Mount Cheam

A popular trail leading through alpine meadows to the summit of Mount Cheam, a prominent peak towering over the eastern Fraser Valley.

Statistics

Total Distance: 8.4 km (return)
Estimated Time: 4.5 hours
Average Grade: 15.8%
Structure: Linear - Return
Elevation Gain: 715 m
Start Elevation: 1447 m
Min Elevation: 1397 m
Max Elevation: 2112 m

Directions

Update July 24 2009

GPS distance from vedder Mtn Rd and chilliwack lake Rd to Foley FSR is 26.7km

Follow Highway #1 (Trans-Canada Highway) to Chilliwack, taking Exit #119 South. Follow Vedder Road until a three-way stop just before a bridge over the Vedder River. Zero your odometer here and turn left at the stop sign onto Chilliwack Lake Road. At the 26 km mark, immediately after passing the Ford Mountain Correctional Center and after one of the Vedder River bridge crossings. Turn left onto Chilliwack-Foley Forest Service Road. Zero your odometer again here.

Follow the forest service road for 2.0 km, turning left at the T-junction after the bridge over Foley Creek. Travel west for another two kilometers, turning right on to Chipmunk Creek Forest Service Road next to a large gravel pit. Continue to the parking area at the Mount Cheam trailhead, ignoring all of the branch roads and following the most obvious track the entire way.

Although the occasional beat up car has been known to make it to the trailhead, a 4x4 vehicle is strongly recommended. The road is extremely rough - it's not uncommon to see 2-wheel drive trucks stopped on the side of the road, the owners with confused looks on their faces as they wonder how they can make it to the top.

Details

At the above starting elevation, there is a large parking area and a barricade, so travel on foot must begin at this point.

Continue along the old road, and in roughly 20 minutes, you'll begin on the actual trail, which drops down roughly 50 metres into a lovely subalpine bowl, complete with a swimming hole.

The trail cuts along the side of this bowl, and then begins ascending the west face of Lady Peak, and eventually gains a col between Lady and Cheam Peaks.

The trail now begins rising and switching back and forth along the SouthWest face of Cheam, until the summit is achieved.

Allow a good 4 hours return time from the parking lot to the summit and back.

* Large parking area

* Log across one end, blocking ATV access

* Climb over, and follow the old road - now used only as a trail

* At the end of the old road, the trail starts and heads through some small stunted trees before descending into the valley (lower basin)

* Leads across a small creek and to the edge of Spoon Lake

* Past Spoon Lake, climbs the meadowy hillside - wildflowers/etc

* Sections of trees in between longer sections of meadows.

* Eventually reaches upper basin and tarn.

* Nice spots to rest by the tarn, some people camp here although this is unofficial and not recommended due to the popularity of the area and lack of facilities (read: outhouses).

* Short side trail leads to a viewpoint over Wahleach Lake.

* Past the upper basin the trail switchbacks uphill, eventually becoming rockier as it ascends.

* An unexposed rocky section near the top causes a bit of grief for some less experienced hikers

* Past the rocky section the trail becomes talus, turns right and leads up the talus slope to the summit. The talus slope is exposed but wide - a slip here would mean a fall to the bottom of the mountain. Still, it's relatively safe - but if you feel wobbly it's better to rest before heading up the final 100 meters.

* The summit has lots of room to sit and great views.

* A side trail just before the summit is the Mount Cheam Ridge Trail, and leads past a small rock shelter.

Photographs

GPS Waypoints

Trailhead N49.16826 W121.69392 10U 595207 5446982
End of old road N49.17353 W121.68533 10U 595823 5447579
Bridge N49.17413 W121.68304 10U 595988 5447648
Spoon Lake N49.17446 W121.68017 10U 596197 5447688
Upper pond N49.18009 W121.67779 10U 596359 5448317
Jones (Wahleach) Lake viewpoint N49.18144 W121.67557 10U 596519 5448470
Talus ridge N49.18605 W121.68269 10U 595991 5448974
Summit N49.18667 W121.68214 10U 596030 5449043