Confession: I didn't know Chilliwack had mountains. All I really know about Chilliwack is that it was a very popular site for raves back in the day. Turns out there's a lot more than flat fields and fun fur in Chilliwack!
When we went to Chilliwack, we planned to hike Mount Cheam but the route in was closed. By this point we'd already lost cell phone service, but some other hikers near the turnaround point told us about another hike nearby - Lindeman Lake. Day saved!
We headed over to Lindeman Lake, and were a little disappointed to see that it was busy with families and other people we dismissed as less motivated hikers. We'd wanted a big hike, but decided to make the best of it and geared down - getting rid of extra weight in water and food, changing from heavyweight boots to midweight ones... Rookie mistakes.
Lindeman Lake is, by itself, a very nice hike. 3.4 km roundtrip, with a minimal overall elevation gain - though it kicks off the first kilometer with some decent up. It winds through forest, alongside and over a creek, and to the beautiful Lindeman Lake which has a nice beachy area for a swim.
At this point, we decided we weren't ready to turn back, so continued on to the next stop - Greendrop Lake. Follow the right shore of Lindeman Lake (scrambling over scree) to the next trail. It's pretty poorly marked, so keep an eye out for the boardwalk at the end of the lake. The trail continues up through the forest, following Post Creek and climbing up to 910 meters over the next kilometre. There are several boulder fields to pass, so make sure you're well-heeled. At this point, I'm regretting my decision to wear the mid-weight hikers.
You make it to Greendrop after a couple of hours, which while less pretty than Lindeman is less crowded too. Most (smart) people will turn around here, and take the route back to the parking lot. We saw a sign that pointed to "Flora Lake" so went for that. (Not smart.)
You'll start off by following Flora Creek up through the woods. The trail continues through brush and across heavy scree before you hit the next lake. While pretty, it's a distant third to Lindeman and Greendrop. From the lake, it's another set of switchbacks up 400 meters to the top of a pass - where you'll suddenly emerge from the woods to find a beautiful trail through sub-alpine meadows. The field is dotted with flowers, and wild blueberry bushes. By this point we'd been hiking for 7+ hours and were out of water, so those blueberries were a blessing.
Once you get through the meadow, it's a rough descent. We found out later that it's 1800 meters in 4 km. It hurt our knees, and we saw people heading up with full packs (camping in the alpine would have been beautiful.) Impressive!
While tough, the descent is quick (especially when the sun is setting and you only have one headlamp.) You'll reconnect with the access road, and head right to return to your original parking spot.
The trail was unexpected but very worthwhile. Where else do you get to experience creeks, forests, boulder fields, sub-alpine meadows and THREE lakes in 8 hours? Thank you Chilliwack!
Time: 8 hours
Distance: 14 KM
Elevation gain: 1800 M+
Driving time from Vancouver: 2 hours
Worth-It Factor: 9/10