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Home / Vancouver Coast and Mountains / Mighty Fraser Country / Chilliwack

Chilliwack

Chilliwack is a popular outdoor adventure playground. Surrounded by stunning mountains, lush forests and an abundance of lakes and rivers, the area is popular for hiking and biking, golf, camping and trophy-size fishing. Watersports are a huge attraction and bring visitors to this area to enjoy the many opportunities from kayaking to whitewater rafting.

As well as outdoor adventure, agriculture is a mainstay of life and employment in the Chilliwack area. People travel miles to enjoy the abundance of produce, and in particular to experience the sweet Chilliwack corn.

Chilliwack is affectionately call "The Wack" by locals.

Location

Chilliwack is located at the end of the upper Fraser Valley, 100 km (60 mi) east of Vancouver on the Trans-Canada Highway, Highway 1. The city is bounded on the north by the Fraser River, and on the south by the Canada-United States border. Huntingdon Border is the nearest crossing and is located at the end of Highway 11 between Abbotsford and Sumas, 3 km (2 mi) south of Highway 1.

Things to See & Do
  • Bridal Falls

Bridal Falls is located at the foot of Mt. Cheam on the south side of the Trans Canada Highway, Highway 1, just east of Chilliwack. The falls are the 6th largest in Canada and draw thousands of visitors annually.

  • Cultus Lake
    Cultus Lake - Cultus Lake Provincial Park - BC Parks-Kharen Hill
     Cultus Lake Provincial Park - BC Parks-Kharen Hill

    One of the busiest recreation areas in the Fraser Valley, Cultus Lake is a hugely popular destination in the summer. Well-known for its sandy beaches and swimming, activities also include boating, golf, river rafting, waterslides, hiking and more.

    • Chilliwack Museum and Archives

    The Chilliwack Museum and Archives was formed in 1957 when a group of local citizens gathered to promote the preservation of local history. In the following year, Chilliwack's first museum and archives opened and began the process of documenting the human and natural history of the community and surrounding area. The collections have grown and reflect the transformation of Chilliwack from a largely rural agriculture community to a dynamic, growing regional centre.

    • Fishing
      Chilliwack - Chilliwack River Valley - Ken Bramble
       Chilliwack River Valley - Ken Bramble

    The Chilliwack area offers a wide variety of fishing challenges year-round. The Fraser River is one of the most productive rivers in North America for salmon, steelhead, and world record sized sturgeon. If the Fraser is too high for bar fishing, you can fish tributary creeks for prized chinook. To maximize your fishing experience take a guided tour or charter.

    • Biking, Horseback Riding, Hiking & Walking

    The popular Rotary Vedder River Trail runs for 15.5 km (10 mi) along the north dyke of the Vedder River, and has a surface that is suitable for walking, running, cycling or horseback riding. It has become a popular venue for outdoor leisure and recreation activities. Mountains of adventure await you in Chilliwack. Whether you're a serious or a novice outdoor enthusiast, your quest for outdoor thrills begins and ends on and around the mountains. The Chilliwack Hiking & Adventure Guide is available to download and can also be picked up at the local Visitor Centre.

    • Agri-Tourism
       Chilliwack - Sparkes Corn Barn in Chilliwack - Aboriginal Tourism Association of BC-Dannielle Hayes
       Sparkes Corn Barn in Chilliwack - Aboriginal Tourism Association of BC-Dannielle Hayes

    Agriculture has played a major role in the development of Chilliwack and the surrounding area. Hundreds of farms provide everything from honey to berry-picking and cheeses to hand-crafted beer. Sweet Chilliwack corn is world-famous and available in abundance in late summer. Download a copy of the Chilliwack Circle Farm Tour guide and visit a dairy farm, try goat milk ice cream, or take home some locally made soaps.

    • Hang-Gliding & Paragliding

    The Chilliwack area is world-famous for hang-gliding and paragliding. This thrilling sport is offered by several companies in and around Chilliwack, at nearby Harrison Mills, and in Abbotsford. Get your adrenaline-rush this summer and check it off the bucket list.

    • Artisan Rural Tour

    An abundance of artisans are located throughout the area. Pottery, jewellery, watercolours, oils, and more plus a metal animation display that has one-of-a-kind large scale 3 dimensional stainless steel sculptures. 

    A Step Back in Time

    Between 5,000 and 10,000 years ago, the Sto:lo arrived in the Chilliwack area. At the time of their first contact with Europeans, it is estimated that there were as many as 40,000 people living within Sto:lo territory. The word Chilliwack is the name of a local Indian tribe as well as a geographic description of the area. Originally spelled Chilliwhack, this "Halkomelem" word means "quieter water at the head" or travel by way of a backwater.

    In 1857, gold was discovered in the Fraser Canyon and by 1859, over 40,000 gold miners had trekked to the goldfields, most travelling through the Chilliwack area. The main mode of travel was by steamboat from New Westminster to this area and by the mid 1860s several farms had grown up around the steamboat landings on the Fraser.

    The Township of Chilliwack was founded in 1873, and the commercial area of the town moved south from the river to the junction of the New Westminster-Yale Wagon Road, Wellington Avenue, and Young Road, called "Five Corners." A large subdivision called Centreville was built in 1881 which was replaced in 1887 by the more popular "Chilliwhack." The area was incorporated in 1908 as the City of Chilliwack. The City and the Township co-existed for 72 years until 1980 when they merged to form the District of Chilliwack. The District of Chilliwack became the City of Chilliwack in the early 1990s. Today, some 80,000 people live in the Chilliwack area.

    Nearby Communities
    Contact Information

    Tourism Chilliwack
    Web: www.tourismchilliwack.com

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    Background Photo Credit: Destination British Columbia

    Travel British Columbia