I was heading down to Shawnigan Lake for Easter this weekend and thought it would be a fantastic time to test out the dirt roads on my 4runner that I just picked up. There are a ton of dirt roads and places to play near Shawnigan and if we found one nice enough, we could even spend the night.
Heading down Renfrew Road near Shawnigan, we hit dirt and were on the logging roads. The roads take you right beside the Koksilah River and into the park that’s there. We couldn’t get far because of the gates but checking my Colorado GPS I had a couple of waypoints for a trail to some old growth trees in the area. The weather was mild but teasing rain and we headed off to find some trees.
Directions to the Old Growth Trees near Koksilah River
To get there without a GPS, follow Renfrew Road as far as you can go. Along the way it will turn into gravel and then meet up with the Main logging road in the area. Head right on the main or in the upstream direction. You’ll go over a little bridge and passed an open area on the right.
After this, the road heads uphill and then passes a couple of roads off splits off into 3 roads. The first on the right will go up the hill and has an orange gate across it. The second in the middle has large piles of dirt in front of it and wouldn’t be easily accessible by any vehicles. The third on the left is the main road. There is a gate a little further up the main road.
Park somewhere here and head up the road on the right with the gate in front of it. There will be a few little trails off to the right and left but stay on the main double track which I assume was old road. The road gets narrower and narrower as you go along. The trail will go through a bunch of little bumps and dips and then start to head up. Here there is a trail off to the right that should have blue flagging around it. Take this trail on the right and follow the flagging.
Walking all the way to the end of this trail will bring you to the old growth trees. Just on your left will be a massive old section of a tree laying on the ground and a huge stump right behind it. The trail leads down into the grove of old trees and around in a bit of a loop. You can go right to the end and relax on the river or stay in the trees on ponder their age. Follow the trail you come in on to get back out.
Trail Difficulty Rating ( 3 / 10)
Most people will have no problems on this trail. It’s quite flat for most of it and had little in the way of obstacles. There were some large puddles that we navigated around and some small streams that we had to do some gymnastic leaping to get across but it had been very wet in the area the past few days so it would be normally much drier.The road to get to the trail head was 2 wheel drive accessible but make sure you are ok driving on dirt roads. I believe these are active logging roads so please pay attention when driving on them. Some areas log 7 days a week. Logging trucks are very log and do not stop very quickly. Small cars are mere insects to off-road logging trucks.
Garbage Rating ( 3/10 )
There was very little garbage on the trail itself. I was a little surprised at how little there was judging by other locations in the area. There tend to be a lot of dirtbikers, 4×4’s and atv’s in the area which usually leads to more garbage. On the access roads there was garbage here and there but the trail itself was quite clean. If you notice any garbage there, please send me a geotagged photo of it and we’ll try to get it cleaned up.
Traffic Rating ( 4/10 )
As with the garbage as soon as we got onto the trail itself there was very little traffic. We didn’t see anyone else using the single track. On the double track road leading up the trail we ran into 2 dirtbikers on the way out. When we first got to the gate at the trail head there was 1 4×4, 2 atv’s and 2 dirtbikes. 2 trucks also drove past but didn’t stay. If you like quiet secluded trails this one may not be for you. If there are any dirtbikers on the trail above the old trees you’ll be able to hear them.
Nothing special is required for this trail. Waterproof shoes or boots would have been nice to keep your feed warm and dry but not required. We had on light rain shells, hiking pants and trail runners. Gloves would have been nice if we had brought them as it was a little chilly. There was a tiny bit of snow on the trail from the precipitation the last few days.
The Koksilah River Provincial Park page has lots of good information about the park and what you can and can’t do there.