About the Journey:
This Loop combines the popular Discovery Trail and Matsqui Trails to form a loop via the Clayburn Creek Park Trail creating a 57 kilometre journey. Shorter loops within this loop are also indicated on the map. Of note, the Matsqui Trail and the eastern part of the Discovery Trail are on the main route of the Trans Canada Trail.
Apart from bottom valley views of the coastal mountains including Mt. Baker the main features along the route are Fishtrap Creek/Ellwood Park wetlands, the Discovery Trail paved pathway, views of farmlands and the Fraser River, the Clayburn Creek Park Trail, Clayburn, the forest approaching Douglas Taylor Park, and much more.
For the purpose of this loop Douglas Taylor Park was chosen. However, there are several other good staging areas. On the Discovery Trail these are in Gardner and Ellwood Parks, the Abbotsford Exhibition Grounds, and Wilband Park. There is street parking along other parts of the trail. Between the Discovery and Matsqui trails there is limited parking at Clayburn Park. The main staging areas for the Matsqui Trail are at the end of Page Road, at the Mission Bridge, and in Douglas Taylor Park.
Possible places for coffee and snacks – Shopping Centre just before heading into Gardner Park, Mt Lehman; possibly at the Exhibition Grounds; need to go somewhat out of your way below Lower Sumas Mountain Road towards Whatcom; most times in Clayburn; a bit out of the way in Matsqui Village from under the Mission Bridge.
Washrooms are only available on the West Discovery Trail up to the Exhibition Grounds and quite frequent on the Matsqui Trail between the Mission Bridge and the Page Rd stating areas.
Cycle Trail Loop
North Abbotsford – combining the Matsqui and Discovery and Clayburn Trails
Distance: up to 57 km, allows for several smaller loops (9, 40 and 47 km)
Starting and end point: A good staging area is the Douglas Taylor Park of Harris Road in the Mount Lehman area.
Connecting Roads – 25 km
Trails and Pathways – 32 km
Mode of travel: Well maintained Mountain Bike
Level of Difficulty: Intermediate - long distance and fairly steep inclines
Altitude – 0 to 204m/670 ft.
Suggested Start Time: 9:00 a.m.
Finish Time: between 3 to 5 pm
Time allowed: 6 to 7 hrs including lunch
Fitness level: Should be in good physical condition and have experienced cycling over 40k and uphill.
Possible places for coffee and snacks – Shopping Centre just before heading into Gardner Park, Mt Lehman; Possibly at the Exhibition Grounds; need to go somewhat out of your way below Lower Sumas Mountain Road towards Whatcom; most times in Clayburn; a bit out of the way in Matsqui Village from under the Mission Bridge.
Features and Description
Suggested starting point
The Douglas Taylor Park is a good starting point. It starts at a higher elevation, has lots of parking, and is easily accessible. From the freeway take the Mt. Lehman exit and head north on Mt. Lehman Road. Turn right on Harris Rd. and watch for the park on the left side of the road. There are many other staging areas along this route - several along the Matsqui Trail and others along the Discovery Trail.
Mount Lehman Connector - 7.2 km
This country road section between Douglas Taylor Park and the start of the Discovery Trail at Gardner Park is quite hilly but pleasant. The main features are the farm buildings and countryside.
Gardner Park, Fishtrap Creek, Ellwood Park, McClure Park and Clearbrook Park (Discovery Trail) - 5.3 km
This part of the Discovery Trail is a highly featured greenway all the way to the Abbotsford Exhibition Park. The Fishtrap Creek/Ellwood Park section consists of picturesque wetlands with bridging and boardwalks, the former site of a railroad corridor. It also allows for a very pleasant loop trail of 3.5 km. The trail is in a hydro right-of-way along Clearbrook Park that has a myriad of other single track trails.
Washrooms are available at Gardner Park and Ellwood Park
Abbotsford Exhibition Park to Highway 11 (Discovery Trail) – 4 km
Checkout the Abbotsford City website for activities that may be of interest at the Exhibition Park. The park offers a loop all around its perimeter that is about 2.5 km. From the Exhibition Park the trail is mainly in a wide hydro right-of-way and descends to Highway 11. From Old Riverside Park it offers great views to the south that includes Mt. Baker. The switchbacks, boardwalks, and bridging make for an interesting ride.
Washrooms are available in Exhibition Park.
Hwy 10 connector to Hazelwood Cemetery (Discovery Trail) – 1 km
Much of this section is on busy Highway 11 involving having to make a left turn at Hazelwood Ave. The Cemetery entrance and trail is on the right side of Hazelwood a short ways up. Abbotsford is working towards closing this gap by taking the trail across the highway into Wilband Creek Park, another great wetland feature.
East Discovery Trail - Cemetery to Immel Street Trailhead – 1.3 km
This short piece of trail first goes around the perimeter of the cemetery and climbs to the Immel Street Trailhead, some of it has a cycling lane on the road. At this trailhead there is an opportunity to cut the distance by 10 km and avoid a hefty Sumas Mountain Road climb by heading back on the TCT via the Matsqui Trail – see map. At this point the Discovery Trail is also the TCT.
Immel Street to Augustin Estates – 10.5 km
The first 5 km is mainly in a hydro right-of-way that goes over the south arm of Sumas Mountain to Lower Sumas Mountain Road. It is a great ride on a paved pathway that affords wonderful views of the valley below and Mount Baker in the Cascades. This ends the newly constructed Discovery Trail.
For the next 5.5 km the route is Lower and Upper Sumas Mountain Road to McKee Rd. Turn left onto a pathway that heads for the entrance of the Augustin Estates and the start of the Clayburn Park Trail.
Clayburn Creek Park Trail and Clayburn – 4.3 km
The first 2.3 km is a wonderful greenway ride on a wide gravel pathway through Clayburn Creek Park on a former rail corridor that was used by the Clayburn brick factory. The downhill is quite steep for a rail grade. It ends on Straiton Road. Take Straiton Road to Clayburn Road and head west or straight ahead. It is worthwhile to take a short trail in Claburn Park have a look at remnants of brick kilns. In Clayburn, there is a coffee shop but it is not always open. Note that many of the houses were built with the Clayburn brick.
Rural roads to the Matsqui Trail – 9.2 km
From Clayburn it is necessary to follow a number of rural roads to the Page Road Matsqui Trailhead. This is a pleasant cycle taking in the farmlands and views of the west flank of Sumas Mountain.
The Matsqui Trail- 13.8 km
The Matsqui Trail is unpaved and follows the Fraser River for 10.5 km then heads up to Douglas Taylor Park via the Matsqui First Nations lands. Instead of always being on dikes, it is suggested to take the trails that are below the dikes next to the shore of the Fraser River. However, some of them could be flooded by the river during spring run-off. These are pleasant trails that offer tree cover.
Do take the time to take in the views of the Benedictine Westminster Abbey bell tower in Mission and other mountains across the river. A stop at the TCT Pavilion between the Mission and rail bridges is a worthwhile stop. The last 3.3 km is in a dense wooded area with spectacular vegetation.
Washrooms are available at several locations along the Matsqui Trail between the Mission Bridge and Page Road.