If you are looking for thrills and adventure, than the Chilliwack River is sure to please. With X length of rapids in a total length river, the Chilliwack is an accessible place year round rafting destination.
The Chilliwack River is just south of the City of Chilliwack, about 100 km from downtown Vancouver, BC. The river is located in its own valley - the Chilliwack River Valley - that runs into the much larger Fraser Valley.
The Chilliwack River Valley is used for forestry, recreation, camping, hiking, ATVing, and some housing both seasonal and permanent. Here is a look at a calmer section of the river. Notice the fisherman standing in the river - fishing is very popular in the Chilliwack River Valley.
A calmer section of the river
Flouting down the stream is fun and all. The floating part is good for spotting wildlife, relaxing, practicing safety drills, or just chatting about the excitement of the last rapids. But enough float along - let's get into some White Water!
Rafting the Chilliwack River
There are several competing rafting outfitters based in Chilliwack. Hyak (in the video) offers tours of not only the Chilliwack River whitewater but also other BC rivers on a seasonal basis. They are based in Sardis and drive into the Valley.
Chilliwack River Rafting has been around longer and operates from a picture perfect riverside base in the amazing Chilliwack River Valley. This means once you are on site you can gear up and hit the water faster.
Rafting is available year round in Chilliwack and attracts guests from the Lower Mainland, Washington State and from around the world who want to experience the thrill of BC river rafting.
The rafting companies use small foot cup equipped paddle rafts that help keep you in the raft and maximize your fun. They offer a range of trips, from those designed to thrill even the most experienced white water rafter to trips suitable for kids and first time whitewater rafters.
Bring a swim suit because the wet suits, life jackets, paddles and rafts are all included in the guided ride fees.
If you work with Chwk River Rafting, you can also camp and arrange catered meals at their private, relaxed, home base with 1500 feet of river front and panoramic views of the Cascade Mountains.
More Chilliwack River Rafting Video
If you can't make a day trip of rafting the Chilliwack, or you want to do several days back to back, there are a number of reasonably priced hotels in the area. You can choose to stay in historic downtown Chilliwack or perhaps at the Comfort Inn next to Cottonwood Mall. For a homey experience, search out a bed and breakfast in the Chilliwack area, perhaps up the same river valley as you will be rafting, or in nearby Cultus Lake.
Some people prefer to add camping to their rafting adventure. There are several government and private run campgrounds in the Chilliwack River Valley, but be sure to reserve ahead for busy weekends because the campgrounds can be booked solid with weekend partiers from the City.
Other Activities to do in the Chilliwack River Valley
Whitewater rafting is a thrill, but most people like to experience nature in other more sedate ways in between braving trips through the rapids. The valley is outdoor recreation heaven, with so many other activities other than river rafting.
Aside from some limited private land, the Chilliwack River Valley is mostly public access crown owned forest land and provincial parks. Numerous hiking trails take off from trailheads directly on both Chilliwack River Road and off the forestry roads in the valley. Various trails were knit together to form a section of the Trans-Canada Trail which runs through the whole valley.
If you are planning on going more than a short distance from the road, be sure you have an appropriate emergency survival kit and tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return because the Chilliwack River Valley contains some remote and rarely visited areas. For longer hiking trips you'll want backpacking meals ready to eat.
Gear up and check the current local fishing regulations in Vedder Crossing before venturing to or into the water to catch some fish. Many fishermen and fisherwomen like to wade into the wide level areas of the river upstream from the Vedder Crossing Bridge where the river turns into the Vedder Canal.
The many forest service roads in the Chilliwack River Valley offer unlimited numbers of 4x4 driving and ATV adventures. When going off-roading be careful to keep track of which roads you take and how to return. Also bring extra gas with you.
With appropriate permits, one can go hunting for deer and other game in the Chilliwack River Valley. If hunting, be sure to stay in authorized areas and not discharge firearms to close to the roads through the valley.
Fish and Game Club
The Chilliwack Fish and Game Club is a good place to go shoot off guns in a safe supervised environment. While it is a private club, you can buy a membership or get a guest pass.
The river itself is pretty cold for swimming, and Chilliwack Lake is also pretty cold, but nearby Cultus Lake is a swimmer's paradise. Access to Cultus Lake, mostly surrounded by Cultus Lake Provincial Park, is just west of Chilliwack Lake Road. There is also a backroad way to Cultus Lake for the 4x4 enthusiast (if it's not locked off).
There are at least 4 types of camping available in the Chilliwack River Valley. Provincial campgrounds, especially near the lake, are a great option if you can get a spot reserved. Several private campgrounds offer a great alternative to the provincial park sites. There are also forest service campsites that have fewer amenities. The 4th kind of camping is backpacking deep into the mountains to camp in remote areas.
Some people make unauthorized car camping spots off the forest service roads. This is not only stupid, but these unthinking people tend to leave garbage and destroy trees in the area. If you see hooligans camping in unauthorized areas, report them.