Trail Development

From time to time, North Cowichan undertakes the development of new trails based on either community planning and/or filling missing needs within the Managed Forest Lands.

If you have interest in developing trails within North Cowichan, specifically within the Managed Forest Lands, it is important to know the process that we look for in advance of tools hitting the ground or trails being considered for development.

We request that all trail development follows the protocol set out in the IMBA's Trail Solutions book.  Within this guide book, it identfies the following 11 steps:

  1. Get Permission and Build a Partnership
  2. Identify Property Boundaries
  3. Determine Trail Users
  4. Identify Control Points
  5. Configure Loops
  6. Plan a Contour Loop
  7. Determine Type of Trail Flow
  8. Walk and Flag the Corridor
  9. Develop a Construction Plan
  10. Conduct an Assessment Study
  11. Flag the Final Alignment and Confirm Permission

Additional thought on trail development and the user's experience can be found within the Bureau of Land Management (US)'s Guidelines for a Quality Trail Experience.

When pondering trail development, be aware that the Municipality, through its Parks & Trails Master Plan has identified the following key uses for our primary mountains, along with our timeline for rolling out mapping for each of them is as follows:

Mountain Permitted Uses Timeline
Maple Mountain Hiking, Mountain Biking, Equestrian 2018
Mount Tzouhalem Hiking, Mountain Biking 2018
Mount Richards Hiking, Equestrian 2019 to 2020
Mount Prevost Hiking, Downhill Mountain Biking 2019 to 2020


Currently, we are also asking for trails to be considered be vetted with the Cowichan Trail Stewardship Society, as they are becoming responsible for trail maintenance within our Managed Forest Lands and are our partners in overseeing trails on Maple Mountain and Mount Tzouhalem.

In addition to these stages, all trails must be carried out according to established best practices and standards.  North Cowichan's preferred guidelines for construction and maintenance of mountain bike trails are described in:

To contact us to discuss trail development and future plans, please email trails@northcowichan.ca