Honeymoon Bay is nestled on the southern shore of Cowichan Lake, one of the largest fresh-water lakes on Vancouver Island. The Cowichan Lake region includes the villages of Youbou, Caycuse, Honeymoon Bay, Mesachie Lake, and the town of Lake Cowichan.
Originally a lumber mill town, the homes on the original townsite were built and completed by Western Forest Industries Mill in 1947.
A popular tourist destination today, Honeymoon Bay offers a community hall, volunteer fire department, general store, butcher shop, and a post office to support the surrounding resorts and holiday industry.
The first resident of Honeymoon Bay was Henry March, an English pioneer who braved the untouched wilderness. March came to Honeymoon Bay in 1887 and cleared a site for the March farm with the aid of horses and oxen. Henry later became the first local justice of the peace. The old March farm remains today, along with the original house, with March Meadows Golf course occupying the site of the old hay meadow. Henry March died in a logging accident in 1950 at age 83.
Whether you come for the pristine waters of Cowichan Lake, Nitinat Lake, or the Cowichan River, or whether you visit the ancient forest of the Carmanah Walbran, or hike the West Coast or Juan de Fuca Trails, you will find it easy to satisfy your desire for adventure in this area. Excellent fishing, swimming, kayaking, and boating are all at the community’s doorstep.
The area is the gateway to some of the most spectacular camping and hiking available on Vancouver Island. Other communities such as Lake Cowichan, Mesachie Lake, Skutz Falls, and Youbou are within easy reach by road. All have access to scenic Cowichan Lake. The south arm of the lake is a heat trap, boasting the highest average summer maximum temperatures in Canada – over 24 degrees Celsius!
Location: The community of Honeymoon Bay is located 9 km west of the village of Lake Cowichan, and 4 km west of Mesachie Lake. To get to Honeymoon Bay, turn west off the Trans-Canada Highway onto Highway 18 (Cowichan Valley Highway) just north of Duncan and continue to the village of Lake Cowichan, 19 miles (31 km) west of Duncan (20 minutes). Continue on South Shore Road for 9 kilometres to Honeymoon Bay.
The Honeymoon Bay Ecological Reserve (formerly the Honeymoon Bay Wildflower Reserve) provides a small circuit of easy walking trails revealing an abundance of spring wildflowers such as pink fawn lilies, bleeding hearts, violets and white trilliums from April through to the end of June. Located on South Shore Road, approximately 2.5 km west of Honeymoon Bay village. Keep left when the road divides at Walton Road and pass March Meadows Golf Course.
Visit a working forest and learn about forest management at the Cowichan Lake Forest Research Station on Forestry Road in Mesachie Lake, established in 1929 by the BC Forest Service. Over 200 examples of “international” trees imported from all over the world are studied here, and the experimental station has become renowned for its work in forest genetics and tree physiology.
Small Towns of Canada: Listen to Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s episode on the Cowichan Lake community of Honeymoon Bay, British Columbia (Radio Canada, Programme E-249), which describes how Honeymoon Bay got its name, and other interesting tidbits of information. Produced in 1963 and hosted by the Museum of Canadian Music.
Cowichan River Provincial Park is a 750-hectare area stretching almost 20 kilometres, from the village of Lake Cowichan to Glenora, just south of Duncan. This spectacular Provincial Park protects significant stretches of the Cowichan River, known as a first class recreational corridor. The park is internationally recognized for its wild salmon and steelhead trout, and for the historic Cowichan River footpath that winds through dense Douglas-fir and Western Hemlock forest.
River viewing points at Skutz Falls and Marie Canyon are prime locations to watch spawning salmon in the fall. Marie Canyon day-use overlooks the Cowichan River as it surges through a spectacular sheer rock canyon. Skutz Falls offers magnificent views of river rapids and a man-made fish ladder. Skutz Falls is accessed from Riverbottom Road, or from the Cowichan Valley Highway. The trail leads downstream into the sheer-sided 2-km long Marie Canyon.
Stoltz Pool has a picnic site overlooking the Cowichan River from a grassy area nestled in a grove of old big leaf maple trees. The Burma Star Memorial Cairn, a replica of the Kohima Monument in Myanmar (Burma) is located here. The cairn was erected by the Burma Star Association to commemorate and tell the story of Major Hoey and the Allied Second World War campaign in East Asia.
Stroll along the Cowichan River Footpath in Cowichan River Provincial Park, a sensational 20-km hiking trail following the scenic Cowichan River from Glenora to Skutz Falls. Originally built for anglers, the Cowichan River Footpath is now a popular spot for hikers and naturalists.
Visit Gordon Bay Provincial Park – the rewards for being here in April and May in advance of the summer crowds include having your choice of campsites and witnessing the spectacular display of wildflowers that begin blooming in April.
Golf: March Meadows Golf and Country Club on South Shore Road in Honeymoon Bay offers a challenging semi-private nine-hole course and the original home of Canadian LPGA golfer Dawn Coe-Jones. Par 36, rating 71.4, slope 123. Vancouver Island Golf Vacations.
Hiking: Mesachie Mountain Trail is a 1-hour easy hike one way, providing excellent views from the top. To reach the trailhead, go north on Forest Road and cross bridge. The trail to Mesachie Mountain is to the right.
Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park is home to some of the world’s largest spruce trees. Take a side trip to this old-growth forest, located southwest of Honeymoon Bay, and view first hand the pristine wilderness that has made British Columbia so famous. The Carmanah Valley is accessed from various directions via the Caycuse River Bridge, and can be reached by vehicle from Lake Cowichan and Honeymoon Bay.
To the east of Honeymoon Bay is the small community of Mesachie Lake, and the nearby village of Lake Cowichan is the gateway to some of the most spectacular camping, hiking, and fishing available on Vancouver Island.
The Cowichan Valley ranges north across the Malahat Ridge from Victoria through the Cowichan and Chemainus Valleys to Nanaimo, including a cross-island trip to Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park.
The Pacific Marine Circle Tour is an excellent way to explore the historic West Coast of Vancouver Island. The wilderness route traces the coastline from Victoria through Sooke and Port Renfrew, continuing onto the Cowichan Valley and looping back down the Trans-Canada Highway via Duncan to Victoria.