North Cowichan is home to a rich mix of flow, downhill, gravel and cross-country trails for mountain biking mixed with a myriad of hiking trails taking you to incredible vistas and viewpoints in our forest preserve municipal.

Our top hiking and mountain biking destinations include Mount Maple, Mount Tzouhalem and Mount Prevost. Combine this with additional hiking and horseback riding opportunities possible on Mount Richards and we have opportunities close to all residents.

Weekends are busy on the mountains and trails. The busiest times are Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays between 9:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Please anticipate congestion in parking lots and consider visiting a low traffic launch site; Nevilane or Maple Mountain accessible via Osborne Bay Road.

Municipal forest reserve: service notice

Mount Prevost and Mount Sick

Forest gates will be closed Wednesday July 27 restrict vehicle access to the Mount Prevost/Sicker/Grace Road areas as a proactive approach to reducing the risk of wildfires given the high fire danger rating. There are no restrictions for members of the public wishing to hike or cycle within the Municipal Forest Reserve (MFR). The gates reopen in the fall after the fire risk subsides.

Maple Mountain Temporary Closures

Beginning Tuesday, July 5, there will be temporary trail and area closures while the Osbourne Bay Water Reservoir project is underway. Please watch for signage and on-site staff. More information about the water reservoir project can be found here. Please refer to the attached map [PDF – 5 MB] for more details.

Access to Grace Road area from Cranko Road

The Grace Road West logging road accessible from the end of Cranko Road will be closed until further notice.

For more information contact:

Shaun Mason or 250-746-3124

Use the trails

The municipal forest reserve is available for non-motorized recreational use, such as hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking. Overnight camping, campfires and fireworks are not permitted in the Municipal Forest Reserve at any time.

Electric bikes

– Permit: Class 1 (100% pedal assistance, without accelerator) which has a maximum assistance speed of 32 km/h.
Not allowed: Class 2 and 3 electric bikes equipped with a throttle. Other throttle-activated devices, such as motorized scooters (stand-up electric scooters) and one-wheeled boards (electric skateboards) are also not permitted on municipal trails.


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Mountain Authorized uses The description
maple mountain Hiking, mountain biking, horse riding Located between Maple Bay and Crofton, Maple Mountain is a rich mountain for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Great sanctioned trails and awesome views of the area.
Mount Tzouhalem Hiking, mountain biking East of Duncan, Mount Tzouhalem (the “Tzou”) is the landmark that offers trails to the cross, views of Cowichan Bay, and a myriad of mountain biking and hiking trails.
Mount Richards Horseback riding Located across the road from the main access to Maple Mountain off Osborne Bay Road. Mount Richards is home to excellent access for hikers and horseback riders.
Mount Prevost Hiking, Downhill MTB Mount Prevost, rising from the western landscape of the Cowichan Valley, is home to another cross and is destined to be our hiking and downhill mountain biking home.

Trails app

North Cowichan released a trails app which includes all logging roads and sanctioned trails for hiking or mountain biking. Currently we feature Mount Maple and Mount Tzouhalem and it will expand to include the rest of the forest reserve in future years.

With the app you can:
– geolocate on the mountain
– identify trails for hiking, biking or horseback riding
– descriptions of trails, elevations and location

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We work on sanctioned trails (GPS tracked, inspected and maintained) mountain by mountain. This penalty is accompanied by the display of georeferenced maps for each forest reserve. Our future years are planned as follows:

  • 2023 – Mount Prevost
  • 2024 – Mount Richards

As a result, maps with sanctioned trails will only be available mountain by mountain as we travel and work on each mountain trail network.

Maps are available below for printing or downloading to an application that uses georeferencing information. A common application used is Avenzadownloadable through the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store for your smartphone.