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
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.