While Grindaholic was founded on the roots of love for the world famous Grouse Grind, we of course hike (and encourage others to do so) the other awesome mountain trails found throughout BC and beyond (way beyond).
One hike that few know about (which helps keep the crowds down) is Mount Cheam, located near Chilliwack just outside of the Lower Mainland, overlooking the Fraser Valley. In addition to boasting one of the most spectacular views in the region, it is an all around fantastic hike for those of all reasonable skill levels.
4 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HIKING MOUNT CHEAM IN CHILLIWACK BC
1. The Park is Often Worse Than the Hike
While any ascent can be challenging, it’s the Forest Service Road to Mount Cheam Park’s trailhead that presents an even greater challenge for those without adequate wheels and suspension. If after navigating your way through the rugged road you actually find a good place to park (don’t go during primetime on sunny long weekends), you’ll have to bootcamp your way through a few logs and bits of natural debris that dot the park area. You’ll soon land on the gravel logging road which leads to the trailhead found on the left (takes about 15 minutes to get to). Once you’re at the trail, you’re gold.
2. The Trail
Your journey starts pleasantly, descending ever-so gently into a meadow where you can stop and smell the wildflowers depending on the time of the year. Some will say the scene is even more breathtaking in the autumn and we are not inclined to disagree.
From the meadow, you’ll cross over a small creek through to Spoon Lake. You may start thinking that you won’t be burning any calories at all, but you’ll quickly note that the literal uphill battle begins as you turn right at the trail junction where the path cuts between the wildflowers (when in season) and tall-standing grass.
In about 45-minutes (casual pace) the climb tapers off at the upper “pond” which may or may not have water in it as it is dependent upon rainwater and snowmelt to feed it. Hike on passed towards another uphill climb as the trail becomes a succession of switchbacks (a zig-zag pattern) along the mountain. The higher up you go, the less lush the scene becomes, which lets you know you’re on the right track. You’ll soon note a rocky well-worn path with an intriguing post-apocalyptic vibe to it (erring on the side of dramatic) – this leads to the peak, so keep on for another 35 minutes or so.
After a few more hard breaths, you’ll know the second you’ve hit climax as the ridge and subsequent summit unfold an unparalleled mountain view.
3. That View!
We said it above (in words and pixels) and we’ll say it again. The panoramic view from the peak of Mount Cheam is insane! Not only will you get a bird’s (God’s?) eye view of the Fraser Valley, your eyes will draw a line along the Fraser River, Jones Lake, Lady Peak, and to a spectacular sighting of iconic Mt. Baker to boot. Make sure your smartphone and GoPro is fully charged because you’ll be snapping more photos than Annie Leibovitz.
4. Enjoy the View with Caution
Having your picture taken while at the tip of the ridge and summit is the “thing to do” but be CAREFUL. The rocky terrain is an uneven one, with loose ground that can shift underfoot. Don’t venture close to the edge, no matter how sure-footed you think you are. You are no match for the wrath of Mother Nature so show her the respect she demands and you can kick back and enjoy the blessing that is Mount Cheam.