Trail Name: Viewpoint Trail to Cross Cliff Side Trail to Cross Trail. Returned along the Viewpoint Trail.
Distance (roundtrip): about 5km
Time (roundtrip): less than 2 hours
Elevation: 150 metres
Mount Tzouhalem is a mountain east of the city of Duncan right in the heart of the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island. It offers incredible views of the Cowichan Valley and Salt Spring Island. Our goals for this hike were a good workout and to reach the cross at the top to enjoy the view.
Mount Tzouhalem is popular with hikers and mountain bikers. There were a ton of trails on this mountain and some of them are shared hike/bike trails. But you need to be careful that you don’t hike up the trails that are designated as downhill mountain bike trails.
Despite what we had read online about poor signage for the trails, we found that the Viewpoint Trail and the two trails to the cross were fairly well marked. Maybe they have made some updates to the trails recently? We didn’t have any trouble finding our way up to the cross and avoiding the downhill mountain bike trails. The Viewpoint Trail starts at the opposite side of the parking lot from the washroom and bike wash station.
The Viewpoint Trail, Cross Cliff Side Trail and the Cross Trail were all hiking only trails. The Viewpoint Trail was fairly easy with some uphill sections. I would recommend going up the Cross Cliff Side Trail as it is steeper than the Cross Trail. It also includes a short section where you need to scale some rocks just before reaching the cross.
Getting There: The parking lot is located at the end of a cul-de-sac after winding through a neighbourhood of large houses with views over the valley. There is a gate and the parking lot is closed by 10pm each night. There is room for about 60 cars in this parking lot.
Facilities: There is a toilet at the beginning of the trail along with a bike wash station.
Nearby: After our hike, we drove over to Osborne Bay Regional Park to relax and enjoy the beach for a bit until we were ready for lunch.
For lunch, we went to Rock Cod Cafe to eat a some seafood by the water in the quaint town of Cowichan Bay.