Abbotsford

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.

  • Abbotsford TCT Pavilion
  • Chilliwack TCT Pavilion

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.).

Printable Maps & Directions (PDF)

Directions: Eastbound

Interim Connector Route to Douglas Taylor Park (Formerly Olund Park) - 11 km

From 80th Avenue (Marsh McCormick Road), at the site of cranberry farming, proceed south uphill on Lefeuvre Road (Lefeuvre Road becomes Graham Crescent) to McTavish Road (2.3 km). Head east on McTavish Road to Satchell Street after crossing Bradner Road (1.6 km). Follow Satchell South and as it turns sharply eastward it becomes Taylor Road (1.5 km). Follow Taylor Road past a cemetery and, further along, Mount Lehman Elementary School at Mount Lehman Road (2.5 km). The Mount Lehman Community Hall is on the northeast corner. Proceed south on Mount Lehman Road to Burgess Avenue (0.75 km). Turn east on Burgess, cross a set of railroad tracks to Olund Road --it looks like a private driveway or lane-- (0.8 km). Follow this Road south until it becomes a trail (0.5 km).

Matsqui Trail (From Olund Road) (Greater Vancouver Regional Park System) - 14 km

Follow this section of the Matsqui Trail all the way to the Fraser River south dike (3 km) after having crossed the Southern Railway tracks, then, further along under the CNR tracks, and past the Matsqui First Nations Reserve, a member of the Stó:lö, to the west bank of Mclennan Creek to Glenmore Road Trailhead. Proceed eastward along the Matsqui Trail on the dike to Page Road at the base of Sumas Mountain (10.5 km).

Clayburn Trail - 12.5k

From the end of the Matsqui Trail, follow Page Road south for a very short distance (0.5) turn left and cross over the CNR tracks on Little Street to Gallagher Road (0.7). Follow Gallagher Road west to Beharrell Road (1.4). Follow Beharrell Road (0.8) making a short jog westward on Fore Road (0.2) and continue on Beharrell Road crossing Harris Road to Hallert Road (1.6). Follow Hallert West to Bell Road (1.6 km). Follow Bell Road south to Clayburn Road (1.6).

Take Clayburn Road to Wright St. in Clayburn Village and turn right to Bateman Rd. For now follow Bateman Rd. to a park on your left. Take a the trail on the east side of a major creek and follow it to a school parking lot.  Take the road out of the parking (Wright Street) and cross Laburnum Ave to Immel St.  Stay on Immel right up to a roundabout and pick-up the Discovery Trail going east.

Abbotsford Discovery Trail East - 9 km

Carefully watch for signage following the paved Discovery Trail route (there are a few jogs off the trail) heading east to Lower Sumas Mt. Rd. (5k).  Turn left and follow Sumas Mt Rd. to Atkinson road (2.3k) and follow it to a path going down a short steep hill next to the road to a parking lot (1.8k). Pick up the trail along Mackay Creek to the next road (1.5k). Turn right over the Sumas River and take the south dike going east.

Sumas River Trail - 10 km

Follow the South Sumas River Dike east to Barrowtown. Just before Barrowtown, it will be necessary to follow North Parallel Road. Note that Barrowtown is a pump station controlling the levels of water in the Sumas River reminding us that much of the reclaimed farmland south of here was once the huge low level Sumas Lake.

Sumas Vedder Trail - 3 km

First, follow the Sumas River Dike eastward to the Vedder Canal Dike. Follow the Vedder Canal Dike by dipping under the Trans Canada Highway to the Keith Wilson Bridge and cross over to Chilliwack. Should the section under the Highway be flooded, it will be necessary to go back to Number 3 Road along the North Parallel Road and work your way to the Keith Wilson Bridge by following the signs to Chilliwack. If you are heading west and you can see at Keith Wilson Bridge that the track along the river below the dike is flooded head to Number 3 Road at the first opportunity and go over the Highway overpass to the North Parallel Road. Then backtrack going east until you see a Trans Canada Trail sign on your left (north side of the road). This puts you back on the Sumas River dike system.

Rotary Vedder River Trail - 11 km

From the Keith Wilson Bridge and having crossed the Vedder River to the east side, continue heading eastward by looping under the bridge from the bridge sidewalk. The route follows dikes and trails along the Vedder River up to Vedder Crossing at the bridge on Vedder Mountain Road. Drop onto a trail at the gravel storage site soon after the Keith Wilson Bridge. At the section between two successive bridges, it is a short trip to the Blue Heron interpretive centre, 500 metres north of the trail. On the east side of the railroad and just past the Lickman parking area stands another TCT Trail Marker (pavilion). This is kilometre 0 between this pavilion and the one in Hope 100 km later. Continue on this trail to the Vedder Bridge. There is road access to the dike at Keith Wilson Bridge, Sumas Prairie Rd. Lickman Rd., Peach Rd., and Vedder Crossing.

Cultus Trail - 6 km

The connection from the Vedder Bridge Crossing to Cultus Lake Park involves regular heavy road traffic at this time. This bridge crosses the Chilliwack River where it meets the Vedder River. For now continue westward on Vedder Mountain Road (0.7 km) and turn south, uphill, on Cultus Lake Road, 1.6 km. At the Cultus Lake Park sign take a forested trail on the left and admire large western cedars and douglas firs as you progress to the Sweltzer Creek fisheries headquarters on the trail for about 1 km.

From here continue to follow Trans Canada Trail signs to the lake shore.

Cross to the opposite side of the road from the fisheries buildings staying on the west side of Sweltzer Creek and take Lake Shore Drive leading to a parking lot. You may want to go over to the Cultus Lake kiosk to orient yourself before heading to the parking lot. At the southeast corner of the parking lot, cross over a small bridge crossing Sweltzer Creek to the edge of Cultus Lake, a highly popular beach. Follow the shoreline to the boat launch. Turn north to Park Drive. Cyclists using the beach trail are asked to walk their bikes whenever they pass pedestrians. (Equestrians need to stay on Columbia Valley Highway, turn right along Sunnyside Boulevard then turn left on Mountain View until it joins up with Park Drive and the main TCT.)

At the end of Park Drive pick up a trail besides a chain link fence that heads towards the Columbia Valley Highway. Just before reaching the highway follow a trail west parallel to it and take the first short trail to your right that appears to be heading for a pub across the main road. Cross the road to the right of the pub and continue on a trail heading up the hill to Elizabeth Road. Follow it through a residential cul-de-sac to Vance Road. From here turn right on Vance uphill as it becomes the active Liumchen Forest Service Road (FSR). This is the Liumchen Trail section of the Trans Canada Trail, start of the trail to Chilliwack Lake in the the Chilliwack River Valley.

 

Parking & Staging Areas

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).

Public Washrooms

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.

Accommodations

 

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.

Shopping & Provisions

 

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.