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 Home > Discover BC > Recreation > Trails > Mount Tzouhalem

Mount Tzouhalem
Mount Tzouhalem (pronounced "zoo-hay'-lum"), situated near Cowichan Bay, is named after Chief Tzouhalem of the Cowichan First Nations and, for thousands of years, has been traditionally known as Quw'utsun Smeent and is considered very sacred in local folklore.

Recreational Uses
All of Mount Tzouhalem and the ridge that protrudes over Cowichan Bay has a number of recreational uses including hiking, mountain biking and horse riding. The ridge is made up of a number of overgrown forestry roads and trails dating back to the mid-1990's when the slopes were logged off, mainly of Douglas fir.

Getting Here
To get here from Duncan, follow Trunk Road (Chevron Station) east to where Tzouhalem Road starts near the turnoff for Maple Bay Road in North Cowichan. Take Tzouhalem Road towards Cowichan Bay and look for Providence Farm, then the St. Ann's Catholic Church. You can find a small parking lot located on the south side of St. Ann's Catholic Church on Tzouhalem Road and the start of one trail situated on the south side of the gravel lot.

Use at Your Own Risk
The at 'your own risk' myriad of trail systems is representatives of various groups including local First Nations, Parks Canada, private landholders, the Municipality of North Cowichan and local-end users. The trails are not maintained and do have various hazards associated with use including roots, loose gravel, and steep, sharp cliffs, drop-offs and ridges.

No Trail Signs
Unfortunately, there are no organized signs on any of the trails and travellers must observe the odd bit of surveyors' tape hung off the odd branch of a tree at trail junctions and use common sense. Also, there are no pit toilets, picnic tables or any other facilities on the trail network or along the Mount Tzouhalem ridge.

Metal Cross
The Providence Trail involves going up a fairly steep hike, climbing for about an hour to around 427 metres (1,400 feet) to where there is a viewpoint next to a metal cross on the side of a steep ridge. From the cross, there is an unrestricted spectacular 180-degree westerly view of Quamichan Lake, Mt. Prevost, Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Cobble Hill and Cowichan Bay.

Summit
From the cross, the trail continues along the ridge, climbing only slightly going towards the south to reach the summit which is directly across from Cowichan Bay.

Other Approaches
There are a number of approaches up Mount Tzouhalem, including from Genoa Bay, Maple Bay and Cowichan Bay. A favourite includes coming up the east side of Mount Tzouhalem where there are some views of the shoreline along Sansum Narrows with some good bird watching opportunities.

Mount Tzouhalem Ecological Reserve
Also situated on Mount Tzouhalem is the Mount Tzouhalem Ecological Reserve where you can find a rare Garry Oak (Quercus garryana) meadow woodland. Managed by BC Parks since 1984, this 18-hectare (44 acres) ecosystem is found just situated south of the Kaspa Drive trailhead and is home to a number of species of different wildflowers, grasses, reptiles and birds roosting along the rock faces.

St. Ann's Catholic Church
For more exploring and interesting things near Mount Tzouhalem you can view the mainly aboriginal parishioner St. Ann's Catholic Church. The church founded by Father Rondeault in 1903 and erected by the sisters of St. Ann is a historic landmark along Tzouhalem Road. St. Ann's Catholic Church still holds church services today and has a historic graveyard along the grounds.

Providence Farms
Another property and facility worth viewing adjacent right to the church is Providence Farms, originally St. Ann's School. Still owned by the Catholic Church, Providence Farms operates as a private facility for innovative programs and procedures for Horticultural Therapy with other vocational training in agriculture.

Frontrunners GutBuster Trail
Mount Tzouhalem, besides having good walking trails and mountain biking, also serves as a running course as part of the Frontrunners GutBuster series. The annual race offers spectacular views on both a 5 km (3 mile) and 12 km (7.5 miles) course along some amazing trail systems boasting up to 600 metres (1,970 feet) in elevation gain.

Heavy-J's Official Mt. Tzouhalem Web Site
There are some unofficial maps that have been produced on Mount Tzouhalem and fortunately are constantly being upgraded mostly for mountain-bike use and runners. The trails do have local names but, unfortunately, signs are not posted so be aware of that before going onto the trails, especially in foggy or changing weather. Perhaps the best maps with names can be found on mountain biker, Heavy-J's Official Mt. Tzouhalem Web Site.

  • Maps - Heavy-J's (pdf)

Information on Mount Tzouhalem

Mount Tzouhalem
Mount Tzouhalem

 

St. Ann's Catholic Church
St. Ann's Catholic Church

 

Steep Trail
Steep Trail

 

Metal Cross on Mount Tzouhalem
Metal Cross

 

Cowichan Bay
Cowichan Bay

 

Cowichan Valley towards Duncan
Cowichan Valley towards Duncan

 

Cross on Mount Tzouhalem
Cross on Mount Tzouhalem

 
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