About the Route:
From the Abbotsford-Langley Boundary situated in Glen Valley in the middle of cranberry producing fields the trail will get away from the Fraser rising onto the Mount Lehman plateau following country roads passing farmlands and country estates to the Mount Lehman settlement with its heritage buildings dating as far back as 1864. Soon after, at Douglas Taylor Park, begins the 10 kilometre Matsqui Trail by descending back down to dikes along Fraser River protecing the Matsqui Prairie. At the Mission Bridge is the Matsqui Trail Regional Park where there is an excellent campsite and is the location of a red-roof TCT Trail Marker overlooking the Fraser River. Supplies can be found a few blocks south on Riverside Street in historic Matsqui Village.
Over the Mission Bridge, is a large shopping centre and historic Mission City. A little further along is the Hatzic Rock Site where there is a Longhouse Interpretive Centre run by the Xá:ytem First Nations, Stó:lö member -- 35087 Lougheed Highway. Mission is also the end of the line for the West Coast Express Commuter Train that can take one all the way back to Vancouver in the morning and back again in the evening.
The end of the Matsqui Trail abuts against the Sumas Mountain a challenging bump bounded by the Fraser River and the Sumas Prairie stretching all the way to the U.S. border.
For the Trans Canada Trail, it was decided to follow the base of the mountain on country roads to Clayburn Village, the site of a former clay factory of which remnant of its large kilns can be found in a park across a quaint coffee shop. Then, its over the toe of the mountain on the superb paved east section of the Abbotsford Discovery Trail. However, for the more adventurous hiker, there is a rugged trail (the Centennial Trail) that traverses the mountain past Chadsey Lake in the Sumas Mountain Regional Park and later rejoins the main Trans Canada Trail at a major pumphouse on the Sumas River on the edge of the Barrowtown. The pumphouse controls the water levels of the diked Sumas River protecting lands that was reclaimed from a huge shallow lake.
Off the toe off Sumas Mountain the trail finds itself on yet another series of dikes controlling the Sumas River and the Vedder Canal. The Vedder takes the outflow of the Chilliwack River and is a real magnet for fishermen. At a bridge over the Vedder (Keith-Wilson Bridge) is the Chilliwack boundary and the start of the Rotary Vedder Dike Trail.
Here trekkers are treated to vistas of farmland and mountains, a blue heron rookery known as The Great Blue Heron Reserve, the Rotary Interpretive Center, and many interpretive markers along the way. The trail is generally hard-packed gravel and flat, allowing many user groups, including wheelchairs, to take advantage of this section. This was the location of the former Canadian Forces Base Chilliwack. Washroom facilities are located at several locations along the trail.
The trail ends at Vedder crossing where a decision needs to be made either
- Head on the more adventures route via Cultus Lake, Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park, and over Paleface Pass to Hope, a mountainous route.
- Take the alternate cycling route through the City of Chilliwack back along the Fraser to Rosedale and then over the Agassiz Bridge to take Highway 7 to Hope, a relatiely flat route with good bike shoulder lanes..
Cultus Lake Park and Cultus Lake Provincial Park are located in a beautiful mountain setting that attract thousands of people every summer. It offers all the amenities associated with a summer destination. The Soowahlie First Nation, a member of the Stö:ló, also make this area their home. This is the last chance to buy supplies before heading up the valley.
Trail Highlights and Developments:
At this time, from Fort Langley and through portions of Abbotsford there are substantial sections of the Trans Canada Trail Route on pleasant rural roads. While walking the trail from Horseshoe Bay to Fort Langley is the better experience, cycling it on this section is the better choice. It is hoped that over time substantial sections of this route will be off-road. In the shorter term, much of this is likely to happen in the Glen Valley section requiring a substantial re-route.
Elevation Changes In Abbotsford
The terrain is quite hilly from 80th Avenue on Lefeuvre Road to the Glenmore Trailhead on the Matsqui Trail. It is completely flat on the Matsqui, Sumas River and Vedder dikes. The rural roads to Clayton Village are also very flat. Expect substantial changes in elevation going over Sumas Mountain.
As for Chilliwack there no significant elevation change on the Rotary Vedder River Trail. The change in elevation from the Vedder dikes to Cultus lake is about 50 metres (165 ft.).
Abbotsford: There are three staging areas along the Matsqui Trail - the Glenmore Road trailhead, Mission Bridge Picnic/Camping site, and the Page Road trailhead. Another staging area can be found at Douglas Taylor Park.
Chilliwack: At the foot of Sumas Prairie Road, Lickman Road, Peach Road, and Vedder Road (CFB Chilliwack).
Abbotsford: There are public washrooms at the three staging areas along the Matsqui Trail - the Glenmore Road trailhead, Mission Bridge Picnic/Camping site, and the Page Road trailhead. Washrooms are expected to be installed in Douglas Taylor Park another staging area. And, there are washrooms and a picnic area at MacDonald Park on the Sumas River Dike Trail at the end of Number 3 Road. Other parking areas along the Trail include: Clayburn Village, west end of the Sumas River Dike Trail, Barrowtown Pump Station, and Keith Wilson Bridge.
Chilliwack: Along the Rotary Vedder River Trail: at the foot of Sumas Prairie Road, Lickman Road, Peach Road, and Vedder Road (CFB Chilliwack). All kinds of facilities in Cultus Lake.
Camping is available under the Mission Bridge in Abbotsford.
Camping is plentiful at Cultus Lake Park.
There are also many camping spots in the surrounding areas.
Hotels and Bed & Breakfasts are in abundance in the Abbotsford and Chilliwack areas.
Shops and restaurants close to the Trail are at Matsqui Village from under the Mission Bridge and Clayburn Village. The large shopping centre across the Mission Bridge is easily accessed.
There are all kind of shops and restaurants along Vedder Road in Chilliwack.