Gordon Bay Provincial Park is located on the western shore of the south end of Cowichan Lake, 15 km west of the small community of Lake Cowichan on southern Vancouver Island. The 51 hectare Park of second-growth Douglas fir forest is in one of Vancouver Island’s sunniest valleys, and is a popular campsite in the Cowichan Valley area. There are many species of birds, such as juncos, Steller’s jays and chestnut-backed chickadees as well as mergansers and golden eye ducks. While walking on the forest trails, look for deer, raccoons and red squirrels. Black bears, Roosevelt elk, beaver and cougars can also be spotted in the park.
The lake has fresh-water fishing available for anglers including cutthroat, Dolly Varden and Rainbow trout and chum, coho and spring salmon spawn in the lake and it’s tributaries. Nature lovers can take a leisurely walk along the designated park trails and find the forest floor covered in thimbleberry, salal and salmonberry and view vanilla leaves, foamflower and bunchberry which grow closer to the ground.
During the summer months, the bay is warm enough for swimming and water-oriented activities such as canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing, scuba diving and water skiing. The swimming area is surrounded by a log boom and offers a sandy beach for sunbathing and exploring. Near the sandy beach, there is a short trail that leads to a rocky point across from some small islands. The rock shelves have various private swimming areas plus offer beautiful views across Cowichan Lake. Once at the point, try floating out to the islands and go snorkelling along the eroded sandstone at the water’s edge.
The campground at Gordon Bay Provincial Park is open for full service starting March 30th to September 30th and contains 122 vehicle-accessible campsites. The campsites are well spaced out and some sites are set in very tall second-growth Douglas fir trees a few of which are quite large and private. Of these 126 sites, 122 of them are reservable starting January 12th. The reservation period is from May 12th to September 9th. There are 4 sites available on a first-come, first-served basis..
There are cold water taps throughout the Park, a combination of pit and flush toilets offering two separate hot shower facilities, and all the campsites feature campfire rings with firewood available for sale at the gatehouse. For pleasure craft operators, there is a boat launch situated near the day-use parking lot and water skiers must remain outside of the log boom. The large day use/picnic area has picnic tables, pit and flush toilets, a change house, a parking lot and an adventure playground. The day use picnic facilities are first come, first served. There are short walking trails in the Park that lead to the lake. Please obey the signs and keep to designated trails. Short-cutting trails destroys plant life and soil structure.
The Swordfern group site is situated within the campground near the Park Headquarters. There is plenty of parking nearby, just past the Gatehouse and connected to the group site by a small bridge. The spacious shelter has running hot and cold water with sinks, wood burning cast iron stoves, picnic tables and electricity for small appliances. There are pit toilets nearby and a large fire ring with benches surrounding it. The shower buildings are also available for group campers and they are located in the main campground area.