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. Here are the directions for the hike.
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.
Directions for the Mount Tzouhalem hike can be found at bottom of post.
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!
The trail to the most popular lookout on the Mount Tzouhalem hike 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.
Key Features Of Mount Tzhouhalem:
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. You know you’ve made it when you reach the crosses.
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.
Mount Tzouhalem Hike #1
Ecologocial Reserve Lookout Hike
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 to the cross lookout hike, 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. Don’t look for any signs at the beginning of the trail because you won’t find any.
If you choose the latter then 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.
Mount Tzouhalem Hike #2
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 Hike
Step By Step Directions To The Mount Tzouhalem Cross Lookout Hike:
- Starting Point: Properties At Maple Bay Parking Lot & Trailhead
- Go through yellow gate and stay on main road path just past the Mountain bike spray off area.
- 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” (someone broke the sign last we were up there). 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 heading North and you’ve made it! Congratulations!
How do you get to the starting point for the Mount Tzouhalem hiking trail?
Driving directions To Mount Tzouhalem “Properties At Maple Bay” Trailhead & Parking Lot
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).
- 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.
Google Map Directions to Mount Tzouhalem Hiking Trail
Trail and route maps here if interested: https://mtzoo.wordpress.com/about/pdfs/ Thanks -
Wish we had scrolled down to the end of the blog ro see the link to the maps! We were really surprised by the total lack of signs/blazes. Thank goodness one of our phones had internet so we could make some educated guesses as we got closer to the top. The crosscrossing paths makes it easy to lose your sense of direction. We never found the cross even though we made it to the top :( we came across the fire road on the way down, thankfully, which made it easier...we were a little concerned we would never find our car! -
Glad you made it back! We were surprised as well by the lack of signs. Gretta has been back up since then and found the cross, but not the whole fam yet. Maybe this is the year! One of our friends recently told us they got turned around on the way back to their car and ended up on the other side of the mountain. Whoops! Locals must get a real good laugh at our expense ;) J -
This post helped us find the trailhead and ultimately the cross at the top. Thanks for the clear instructions and tips about hiking this trail with kids (we took our 6 year old daughter - she did great!). -
You are very welcome Kathleen! So glad to hear the instructions helped you. No more getting lost on Mount Tzouhalem! Glad to hear it went well with your 6 year old. Start them early! J -
Wow! What a fantastic blog. We just mobed to Duncan from Langley and we will check your blog for things to do here. Hiked Tzuhalem today, almost made it to the cross, but our creaky knees could not handle it. We did get to take in the view from the cliff's edge. -
Welcome to the Island! Glad our travel blog has helped you find Mount Tzouhalem and get out and give it a try. Glad you got to see a little bit of a view. If we can help with any ideas of things to do on Vancouver Island don't hesitate to reach out! -
Thank you for the great directions up to the Cairn Garden. After that, though, your “step by step” directions are woefully in need of greater specificity. Although we didn’t find the cross and views, we nevertheless had a truly lovely time walking the trails, especially as it was a sunny October day with lots of color in the decididuous trees. A very attractive forest. -
Hi Aaron! Sorry to hear you didn't make it to the cross. It's a challenge finding your way up there that is for sure! I hope someday they put some directional signs up. Try the video we made for your next hike, I think that should help. J -
Going up frim Kaspa to the cross tomorrow. My memory of this hike is medium in intensity and approximately 1 hour to the summit and 40 minutes back down. We have some friends coming with us tomorrow that are concerned as one of the sites says it is "difficult" and 2.5 hours return. Can someone please comment....Thanks -
Have a great hike Trina! The more accurate way to describe the Mount Tzouhalem cross hike is "medium intensity" for the average person. -