Vancouver trails in the in-between months are a tough place for weekend warriors. Too wet to hike down low, too snowy in the alpine. Thankfully, in those months there are places like Widgeon.
Like lots of trails in the GVRD, Widgeon's a choose your own adventure.
- Option 1: Go for a paddle.
- Option 2: Go for a paddle, a little hike, and a dip.
- Option 3: Go for a paddle, a big hike, and a dip.
Skip Option 1 unless you've only got an hour. Option 2 makes a perfect day trip, and 3 is your best bet if you're looking for an alternative to the challenge of Black Tusk.
First, head east on Highway 7 to Pitt Meadows and follow the signs for Pitt Lake. If you're not equipped with your own canoe (no judgement, we haven't taken the plunge yet either) you can rent a boat from a little shack at the end of the parking lot - it's $35 for the day, or $50 for two (if you're bringing along a tent.)
For Option 1, get in the boat and paddle wherever you'd like. For Options 2 and 3, paddle across Grant Narrows and up Widgeon Slough. It's a beautiful, peaceful 60-minute paddle in the shoulder season, though on a hot summer day it can get a little too popular (ie noisy) for its own good.
Get out at the Widgeon Slough campground, cross the site and find the well-marked trail. After an hour wandering through forest (stick to the trail to the right which goes along the creek, otherwise you're on the more direct but more boring trail that heads straight through forest in the ball-busting style of an old logging road,) you'll come across a waterfall carved out of granite. If you're lucky, no one else will be there. Strip down and hop in. The pools are deep, the rocks smooth and the water glacial - it's perfect post-sweat. When you've had your fill, wander back to the canoe and paddle back to where you started. You'll be back in the city in time for dinner, with breezy outdoor adventuring already under your belt.
For Option 3, don't stop at the falls. Another 18 km along the logging road and up, up, up will lead you to Widgeon Lake.
Time: 4.5 hours (including a dip)
Distance: 6 km round-trip
Driving time from Vancouver: 1.25 hours
Worth-it Factor: 9/10