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    Kinsol Trestle Trail

    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
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    3.4 km
    This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
    102 m
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    Kinsol Trestle Trail

    The Kinsol Trestle Trail is a 3.4 km out-and-back hiking route near Victoria, BC, that will allow you to visit the historical site of the British Commonwealth’s tallest railway trestle. Standing at 44 m tall and spanning 187.0 km across the Koksilah River, the trestle is a true engineering marvel that will surely leave you in awe. The trail leading to and across the trestle is well-maintained and surrounded by picnic areas, making it perfectly suitable for hikers of all skill levels to enjoy a fun day outdoors.

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    Route Description for Kinsol Trestle Trail

    Due to the natural beauty of the surrounding scenery and its historical importance, the Kinsol Trestle is a popular hiking area that can become extremely busy during peak times and on weekends. As such, parking at the trailhead is often limited and will require you to arrive early to beat out the crowds and secure a spot. Alternatively, if there are no spaces available, you can try parking along the side of the road and walking the remaining distance to the trailhead.

    Hiking the Kinsol Trestle Trail is an amazing family-friendly experience that will allow you to fully appreciate the masterful engineering of the trestle itself, but also the beauty of the landscape that it spans. Built in 1920 to support the burgeoning logging industry on Vancouver Island, the Kinsol Trestle is the largest of eight trestles that can be found along the Cowichan Valley Trail. While working your way along the route, you will be surrounded by the breathtaking views of not only the massive timber frame of the trestle, but also the rushing waters of the Koksilah River below. With wonderfully maintained trails, charming picnic areas, and the option to hike across the trestle; there are so many reasons why a trip to the Kinsol Trestle should be at the top of your adventure list.

    Setting out from the parking area off Shelby Road, head north and follow the wide, well-groomed path as it passes through a beautiful stretch of forest. After roughly 450 m, the trail will bend towards the northeast and the tree cover will become a bit more dense as you make the approach to the trestle.

    After 1km of hiking, you will come to a junction in the trail next to a nice picnic area in the forest. Continue straight through the junction to begin your walk across the vast wooden expanse of the Kinsol Trestle. With restorations being completed in 2011, the trestle features a beautifully-maintained and very flat boardwalk that is accessible for hikers of every skill level. As you make your way across the old railway trestle, take some time to gaze down into the heavily-wooded river valley below and the rushing waters of the Koksilah River.

    Once you have reached the other side of the trestle, head to the right to enter into another forested picnic area to enjoy the shade of the forest canopy and have a quick snack. From here, you can make your way back along the Kinsol Trestle and enjoy the views one last time, before returning to your vehicle at the trailhead. For those looking to further explore the area, there are a number of trails that branch off from the main route in addition to the paved trails leading below the trestle to the edge of the river.

    Trail Highlights

    Kinsol Trestle

    Out of the eight railway trestles along the Cowichan Valley Trail, the historic Kinsol Trestle is the largest and most spectacular of the bunch. Standing at 187 m long and 44 m high, this is one of the tallest free-standing timber trestles in the world and the largest within the Commonwealth. Constructed in 1920, this large structure was used as an efficient means to transport massive old-growth trees across the rugged Vancouver Island terrain during the logging industry’s heyday.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How tall is the Kinsol Trestle?

    The Kinsol Trestle stands 44 m above the flowing waters of the Koksilah River and spans a distance of 187 m, making it one of the tallest timber trestles in the world.

    Can I cross the Kinsol Trestle?

    Yes. After its railway usage was discontinued in 1980, the trestle was restored with a usable walkway for pedestrians.

    Insider Hints for Kinsol Trestle Trail

    • As this trail is very popular, parking at the trailhead can be limited during peak times. Make sure to arrive early or park on the nearby roads
    • There are several other routes that branch off from the main trail if you would like to extend your hike and explore the area.
    • The trail is relatively flat and well-maintained, making it suitable for hikers of all skill levels, including those with strollers and wheelchairs.

    Getting to the Kinsol Trestle Trail Trailhead

    To reach the Kinsol Trestle trailhead from Duncan, head south on BC-1 for 10.9 km and turn right onto Cobble Hill Road, following it for 2.6 km. Continue straight onto Shawnigan Lake Road and follow it for 4.4 km before turning right on Renfrew Road. After 6.2 km, make another right on Glen Eagles Road, and in 550 m you will find the parking area on the right.

    Route Information

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    • Pets allowed


    • Family friendly


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    • Route Type

      Out and back

    Kinsol Trestle Trail Elevation Graph

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