Trip 041 - June 6-7, 2011 (Monday-Tuesday)

Chehalis FSR (+ Skwellepil Creek Campground)

Between Harrison Mills and Agassiz off BC Highway 7

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Distance From Vancouver:
100-120 km to the beginning of the FSR either via Highway 1 East, then via Highway 11 North and 7 East. Or via Highway 7 East (Broadway, turning into Lougheed Highway in Burnaby) directly from Vancouver. The FSR itself ends shortly after the 31 km mark in a small washout and then a massive rockslide.

Liked: Natural views (especially great views of Chehalis Lake), peacefulness, fairly good gravel road with few potholes.

Of note: Chehalis FSR is suitable for 4x4 or high clearance 4x2 vehicles only, remote wilderness area, no cell phone signal, active logging area with frequent logging truck traffic. Chehalis FSR ends shortly after the 31st kilometer in a small washout followed shortly by an enormous rockslide.

Vancouver, Coast & Mountains Backroad Mapbook (2010 edition) Coordinates for the Beginning of the FSR: Page 4 (Chilliwack) C2. The latest edition of Backroad Mapbook for this and other regions, as well as GPS maps, are available for purchase at

Related Website: Chilliwack District FSR Conditions.

Other Trips in Harrison Hot Springs area: Harrison East Forest Service Road (Second Trip), Clear Creek Forest Service Road (off Harrison East FSR), Shovel Creek Forest Service Road, Harrison East (Main) Forest Service Road, Harrison West Forest Service Road, Denhams Trail Around Weaver Lake, Bear Mountain Hike, Harrison Hot Springs, Campbell Lake Trail Hike.

Other Forest Service Roads Trips: Chilliwack Bench, Chilliwack Foley, Chilliwack Lake, Chuchinka-Colbourne (North of Prince George), Clear Creek (off Harrison East), Harrison East, Harrison East Second Trip, Harrison West, Lost Creek (by Mission), Parsnip West (by Mackenzie), Shovel Creek (off Harrison East), Sowaqua Creek (by Hope), Squamish River Main, Squamish River Ashlu, Squamish River E-Main, Squamish River FSR Washout, Windfall Creek (by Tumbler Ridge).

December of 2011 WARNING: The Provincial Government warns of a risk of a further landslide and resulting tsunami at Chehalis Lake. Reconsider your visit to the slide (starts at km 31 of Chehalis FSR and described in this trip report) and your use of any campsites by Chehalis Lake, including Skwellepil Campground described in this trip report. More Info at BC Government FSR Conditions Site (new window) - scroll to Chehalis.

21. We ended Page 1 when we reached Skwellepil Creek Campground. It is located between km 30 and 31 of Chehalis Forest Service Road. Here is the close up of the sign you see on Chehalis FSR at the entrance to the campground.

22. Another sign at the entrance.

23. Once you turn to your right towards the campground, there is an open gate, followed by a gravel road heading down. Do not proceed, unless you have a 4x4, as the hill has loose surface further down, and a 4x2 may not be able to drive out.

24. Here is this hill looking up. It sure does not look steep, but the ground is quite loose for about 20-30 meters at some point, and it was quite obvious how hard some vehicles were working to make it up the hill.

25. On this Monday, the campground was absolutely empty. It is probably not too popular, considering how far it is, and that it takes a fairly dangerous logging road to get here. Plus, there is little to do in this area but to relax and watch the beautiful lake. Not sure about the fishing opportunities. And there did not appear to be much of a beach. There are about 20 level sites, though some of them are full of garbage. Camping is free. There did not appear to be any maintenance going on. It is a BC Forest Service site, not a provincial campground. There are no signs at all either at the beginning or along Chehalis FSR pointing to this place. Here is one of the camping spots.

Skwellepil Creek Campground Chehalis FSR

26. There are three pit toilets at the campground. This one is the closest to the entrance (note the paintball marks), and it featured obscene drawings and language. Be careful, if you have children with you.

26. A site you may want to avoid.

Photo of Garbage at Skwellepil Creek Campground

27. Are you looking for your frying pan? It is waiting at the Skwellepil Creek Campground.

28. The sites are located in the forested area, but the beach is just a short road away, and from there the views of Chehalis Lake and the surrounding mountains are quite good.

Chehalis Lake Seen From Skwellepil Creek Campground Chehalis FSR

Here is our video of Chehalis Lake from this spot:

A Complete List of Our Videos

29. A tree on the beach.

30. The rockslide you see behind the greenery on the left side is where we would spend several hours tomorrow looking (in vain) to find the disappeared continuation of Chehalis FSR.

31. Having visited Skwellepil Creek Campground, we spent a peaceful night parked on the side of Chehalis FSR, and in the morning started walking further, in hopes of finding Statlu Lake hiking trail. Remember "deactivated due to washout" sign seen on photo #4? Here is this washout soon after km 31, which would definitely prevent just about any vehicle from moving forward.

Chehalis FSR Washout on Km 31

32. Alright, so we walked for another 15 minutes, and ran into an enormous rockslide, which wiped out the forest service road. This rockslide happened in December of 2007, as reported by various Internet sites. We decided to cross the rockslide and find the FSR on the other side. We couldn't find it...and here is the deal. If you decide to visit the rockslide, be warned that this is a very dangerous area. I had proper footwear and trekking poles, yet went flying several times. The biggest danger is that the rocks appear to be sturdy, and almost all of them are. But some are not, so when I stepped on a loose stone on my way down, my left foot went forward, I turned around 180 degrees, and started falling down onto the rocks back first. I had a backpack on, and was in midair long enough to say a short prayer, before landing on my back. Thank God, this incident did not cause any injuries. But it could have been bad.

33. This photo does not do justice to how large the rockslide is. It took about 30 minutes to cross it.

Chehalis Lake Rockslide

Here is our video from the rockslide:

A Complete List of Our Videos

34. While crossing the rockslide, we observed Chehalis Lake, including the Skwellepil Creek Campground "beach" (a piece of land sticking out into the lake in the upper-middle right of the photo) from where photos 28 through 30 were taken the day before.

Chehalis Lake seen from Rockslide

35. So, we crossed the rockslide and found a deep forest on the other end. It figures there should have been an obvious continuation of Chehalis FSR, as there is no way for the forest to deeply cover a substantial road in just a few years. Yet, I could not find it. I then went down the rocks, hoping to find a path closer to the lake, but to no avail. You see how steep it is there.

Chehalis Lake Province of BC Canada

36. At least, observed the other end of Chehalis Lake. But it's very steep in the other direction too.

Chehalis Lake Picture

It's been a very interesting two days, and, thank God, I came away from that rockslide alive and well. However, if all you want is to drive a picturesque forest service road, and you do not mind numerous potholes, I would recommend Squamish River FSR before Chehalis. Of course, it is on the other end of Metro Vancouver, and that could be a factor. So, if you decide to visit Chehalis FSR, watch out for logging trucks, and definitely don't go to the rockslide unless properly equipped, alert, and with a company.

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