Kinsol Trestle, Vancouver Island

The Kinsol Trestle, also known as the Koksilah River Trestle, is a wooden railway trestle located on Vancouver Island north of Shawnigan Lake in the Canadian Province of British Columbia. It provides a spectacular crossing of the Koksilah River.Completed in 1920, its dimensions measure 44m high and 188m long, making it the largest wooden trestle in the Commonwealth of Nations and one of the highest railway trestles in the world.It was built as part of a plan to connect Victoria to Nootka Sound, passing through Cowichan Lake and Port Alberni, when forestry had gained some ground on Vancouver Island and a more efficient way to transport the region's huge, old-growth timber was needed. It was not built, as some mistakenly believe, to serve any nearby mines. It was named after the nearby Kinsol Station which, in turn, took its name from a nearby mining venture grandiosely named “King Solomon Mines”, a very small mining venture that produced 18t or 18000kg of copper and 6300g of silver (from 254t of ore - hardly enough to fill 3 rail cars) over the period 1904-1907.The line was started in 1911 by the Canadian Northern Pacific Railway (CNoPR) and while it was designed by engineers, it was built by local farmers and loggers, with investment funds from the Canadian Western Lumber Company, which was the largest lumber company in the world at that time. The trestle was never completed by the CNoPR, and the line only reached Youbou before construction was terminated. The CNoPR was taken over by Canadian National Railways in 1918, and its line and the trestle were completed in 1920 as part of the "Galloping Goose" rail line. The last train to cross the Kinsol was in 1979, and the trestle was abandoned 1 year later.
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Kinsol Trestle Reviews
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  • September 2017. We were travelling from Courtenay/Comox to Victoria and had heard good things about Kinsol Trestle, so we detoured 15 mins from Hwy 19 to see it. The parking lot is 1K from the trestle...  more »
  • A short hike from the parking lot is this amazing trestle. The Kinsol Trestle is a wooden railway bridge that crosses the Koksilah River on the old CNR Cowichan line. Started in 1917, construction was...  more »
  • Not far from Shawnigan Lake Vancouver Island forming part of the Trans Canadian long distance hike this is a must see for anyone interested in Social History, engineering, or natural environment. Ther...  more »
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  • This amazing structure is well worth checking out. Built in 1920, it is 44 m (144 ft) high and 188 m (617 ft) long, making it t one of the highest railway trestles in the world! The trestle was sadly neglected for many years and nearly lost to a fire but fortunately it was restored in 2011 and is now part of the Cowichan Valley Trail. It is about a 20 minute walk from the parking area.
  • From the parking lot, it is level and a wide walkway to the Trestle. Located at the end of the Trestle, there is a riverside picnic area. All ages, strollers, bicycles and dogs (on leash) share this amazing walk. I once saw a fellow in a wheel chair with his family. Although it is a gravel path, he said it was well worth it. Historic, incredible and beautiful! Enjoy!
  • Awe-inspiring to know trains use to cross this structure. Arrive early if you would like to beat the little crowds. Be prepared for about a mile or so walk, but you'll be greatly rewarded with this magnificent structure.
  • I am so happy that the island has such an amazing historical site. It can be a bit of a trip if you are in Victoria but it is definitely worth seeing the grand scenery!!
  • Fantastic site with a hike to the Trestle. Very well maintained and a dazzling view. Good photo place.

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