Forum Index > Trip Reports > Chilliwack River Trail – Lower Mainland, BC’s Old Growth Paradise
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lcometto
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PostWed Sep 11, 2019 6:37 am 
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For the last few years, I had heard that the ancient forest south of Lake Chilliwack contains some of the most pristine, virgin old-growth in all of Lower Mainland, BC. So last weekend I hiked around and photographed it as part of project to document the PNW’s best giant tree forests: http://www.lucascometto.com/cascadia-british-columbia.

Chilliwack River Trail
Chilliwack River Trail

Flanked by beautiful towering mountains that are snow-capped in the winter, Lake Chilliwack is among Lower Mainland’s most stunning natural wonders. The lake is itself is worth the visit but the Chilliwack River, which flows at the lake’s southern terminus, adds extra incentive. Here, the Chilliwack River Trail traverses outstanding groves of cedar, fir, and spruces. Indeed, the unique growths and odd shapes of old-growth trees are on full display for hikers willing to explore.

Chilliwack River Trail
Chilliwack River Trail
Chilliwack River Trail
Chilliwack River Trail

On the east side of the river, the River Trail follows the water closely, moving in and out of the dense forest. It is a rough route where often only the occasional flagging tape dictates the direction. You have to have your wits about you. There is a section where trail pops you out onto the banks of the Chilliwack River. This section, at one point, connected hikers with the Hanging Lake Trail (an even more unmaintained trail) on the other side of the river. The correct path requires you to backtrack and follow the flagging tape up the hill and continue south.

Chilliwack River Trail
Chilliwack River Trail
Chilliwack River Trail
Chilliwack River Trail

If followed long enough, the trail passes through by the largest known grand fir and through the international border with the United States. At that point, hikers enter North Cascades National Park in Washington and the trail deteriorates even further until it reaches Bear Creek Camp, approximately six miles from Lake Chilliwack. The sizes of the trees are absolutely worth the effort. It’s an absolutely magical place!

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Portfolio: www.lucascometto.com
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cascadetraverser
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PostWed Sep 11, 2019 10:50 am 
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Thanks for posting this.  On 2 different occasions, in 2004 and again in 2014 my party and I hiked north from the USA to Canada along the Chilliwack trail.  The trail is essentially non existent after Bear Creek north, and sketchy the 3 miles south of that.  Believe it or not, the Canadian section is in much better shape than in the USA (although it was loads better in 2004). The forest in Canada is indeed grand!

http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8012086
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iron
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PostWed Sep 11, 2019 1:20 pm 
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good stuff!

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man, you go through life, you try to be nice to people, you struggle to resist the urge to punch 'em in the face, and for what?

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lcometto
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PostWed Sep 11, 2019 7:08 pm 
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cascadetraverser, that is an incredible trip report! I can't imagine how crazy that bushwhack must have been. It's really too bad that so many of these old-growth hikes fall into disrepair. These forests are some of the most unique in the world.

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Portfolio: www.lucascometto.com
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Brushwork
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PostWed Sep 11, 2019 11:30 pm 
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What beautiful trees.   Thank you for posting and for documenting these.  Would be incredible to see.

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When I grow up I wanna play.
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lcometto
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PostThu Sep 12, 2019 6:40 am 
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iron - thank you for the kind words!

Brushwork - you would love this trail. It truly is awe-inspiring.

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Portfolio: www.lucascometto.com
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Backpacker Joe
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PostThu Sep 12, 2019 11:48 am 
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TREES RULE!  Great stuff.  Thank you for posting.

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"If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide."

— Abraham Lincoln
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cascadetraverser
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PostThu Sep 12, 2019 2:05 pm 
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Icometto:  The trail was in pretty bad shape my first trip and essentially gone the 2nd. It’s a really nice area and looping was an option and now not so much. I will figure out other ways next time!
I suspected border security concerns are foremost.

You have got to check out Big Beaver trail.  It would be right up your alley....
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iron
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PostThu Sep 12, 2019 2:11 pm 
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nothing to see on big beaver.

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man, you go through life, you try to be nice to people, you struggle to resist the urge to punch 'em in the face, and for what?

--- moe sizlack
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lcometto
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PostThu Sep 12, 2019 3:29 pm 
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iron - I think I may go there this weekend! Great suggestion!

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Zloi
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PostThu Sep 12, 2019 9:35 pm 
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Your trip sounds like it took place the first weekend of Sept. How far did you get on the Chilliwack R. trail towards the United States? Can you give more specifics on the trail conditions as far as you went?

Thanks, and great photos!
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lcometto
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PostFri Sep 13, 2019 8:40 am 
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Zloi, I got to about a half a mile from the border before I had to turn back because I was starting to lose light (took too long trying to get photos!).

The trail is definitely rough and can be challenging at times because there are sections where blowdown has obscured it but its less obvious sections are flagged so it shouldn't be too hard to reach the border.

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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Chilliwack River Trail – Lower Mainland, BC’s Old Growth Paradise
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