I was reading on Facebook the other day and someone posted “Don’t Hike Chilliwack. Nothing to see here” and I immediately “Liked” the comment. Since then I’ve noticed that 4 others have liked that comment, which probably means most people would agree if you asked them.
Have you been duped like many others into believing you should visit Chillwack for the hiking and great outdoors activities? Let me repeat the truth once and for all… Don’t “Hike Chilliwack”. There’s nothing to see here.
I’ve lived in Chilliwack since 1985 and back then, (it’s even worse today) Chilliwack had a whole lot of nothing to see or do in the way of outdoorsy stuff.
I’ve certainly never thought that I (or anyone else for that matter) would want to put on hiking boots and go for a stroll in or around Chilliwack. Where would you go?
There’s that little river I guess (is it called the Vedder River or the Chilliwack River, I can never remember) that I suppose one might walk alongside. There’s the Fraser river too, but it’s massive yet you don’t really see it from town and most people forget that it’s there. (That’s got to tell you something). I suppose there’s trails that follow the banks of parts of those rivers. But go to a river for a walk? Go for a bike ride, push a baby stroller, take a camera and take pictures of birds along these rivers? Ha ha.
There’s Cultus Lake too. But with its beaches with sand that’s hard to walk on, and really old trees and moss and ferns covering everything it’s not somewhere anyone would plan to take the family. One piece of advice: If you’re ever going anywhere during the summer and you can hear people screaming from about a kilometer away before you even get there just turn around. Those blasted waterslides and rollercoasters at Cultus Lake do nothing for the quiet in Chilliwack.
I’ve heard about Chilliwack Lake, but that’s waaay out in the middle of nowhere, there’s no cell phone coverage that deep in the forest, and people who like camping hang out there. Nuff said.
There are some hills nearby called Mt Thom, Elk Mountain, Chilliwack Mountain, Vedder Mountain, etc but walking or hiking on these is a joke. First of all while there are “trails” all over these mountains, they’re hard to walk on because there’s so many rocks, roots and so much uphill. The trails get super muddy during the wet season. And there’s ladies (and sometimes dudes) with little dogs OFF LEASH on these trails. The dogs will jump up on you with muddy feet and the owners will say “oh don’t worry, he’s fine”. More than that, on Vedder Mountain you might think you’re safe but you’re not. I heard it said that there’s mountain bikers all over that mountain and that they’ve built huge jumps and raised platforms and bridges throughout the forest. You might be out on one of those trails and and have to move off the trail to let a mountain biker go by. Don’t even get me started about this stuff that pretty much only grows in Chilliwack’s forests called Devil’s Club and Stinging Nettle.
When you drive along the freeway from Abbotsford towards Chilliwack you might see a couple of mountains like Mt Cheam and Lady Peak and maybe Mt Slesse, but those are steep and rocky and have snow, thick forests (and animals) on them much of the year. If you’ve seen a mountain once once you’ve seen it a thousand times. It’s not like these mountains change or do anything interesting. If you had a truck (or cajoled a friend with a 4×4) and wanted to drive up to the base of one of those mountains and climb to the top you could probably do it in a day but that would pale in comparison to, say, playing Pokemon Go at the Cottonwood Mall. I mean if you want to see all the way out to Vancouver why don’t you just go to Vancouver?
I’ll share a personal story to drive this whole thing home: Teapot Hill. Recently I heard people talking about “hiking teapot” and I decided I’d try it and at least go for a nice cup of tea. Yeah, not so much. First you have to drive precariously close to Cultus Lake’s edge to get to the parking lot. Second, it’s no tea party at all. It’s walking straight uphill for AN HOUR only to stand and the top and realize there’s no tea or coffee shop. (I did see a couple of teapots in the forest: strange). All you can do is just stand at the top of Teapot Hill and gawk at Cultus lake way below. I couldn’t find a way back down to my car other than by walking. All downhill.
All in all, for the above reasons, and many more that I know you’re thinking right now after reading this, my strong recommendation is don’t Hike Chilliwack because there’s nothing to see here.
I encourage you to keep searching for good places to go and cool things to do though. Try Googling something like awesome things to do for cool people and you’ll soon find yourself watching Youtube videos for hours and will have quickly forgotten about this whole Chilli-wack thing.