A Day Hike From Vancouver – Cheam Peak

From Vancouver there are multiple accessible day hikes you can do, from heading over to the North Shore mountains to driving for a few hours north, east, or even south. It is, of course, easier to reach a lot of these if you have a vehicle, but many of the North Shore hikes can be relatively easily reached via public transport, you just need to factor in a bit of extra time to get there and home. If you are interested in any local hikes check out Vancouver hiking trails. This website has some good information on it, from elevation gain and difficulty rating, to whether or not the hike is accessible by public transport.

This day we chose to drive inland (east) from Vancouver in the direction of Chilliwack (said ChillAwack, not ChillYwack, as my friend and I were corrected by a local). See this Vancouver to Chilliwack map showing the location. It takes about 1 to 1.5 hours depending on traffic and then you head off the main roads and onto some back roads. You end up on an old unused logging road that has deep ditches dug across it to facilitate water run off and also to deter people driving up there – not that it stops anyone. You do need an AWD or a 4WD to get up this road, and even in my AWD, we stopped part way up as these ditches became so steep one was scraping the back end of the car as you drove up the far side of the ditch (but it was fun doing a wee bit of 4WD style driving!). Luckily a super nice local (the one who corrected our “poor” pronunciation) picked us up in his 4WD truck with much better clearance and gave us a lift the rest of the way (and coincidentally, back down again after too).

The start of the trail featuring a loo! The peak you see is not Cheam Peak, that was off to the left of this shot.

The start of the trail featuring a loo! The peak you see is not Cheam Peak, that was off to the left of this shot.

This picture mostly shows the zig zag of a logging road winding its way up the mountain.

The zig zag of the logging road winding its way up the mountain.

The hike is approximately 9.5 km return with an elevation gain of 665 m. Doesn’t sound so much, but when you are walking uphill and don’t have much of a “slow” speed, it’s quite some gain! The first part of the track was relatively flat and in a bit of wooded forest before passing Spoon Lake, and then heading sharply uphill out in the open with no shade.

Spoon Lake - it was so pretty I wanted to jump in for a swim!

Spoon Lake – it was so pretty I wanted to jump in for a swim!

Although we did this hike mid-September, there was still a surprising amount of snow around the mountain. Granted it’s not a lot, but I was surprised to see any given the temperatures we had over summer.

This is Lady Peak. You can see there was still a wee bit of snow around even though it was mid-September.

This is Lady Peak. You can see there was still a wee bit of snow around even though it was mid-September.

We finally got to Cheam Peak (along with a couple of dozen others who were on the track before us), where we sat and ate our lunch. As always, the wind was chilly up so high, so the puffa jacket I had lugged up with me came in handy for keeping me nice and toasty while we ate and enjoyed the views.

The Fraser River, looking worse for wear due to silt, and Chilliwack in the background.

The Fraser River, looking worse for wear due to silt, and Chilliwack in the background.

The view from the peak back to Vancouver. As happens in summer, it becomes hazy because of the air pollution drifting down from inland. However this is nothing compared to the current smoky conditions we have this year from wild fires!

The view from the peak back to Vancouver. As happens in summer, it becomes hazy because of air pollution drifting from inland. However this is nothing compared to the current smoky conditions we have this year from wild fires!

Overall I would say this was a nice full day hike, including the driving. I would rate it as easy/intermediate – the trail was easy, super visible, non-technical, but there was a constant uphill grind that did require some fitness, otherwise it would not have been pleasant at all. A lovely day out getting some fresh air and exercise and seeing another part of the greater Vancouver area.

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