When most of us think of the Fraser Valley, we think of farmland. But think again! Next time you’re in Chilliwack look up and you’ll see a host of peaks hiding in the horizon. The Cheam Range is an alpine paradise just 45 minutes away from the Chilliwack town centre.
Cheam Peak is the most easily accessed peak of the ‘4 sisters’ in the Cheam the range and provides spectacular views of the of the Fraser Valley, lakes, the Cheam Range, North Cascades & more. The trail is a tad steep, but super straightforward and can be tackled by hikers of all skill levels. The hike follows a gorgeous path through an expansive alpine meadow before switch backing to the summit.
There is a catch! You will need a 4×4 high clearance vehicle to conquer the drive up the Chipmunk creek FSR to the trailhead making the adventure that much more, well, adventurous :).
Let’s dive into the details.
The Backcountry Basics
- Carry your Survival Kit & Essentials
- Let someone know where you’re going with a Trip Plan
- Know how to avoid negative wildlife encounters
- Practice Leave No Trace to keep the wilderness pristine
- Carry a Satellite Communicator like SPOT X
|Distance (Round Trip)||8.5km|
|Time (Round Trip)||4-5 hours|
Directions to Mount Cheam Trailhead
The Cheam Peak trailhead is located 50km, or about an hour and fifteen minutes from downtown Chilliwack. From Hwy 1 follow Vedder Rd all the way down until you arrive at the roundabout before the Vedder river bridge. Stay left before the bridge and continue driving up Chilliwack Lake Rd towards Chilliwack lake. NOTE: there is no phone service up Chilliwack lake road so download any maps you might need prior to leaving Chilliwack. At the 35km mark turn left onto the Foley Creek Forest Service Road. Continue up the road as it turns into Chipmunk creek forest service road.
The Foley Creek FSR is drivable by all vehicles, but high clearance vehicles are required for the Chipmunk Creek FSR. Low clearance vehicles will make it up 2-3km of the 11km Chipmunk creek FSR.
I would 100% recommend a high clearance 4×4 vehicle or something with a short wheelbase. I saw a dude smash up his stock 2020 ford bronco pretty good because he was driving too quick. Always take it slow!
Cheam Peak Trail Map & Guide
If your vehicle can make it all the way to the upper parking lot then it’s your lucky day. You get to begin walking, smack dab in the middle of the alpine! The trail begins just behind the gate and past the outhouse.
The first kilometer is very flat and follows the path of an old ATV road. To the ascending hikers right you will see beautiful views of Mt Baker and at 12 o’clock, Lady peak.
The trail will become more narrow and you will venture across a marvellous alpine meadow basin. Depending on the time of the year you might encounter some snow, or an assortment of beautiful grasses and wildflowers. A few hundred meters after you cross the river, the ascent begins!
You will switchback up through the gorgeous grassy valley which lies between Cheam and Lady Peak. Once you are sandwiched between the summits you will have the option of walking a few hundred meters further where you get a super cool view of the overhanging rock wall of Lady Peak and Jones Lake.
Reconnect with the trail and head Northwest towards the Cheam summit. The final climb is steep, but you’ll barely notice your burning lungs, thighs and calves because the views will keep getting better and better.
As you near the ridge-top you’ll arrive at a circle of stacked rocks and be able to begin to see the Fraser Valley. Follow the ridge-line walking carefully until you reach the peak!
The 360 degree birds-eye views are spectacular and you can get such a unique perspective of the Cheam Range, North Cascades, Fraser Valley and all of its popular rivers and lakes. My favourite part was spotting all my favourite fishing spots from above!
It’s be hard to leave the summit if it’s a clear day, but once you’re ready to descend, follow your steps back to the parking lot.
Let me know if you have any Q’s in the comments.