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6 Things To Do At Kanaka Creek Regional Park

Cliff Falls. Photo: Taryn Eyton/HappiestOutdoors.ca

Kanaka Creek Regional Park in Maple Ridge protects a slim corridor of coastal rainforest along the banks of Kanaka Creek. Admire the sculpted sandstone waterfall, watch for wildlife, go for a hike, and lots more.

How to Get to Kanaka Creek Regional Park

By car: The park stretches along Kanaka Creek and has many access points. Driving directions for the three main viewpoints are as follows: From Vancouver, take Highway 7 (Lougheed Highway) east through Pitt Meadows to Maple Ridge.

To get to the Riverfront portion of the park, stay on Highway 7 through Maple Ridge. Just after the intersection of Highway 7 and Kanaka Way, cross a bridge over Kanaka Creek. Turn right immediately onto River Road. Cross the train tracks, then turn right into the signed parking lot.

To reach the Cliff Falls section of the park, follow Highway 7 through Maple Ridge, then turn left onto Dewdney Trunk Road. Turn right on 252 Street and follow it as it curves to become 117 Avenue and then 251 Street. At the corner of 251 Street and 116 Avenue, go straight into the parking lot.

For the Kanaka Creek Watershed Stewardship Centre portion of the park, follow Highway 7 through Maple Ridge, then turn left onto Dewdney Trunk Road. Turn right on 256 Street. A few minutes later look for the signed parking lot on your left.

By bus: You can get to the Cliffs Falls section of the park on public transit by taking the 701 bus from Coquitlam Central Station to Dewdney Trunk Road at 250 Street, then walking about 15 minutes to the entrance. You can also take the R3 bus from Coquitlam Central Station, then the 746 bus to Lougheed Highway at Tamarack Place, which is a 3-minute walk from the Riverfront section of the park.

Tips for Visiting

  • Visit the park website and use the park map to plan your trip.
  • The park gate opens at 7 a.m. each day and closes in the early evening. Closing times vary with the season. Check opening hours on the park website so you don’t get locked in.
  • Dogs must be on leash in the park.
  • Smoking, vaping, cannabis, drones, alcohol, and collecting plants are not allowed.
  • There are washrooms at the Kanaka Creek Watershed Stewardship Centre, the Riverfront parking area, and at Cliff Falls.
  • Be safe in the park. AdventureSmart recommends bringing a backpack with essential safety and first aid gear on every hike. Check the forecast and pack extra clothing for the weather. Leave a trip plan so someone knows where you are going and when you will be back.
  • Read our tips for safe spring hiking in Vancouver.

Walk to Cliff Falls

One of the highlights of the park is Cliff Falls. The falls are fairly short, but the geology is spectacular. Kanaka Creek runs through a sandstone canyon and at the falls the rushing waters have sculpted a series of hollows and bowls. You can reach the falls by walking along the Canyon Trail for about five minutes from the Cliff Falls parking area. If you start at the Watershed Stewardship Centre, it’s a 1.5 km hike along the Canyon Trail.

Cliff Falls at low water. Photo: Metro Vancouver

Visit the Kanaka Creek Watershed Stewardship Centre

This modern complex houses the Bell-Irving Fish Hatchery as well as indoor spaces for community programs. The Kanaka Education and Environmental Partnership Society (KEEPS) regularly holds education programs on-site. See their website for upcoming events or drop by on April 29 for the Goodbye Chums salmon release event. Outside the centre, you can wander through the grounds, landscaped to manage stormwater, and read interpretive plaques.

Be sure to read the interpretive plaques. Photo: Metro Vancouver

Watch for Birds and Wildlife on the Riverfront

The Riverfront section of the park features three kilometres of trails around the mouth of Kanaka Creek and on the banks of the Fraser River. Two observation towers make great viewpoints to watch for wildlife like coyotes, hawks, eagles, great blue herons, and many species of ducks.

Observation tower at the mouth of Kanaka Creek in the Riverfront section of the park. Photo: Metro Vancouver Parks

Paddle a Canoe or Kayak

If you have your own canoe or kayak, you can launch at the Riverfront section of the park, then paddle up the calm waters of the creek for a few kilometres. Watch for young salmon swimming below your boat!

Paddling in Kanaka Creek. Photo: Metro Vancouver

Go for a Hike

Kanaka Creek Regional Park has 11.8 km of hiking trails spread across the park. A great loop leaves from the Watershed Stewardship Centre on the Canyon Trail, traverses the north side of the creek on the Pine Ridge and North Fork Loop Trails, then crosses the creek again to the viewing area at Cliff Falls. The final leg of the hike follows the Canyon Trail back to the Watershed Stewardship Centre. This route is 3 km long and will take about an hour.

Exploring the trails in Kanaka Creek Regional Park. Photo: Ember Navarro/Unsplash

Have a Picnic

Bring lunch and have a picnic in the park. There are several areas with picnic tables. You can enjoy your meal in a grassy clearing near the rushing waters of Cliff Falls. Or head to the Riverfront section where there are picnic tables near the parking area as well as along the river.

The riverfront section of the park has some great picnic tables. Photo: Metro Vancouver

By: TARYN EYTON
Originally published at Inside Vancouver



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