path with sign “Welcome To Mount Tzouhalem Municipality…” Stay on main road path.
- You will come to a Y in the road with a path off to your right with a sign that says “Old M/L”. Get off main road path and take this path.
- Look for sign that says “Ranch D or Branch D Road”. Take this path. Keep heading up main path and do not take any side trails.
- The rock cairn garden is a good reference point that you are on the right path. The rock cairn garden is about 20 minutes to the Cross.
- The trail will narrow significantly and you will come to another Y with two narrow foot paths to choose from. Take the one through the cut logs North.
- Hike along the ridge and you’ve made it! Congratulations!
Directions To Mount Tzouhalem “Properties At Maple Bay” Trailhead & Parking Lot
From the Trans Canada Hwy. Turn east onto Trunk Road. Follow Trunk which turns into Tzouhalem Road. Stay left at the roundabout and you will be on Maple Bay Road. Follow Maple Bay for 3 kilometres, then turn right onto Kingsview Road and follow it up to Chippewa Road. From here follow direction signs to the Mount Tzouhalem Ecological Reserve. Turn right onto Chippewa and follow it to Kaspa Road. Turn left onto Kaspa and follow it to the end where a narrow paved road leads to the parking area by the water tower.