Kid Friendly Winter Trails in Chilliwack
Winter set in its claws and left quite a mark here on the West Coast. Now March is here, which means Spring is just around the corner but let's be honest, we are all experiencing cabin fever! So what can you do on a slushy, rainy, cold day when its too gross to plan a big trip but you've just been stuck inside for too long? If you live in my area here are some of our go-to favourites for small trips that don't require too much effort but still will get you outdoors. And if you don't live around here, check out the bottom of the post for ideas on how to find outdoor fun in your area! And as with any trip, beware of the weather conditions and only go out if you feel prepared. Don't forget to bring the 10 essentials whenever you go on trails or exploring away from your car. We carry a small first aid kit with us even on our small trips just to practice good habits!
DURING THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK: Be sure to also pack hand sanitizer, practice frequent hand washing, stay away from indoor areas and metal railings. This list was written before the pandemic, so consider the locations that may or may not be best for your family's social distancing needs.
Flood Hope Falls: (above) This is a great trip for any time of the year. This is a family-friendly walk, .5km through the forest to a beautiful waterfall. Located in Hope, BC. (Be careful not to go to these falls during Flood rains, it was named "Flood" Falls for a reason)
The Community Forest: (above) This trail system on the Eastern Hillsides is a mecca of new trails for explorers of all ages to check out. There is even a shelter at the parking lot for raining days. The trails are well marked and vary in length and difficultly for all experience levels.
Cheam Wetlands: (above) A large bird sanctuary with parklands with fun trails and bridges for the kids to explore. This is a great area for walks, bird watching and picnics. It is located at the base of Mount Cheam in Popkum.
Browne Creek Wetlands: This is a new wetlands located on the Vedder Greenway on the south side of the Vedder River. It features spawning channels, trails and is a great place to view wildlife and natural systems up close!
Great Blue Heron Reserve: A large bird sanctuary in Greendale with wetlands, trails, river access and an interpretive centre that is open year-round. There is so much to explore here you will want to come back for another trip!
Thompson Park: This park in the Chilliwack River Valley, looks just like a field from the road, but head to the trails in the back of the parking lot and you will find a network of trails leading to beautiful beaver ponds and the Vedder River.
TransCanada Trail: Yes we have part of this cross country trail running right through our beautiful valley! Our favourite parts of this trail run from Riverside Campground to Allison Pools, and off the Tamihi FSR. The trail crisscrosses the road many times so there are lots of sections you can tackle individually, or do a car drop and take on a longer section. This trail is also great for trail runners and beginner mountain bikers!
The Historic Fisherman's Trail: This small trail runs on the North Side of the Chilliwack River just before Tamahi bridge. Follow the trail east along the river and watch kayakers battle the rapids, or explore the pools at the river's edge.
Chipmunk Caves: (above) This trail starts at a small pullout off Chilliwack Lake Rd and winds it's way down to the river and then leftover to the site of the caves. Bring full rain gear, a helmet and headlamp to explore the wonders of the Chipmunk caves. The cave right in front is easy to navigate and tall enough for a child to walk right through. Only explore as far as you are comfortable in every situation.
Island 22: (above) Located on the Northside of Chilliwack on the Fraser River. This large park has fields, trails, a bike park, beaches, horse grounds and tons of geocaching opportunities! It is great for just a quick walk or a full day trip complete with a sunset picnic on the beach. Our favourite spot is a 1 km down the dyke to a huge sandy beach and views that feel like the end of the earth! 😍 When the water is low it also can provide access to a side channel of the Fraser for those confident in river canoeing and kayaking.
Hope Slough: There are 2 parks along the Hope Slough. Corbould park has access at Corbould St. You can walk along the path under gorgeous old trees and explore various viewpoints that lead down to the water. Kinsmen Park access has a walking bridge that crosses the slough and leads to trails on Little Mountain on the other side. It is also a great place to put in a kayak or canoe if you are looking for a drop-in point!
Peg Leg: (above) This lesser-known river area is the perfect place to teach the kids about rockhounding and if you know what you're looking for, it is teaming with agates of all sizes and colours. In low water which is late winter, early spring (before freshet) and late summer, the river bed dries up and you can walk your way over to the islands for endless opportunities for fort building, exploring ponds, and so many rocks of all shapes and sizes! To access, park at the very north end of McSween Rd, walk down to the river and turn left along the bank. (You may not see the area until you turn left around that corner).
And if you don't live in the Eastern Fraser Valley? If you don't know of trails in your area or are stuck on new ideas, head down to your local tourism office. Not only will they have handy maps and easy to follow directions for all the best local spots, the trip itself can be a fun field trip on a rainy day! Also look for local groups on social media that focus on outdoor activities. Our local page is a wealth of knowledge of trail reports, road conditions, new trails being built and fun places to explore! And if both of those aren't an option in your area, be brave! Kids don't always need a long trail to follow or an impressive destination, just find a forest with a small stream in your area and let them play. I'm always amazed at how a bit of water can entertain my kids for hours as they build dams, jump over and splash around the streams and pools. And if it is a cold day, don't forget the thermos of Hot Chocolate to keep their tummies warm and happy.