Shawnigan Lake to Jordan River (kinda)

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Spartan-463's picture

Shawnigan Lake to Jordan River (kinda)

Good day all,

I'd first like to thank all of you who have been documenting your trails through the island. It makes it much easier and more enjoyable for new islanders to enjoy the back country and what this island has to offer.

After a couple weeks of reading and extensive time on google maps/Alltrails, I finally decided to give the Shawnigan to Jordan river route a go since it was supposed to be a fairly easy but enjoyable excursion. The planned route was Shawnigan Lake -> Renfrew rd -> Kapoor Main -> West Jordan Main -> Butler Main -> East Main -> Forebay rd -> Jordan River. Unfortunately I had forgotten my newly purchased Backroads mapbook and Alltrails had not loaded anything south or east of Bear creek. Kinda running off memory for a bit of it.

It was a relaxing and sight seeing drive down Kapoor and West Jordan until I needed to turn off Butler onto East Main (between Bear Creek and Diversion). The gate was locked, shocking. Even worse was the immediate arrival of another Jeep and 2 cheerful ladies on the other side of the gate also looking to cross. This gate was clearly doing nothing as we both just freely drove into the FSR's. That's alright though, I remembered there was supposed to be a crossing by the Bear Creek Dam. Well its been deactivated/big ol dirt mound & ditch from the north side and there was no way to cross that. Ok, well just drive around Bear Creek then. Well besides the routes that climbed way up the mountain the only was along the Reservoir had a washout with some logs and branches to make a crossing that clearly was not it much use. With no guarentee that this route would make it to East Main and no 2nd vehicle to pull me if I did something stupid I turned back to Butler. I knew about Tugwell from some reading I've done here and there, and from what I remembered it was an open gate however it just had a block you had to navigate around. Well Butler to Tugwell was easy, no blocks, easy drive, however the gate was locked. 4 hours to get down there I was not turning around to do 4 hours back to Shawnigan at 7pm. Thankfully there was a marked narrow, pinstrippy path back to the road.

It was a fun adventure, but damn.... I miss the interior where I never saw a gate unless it was a park or someones farm.

Thought I would share my adventure for the next one that tries it. I do intended on going up Forebay/East Main and finding my way over. Though I would like to ask the other that have done that route or know the area well. Is that normally locked? Is there a way around Bear Creek onto East Main? Or is Walker Main onto Jordan Main possible? Finally the 2 girls in the Jeep, did you find that creek crossing you mentioned?

Thank you all,
have fun out there


GPS file (Google Earth): 
CJ-8's picture

Rob Purcell

I Agree very frustrating with all the gates. Over the years I have modified my rig to work around the issues. One of the most frustrating is the non wheeler’s that believe that it stops logging equipment from being vandalized. It does the opposite. The idiots that vandalize know there is very few eyes out there. Chin up and hammer down. Great pics and good topic

iruninca's picture


Nice write up! Thanks for sharing. I'm not far from Shawnigan Lake, so I might have to check this out for myself.

fx4's picture


I'm surprised the gate was open on kapoor. Its been mainly locked for the past 2 years.

theshanergy's picture

Alberni Valley

Hey this is my kind of exploring! Keep hitting dead ends until you find your way through - best way to discover new trails and sweet spots. The gates do suck but it's pretty much a reality of wheeling on the Island. Luckily there are often creative ways to 'bypass' that issue. Anyway looks like you had a great time - thanks for the pics and trip report, and welcome to the site!

Canuck120's picture

Adrian Jay
Victoria, BC

Awesome write up and pictures! Yes this gate thing is new to me too and I am sure they will make for some interesting detours and routes in the future!

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