Stage 3 - Port Renfrew to Lake Cowichan


Distance: 62 km
Riding Time: 1 hrs





Overview
Stage 3 is set to a backdrop of mountains, stretches of forest, roadside creeks, and some impressive trees. Most of it will be gravel forest service roads, and it can get pretty dry and dusty during mid-summer.

Special Note
There is very little cell coverage on Stage 3, so please ride with care. Also note that as of November 2017 there is now gas in Port Renfrew.

Meetup Location
Coastal Kitchen Cafe or the Port Renfrew Pub are the two common spots to meet prior to setting out toward Lake Cowichan. However, with the new gas station, this could prove to be a worthwhile meeting point - as long as they serve good coffee.

Food and Coffee
Again, Coastal Kitchen Cafe or the Port Renfrew Pub are the two common places to grab a bite to each along the way.

Scenery3 / 5
Most of the scenery along Stage 3 ranges between enclosed forests on both sides, and vast open areas offering view of the mountains. 

Traffic5 / 5
Very little traffic is expected to be found on this stage. Any traffic that is found can be easily and safely passed. 

Difficulty2 / 5
Relatively low difficulty, however there are a few spots near the beginning that can get a little confusing to stay on the right track. 

Road Conditions4 / 5
Hard packed dirt covering most of the stage, and in good condition. Surprisingly few potholes and ruts make this one of the most smooth dirt roads on the VIGL.


 Points of Interest
1. Avatar Grove
Avatar Grove is host to "Canada's Gnarliest Tree", which is a Western Red Cedar. There is a dirt trail and a few boardwalks leading around the old growth forest.
 
2. Big Lonely Doug Tree
This tree in the middle of a clearcut area stands about 70m tall. This tree comes in slightly lower than the world's largest Douglas Fir just one valley over - the Red Creek Fir. 

3. Fairy Lake Tree
Located off the main route, the lone bonzai fir tree growing out of a drown stump of drown Douglas Fir has become an iconic image of the region. An absolute must-see, and easily photographed from the side of the road.

4. Red Creek Fir
Also located off the main dirt road, and reported as the world's largest Douglas Fir tree. The road to reach it can be a challenge with few signs and a challenging gravel trail. The diameter is 4.2m and its height is over 70m.