BC Day Hikes

Fraser Valley Waterfall Hike Road Trip

Suspension Bridge at Cascade Falls

I live in Vancouver and it rains a lot here.  If I waited for it to stop raining before going hiking, I wouldn’t hike much, so of course I hike in the rain.  However, sometimes the forecast is so truly terrible and calls for so much rain that going for a long hike means being cold and wet all day. And that’s no fun at all.

A couple weeks ago we experienced the wonderful weather phenomenon known as the Pineapple Express. It brought buckets of rain down for days and the forecast for the weekend was epically awful.  Instead of planning a long hike with hours out in the cold and wet, I decided that instead we’d go for a bunch of shorter hikes so we could warm up and hide from the rain in the car in between.  And since rain means lots of water, it seemed fitting to plan a series of waterfall hikes to see them at their highest flow.  I did some googling and looked at some maps and soon we had a rough itinerary for a one day mini-road trip with hikes to four different waterfalls in the Fraser Valley.  Funnily enough, on the day we did this trip we ended up with some sunny weather on what was supposed to be a rainy day, but I think our plan would have still been awesome in the rain.

 

Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil Falls in Chilliwack

Bridal Veil Falls

The first falls we visited was Bridal Veil Falls in Chilliwack.  You can see the top of this one from the Trans-Canada Highway and the exit towards it is prominently signed.  Even so, I don’t think I had ever stopped here as an adult.

The hike to the falls is quite short, probably about 1km return, but it does gain about 100 meters of elevation so you can get your heart rate up if you hike fast enough.  In the winter the gate is closed so you’ll need to walk the access road in to the falls which adds another half km or so (but it will be way less busy).

The official trail ends at a small viewing platform but base of the falls are further uphill.  There is a huge sign warning you not to go further upslope as you could die or be fined.  It seemed like a bit of overkill to me (and I did go part way up to quickly get a better view) but apparently in the winter the falls regularly drops chunks of rock, ice and trees, especially during heavy rains so it’s not a safe place to be.

 

Cascade Falls

Cascade Falls, Mission BC

The view of Cascade Falls from the new suspension bridge.

Next we headed to Cascade Falls in Mission.  This waterfall has been getting some buzz online lately since the regional district has upgraded the facilities in the area with a new suspension bridge that goes right in front of the falls.  After seeing it pop up in my Instagram feed almost daily I knew I needed to go check it out.  Seeing this falls was the inspiration for this whole waterfalls road trip.

Suspension Bridge at Cascade Falls

The wonderful new suspension bridge.

Thankfully, Cascade Falls does not disappoint! The trail and stairs leading to the bridge aren’t completely finished yet or officially open, but the whole place is spectacular – a mini Lynn Canyon that I’d argue is even better since the bridge is so close to the falls.  There are viewing platforms on both sides of the bridge and on the day we were there the mist being thrown up from the falls was incredible.  The hike up to the falls is very short; it’s probably only a kilometre round trip to falls from the parking lot and only 50m or so of elevation gain.

 

Steelhead Falls

Steelhead Falls in Mission, BC

Checking out Steelhead Falls

After a short break for lunch we headed to Steelhead Falls, also in Mission.  These falls are on the Reservoir Trail at Hayward Lake. There is a fair amount of info online on hiking the whole 10km length of the Reservoir trail (which includes the falls) but not that much about the most direct route to Steelhead Falls so let me help you out:  You want to park at a small parking lot on Dewdney Trunk Road just east of the Blind Slough Dam (about 1.3km east of the dam, just after you go under the power lines).  There’s a sign on the road for BC Hydro’s Hayward Lake Recreation Area so you should be able to find it.

From the parking lot its an easy hike down hill to join the Reservoir Trail.  Head left (south) on the Reservoir Trail for about a kilometre to get to the signed spur trail for Steelhead Falls. The stairs and boardwalks down to the falls are a bit slippery and are showing their age but they still provide a couple great viewpoints of the falls.  You have descended about 50m to get to the falls so your return trip will be all up hill.

 

Rolley Falls

Rolley Falls in Mission BC

The official (and smaller) Rolley Falls

Our last waterfall of the day was Rolley Falls at Rolley Lake Provincial Park in Mission. The Provincial Parks website says that Rolley Falls is the falls 10 minutes from the campground, but there is actually a much larger set of falls further downstream just outside the provincial park boundary.

Rolley Falls in Mission BC

The peek-a-boo view of the lower Rolley Falls.

Since the park gate is closed in winter, we walked in to the park on the service road, then walked through the campground to the far north end.  Next to an outhouse is a trail heading north: this is the trail to the falls.  Follow this trail for a few minutes to a junction where you go right and head downhill.  At the bottom you’ll join a forest service road.  Turn left and walk on the road across a small bridge.  Just after the bridge the trail starts up again beside the creek.  The trail climbs steeply for a few minutes with some peek-a-boo views of the falls before reaching two small viewing platforms that give the best view of the falls (although they are still a bit obscured).

After viewing the falls continue heading uphill on the trail.  Soon you’ll cross a bridge in front of a short falls – this is what the Provincial Park calls Rolley Falls, but it is way smaller!  Not long after the bridge you’ll reach the same junction you came through on your way to the falls.  Turn right to head back to the campground and retrace your steps to your car.  It’s about a 4km round trip hike from outside the park gate with about 150m of elevation loss and gain (the low point is the forest road bridge).  If the park gate is open you can park in the day use area but that only saves you a few hundred meters of walking.

 

If you go:

The best times to view waterfalls are on the days following a rainstorm or during the spring run off, but be careful as these storms can also wash out trails or send debris over the falls.  Don’t forget your rain jacket, some waterproof hiking boots and of course your camera (just be careful not to let it get too wet!)

You can find more information about these falls in the links I’ve provided above.  As well, a great resource is the VancouverTrails.com waterfalls page that provides a list of local waterfalls with links to a dedicated hike directions and instructions page for each falls.

If you are looking for other things to do in the area, our trip also included stops at Harrison Hot Springs (for a quick stroll along the lakeshore) and Westminster Abbey in Mission (to check out the view from the bluff).

 

Have you been to any of these waterfalls?  What other waterfalls should I visit in the Fraser Valley?  I know I need to go back as there are lots more.

 

More gorgeous Vancouver area waterfall hikes:

Hike to Crooked Falls in Squamish

Kennedy Falls and the Big Cedar

 

 

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4 Fraser Valley Waterfalls. Waterfall hikes near Vancouver.

Short and easy waterfall hikes near Vancouver. 4 short hikes to waterfalls in the Fraser Valley near Vancouver. You can visit all of these Vancouver area waterfalls in one day on a road trip.

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6 Comments

  • Reply
    Thao Nguyen
    September 10, 2015 at 9:31 pm

    This is an awesome recount of your waterfall-seeking adventure. Looking forward to checking these out myself!

  • Reply
    Paul
    December 16, 2015 at 9:41 am

    I never get tired of BC waterfalls!

  • Reply
    ERB
    July 23, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    After stumbling onto this post via a Google search for Fraser Valley day hikes my wife and I went today to the three waterfalls in Mission (we went to Bridal Falls a few months ago). She liked Cascade Falls the most, I liked Steelhead Falls the most. Both Rolley Falls were underwhelming – we never did get an unobstructed view of the larger lower falls. Getting to and from the lower Rolley Falls was the hardest hike by far (steepest incline, roughest trail): a group of ill-equipped tourists made it down to the bottom of the logging road and were considering the 10km road trek out rather than the steeper trail back up (which only really takes 30 minutes, even going slow). If you do them in order from East to West – Bridal, Cascade, Steelhead, lower Rolley – then it’s basically degree of difficulty, from easiest to hardest.

    Thank you for this post: it inspired a fun day trip today!

    • Reply
      Taryn Eyton
      July 25, 2016 at 5:59 pm

      Glad to hear you got out to see all of those falls in one day! I agree on Rolley Falls – they both are kind of underwhelming but if you are in the area anyway I suppose they are worth a visit. I hadn’t thought of them being ranked in order of difficulty that way – it’s a good way to think about it!

  • Reply
    Mark
    September 14, 2017 at 9:18 pm

    Thank you for taking the time to offer your suggestions, tips and insights. My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed visiting all four falls today and had a hard copy of your blog post to help guide us. All four stops were well worth the time and energy. What a great way to spend a beautiful September day in BC’s beautiful Fraser Valley.

    • Reply
      Taryn Eyton
      September 15, 2017 at 4:37 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it Mark! I’ve been thinking about putting together a printable PDF guide for this waterfall roadtrip – it sounds like something you guys would have been able to use, so I guess I should have made it earlier. 🙂

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