chilliwack hiking


Elk Thurston Trail – Chilliwack BC

Such a great day to get out and enjoy Elk, and apparently I wasn’t the only one with that idea as the trail was packed.  Fun to see so many people out enjoying the excellent trails that Chilliwack has to offer.  Click this link if you need directions on getting to the trail head.  DIRECTIONS TO ELK  It’s about a ten minute drive from the Bailey/Prest intersection.  Easy to find, just park at the clearing on the left and look for the Elk Thurston Trail sign which is on the far right side of the parking area.

The trail for the most part is easy…and I saw a lot of people on the trail who had different levels of fitness.  The info in the link above says it takes 4 hours which I think is pretty generous…I was up and down in 3 and that’s with a long relaxing stop at the top.  Most of the trail is very basic hiking with some average grade and it really isn’t until the last 20 minutes or so that it gets a little more aggressive.  As soon as you come out of the tree line you get a great view of the Chilliwack River Valley on your right.  It actually surprises you how high you have climbed.  From there it is another couple minutes to the first lookout.  This spot gives you a great view of Cultus Lake and Chilliwack through to the Fraser River.  Seems like a lot of people stop here but going up just a few minutes further is worth it.  I took the narrow south side to the top which is pretty steep and wouldn’t recommend for everyone.  There is a short patch that makes you feel like you are gonna fall off  the side of the mountain 🙂  The trail to the right is the one most people take.  Again coming out of the trees you get an even better view.  This is the spot where a lot of people paraglide off of the mountain.  Sort of a steep grassy area where they launch themselves over the edge.

If you are looking for a good workout and amazing views of the valley give Elk a try…you won’t be disappointed.


Mt. Thom Hike

I took my 2 youngest kids (5 and 9) up Mt. Thom, which should give you an indication of the difficulty.  Very easy, casual hike.  There are a few different ways to access the trail.  We parked our car on Sylvan Road, just off of Thom Creek Drive, and you can see a set up stairs heading up into the hill.  This is the second easiest location to start from.  If you travel into Ryder Lake and head to Churchill Parkway you can access the peak the quickest from that location.  If you want a bit more of a challenge than either start on Jinkerson Road and take the trail right beside Thom Creek Drive or even better, start at the bottom of Promontory on Teskey Way and Bailey Rd.

Mt. Thom has received a lot of attention over the past few years and has been turned into a really pretty hike.  It used to have a daunting set of stairs in the middle of the trail which has been taken out and replaced by a longer, less steep trail.  You can still walk up where the stairs used to be and I have a picture of that below, but its pretty slippery.  They also widened the trail, and brought in some rock retaining walls, which give it a bit of a pampered hike look, but with the amount of people on the trail, you will appreciate the extra space.

Overall the hike (from Sylvan) starts on a wide gravel path and quickly turns into a more narrow dirt path that goes up and down.  Unlike most hikes where you continue to go up the whole time, Mt. Thom has a lot of random elevation changes during the hike.  This makes the hike longer than it should, but it does give your legs a break and makes for an easier hike.  Most of the way up you will have some nice views of Chilliwack, especially in the winter when the trees haven’t filled in.  The final leg, heading along the ridge the views are gone until it opens up at the top.  There is a wooden fence and the trees are cleared away which give you a great view of Promontory, Chilliwack, Fraser River and Cultus Lake.  The day we were there, we saw a bunch of hawks and bald eagles flying around.

I took a couple pics from the Promontory store showing where the hike ends and how high you are going.  Overall, it’s a great local hike especially for less experienced hikers.