Chilliwack River Ecological Reserve Trail
A lovely trail meandering south through old growth cedar, fir and hemlock.
||9.4 km (return)
||Linear - Return
From Highway #1 (Trans-Canada Highway) in Chilliwack, take Exit #119 heading South. Follow Vedder Road through Sardis until a 3-way stop immediately before the Vedder River Bridge. Turn left onto Chilliwack Lake road at the stop sign.
Follow Chilliwack Lake Road to the end of the pavement where the main entrance to Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park is. Instead of turning right and past the park gates, continue straight onto a dirt forestry road. The road is in fairly rough shape with large potholes but small cars can still make it at a slow pase. Follow the forestry road until you reach a barricaded gate on the Depot Creek Bridge, near the south end of the lake. Park here.
The trail is unmaintained and a bit rough with some deadfall and bushy sections, but overall it is fairly easy to follow. Old growth cedar, fir and hemlock trees can be found along this trail, with many of them being quite impressive in stature. The trail continues along the Upper Chilliwack River leading south to the American border, but most people only hike to the section of old growth forest.
To reach the trail, walk across the gated bridge and past a sign marking the start of the Chilliwack River Ecological Reserve. An ecological reserve is a special type of park designed to preserve special natural ecosystems. Please tread lightly– it is against the law to camp, start fires, hunt, fish, or establish new trails here. Once across the bridge, continue down the old road for approximately one kilometer before reaching a pleasant sandy beach on the south end of Chilliwack Lake.
Beyond this point, the road quickly becomes overgrown. Approximately 100-200 meters past the beach, watch for a faint trail on your left that may be marked with an old ecological reserve sign. This is the original trailhead for the Chilliwack River Ecological Reserve Trail. A marsh has expanded over the trail here, and all that remains of the original bridge is broken and fallen to one side. By whatever means you can, make your way around the watery terrain to the forest on the other side.
The unmaintained Canadian side of the trail is locally known as the "Chilliwack River Ecological Reserve Trail". On the US side of the border the route is better maintained and is known as the "Chilliwack River Trail". Hiking the entire route from the Depot Creek bridge to Hannegan Road in Washington State is a total distance of approximately 48 km. Make sure to check into the legalities of hiking across the border before heading across the line. (As of 2010 it is not Legal to hike across the border. You must cross at a border checkpoint now)
|Depot Creek bridge (gated)
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|Start of original Ecological Reserve trail
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|South edge of marsh
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|Trail reaches edge of Chilliwack River
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|Directly across river from Hanging Lake trailhead
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|Old 2.0km marker (based on original trailhead)
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|Trail washed out / undermined
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|Canada / United States border
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