Distance From Vancouver (Grandview Hwy Entrance to
Hwy 1 East):
About 110 km: 93.5 km from Grandview Hwy entrance to Hwy 1 East to Exit
123 (Prest Road) - turn right (South), then 5 km on Prest Rd and turn
left on Bailey Rd, then 700 meters later at a split stay right on Elk
View Road. Continue on Elk View Road until it ends 9.5 kilometers later, and
Chilliwack Bench Forest Service Road begins. One kilometer after that
you are at the parking area for the Elk-Thurston trailhead.
Numerous pleasant forest scenes, mountain views, and
Elk View Road is
winding and narrow.
The trail is
popular. Remote highway noise for much of the trail. Remote gunfire for
much of the trail. The trail is moderately difficult with several fairly
steep sections. Hiking boots are recommended. Hiking poles are highly
Elk-Thurston Trail leads to Elk
Mountain followed by Thurston Mountain. In the process, you reach a good
Fraser Valley observation point. It's a medium-difficulty trail, popular
with the locals due to close proximity to Chilliwack. If the sun is out,
try to start hiking as early in the day as possible, as by noon
the sun is already shining in your eyes, making the mountain views look
1. To get to Elk-Thurston Trail from
Vancouver, there are
several options, and this one is the most straightforward: take Highway
1 East to Exit 123 (Prest Road). Here we are on Highway 1 East between
Abbotsford and Chilliwack.
TransCanada Highway 1 East Between
Chilliwack and Abbotsford
2. Take Exit 123 (Prest Road) and then turn right
TransCanada Highway 1 British Columbia Exit 123 Prest Road
3. Drive on Prest Road for five kilometers until
Prest Road Chilliwack BC Canada
4. After turning left onto Bailey Road, 700 meters later you would come to
a split seen in the photo below, with Elk View Road on the right side. Stay right.
Elk View Road Start Chilliwack British Columbia Canada
5. After steadily gaining elevation for 9.5 kilometers on Elk View Road,
you would come to its end where it meets Lookout Road. Continue straight
(as seen on the very right side of the photo below) onto
Chilliwack Bench Forest Service Road.
Elk View Road at Lookout Road Chilliwack BC Canada
6. At the beginning of Chilliwack Bench FSR, there is
a map showing where in Chilliwack you can fire your gun, and also a sign
asking to report all poachers and polluters by calling 1-877-952-7277.
Chilliwack Bench FSR BC Canada
7. Chilliwack Bench is a fairly smooth FSR, with a speed
limit of 40 km/h. It eventually connects with Chilliwack Lake Road via
Chilliwack Foley FSR,
so taking Chilliwack Lake Road and then Chilliwack Foley FSR is the second way of reaching Elk-Thurston
Chilliwack Bench Forest Service Road BC Canada
8. At about the one kilometer mark of Chilliwack
Bench FSR, we are
at the parking area for
Elk-Thurston Trail. Elevation - 624 meters. This place is likely quite busy on weekends.
Parking for Elk-Thurston Hiking Trail at Chilliwack Bench FSR BC Canada
9. Chilliwack Bench FSR continues (the
rest of it is covered in
the next trip
report), but we start hiking the trail seen on the left side.
Chilliwack Bench FSR BC Canada at Elk-Thurston Trailhead
10. The first half of the trail is the steepest, but
pleasant forest scenes make up for the sweat.
Chilliwack Hiking -
Elk-Thurston Trail BC Canada
11. In about forty minutes, you would reach this wide
forest service road with an empty bulletin board. On the Backroads Map
this road is shown as a convoluted dashed line, so, likely, it's not
possible to drive up to this point, otherwise there probably would have been some vehicles parked
here. The continuation of the trail is seen on the left side.
12. After the road, the path becomes even wider and steeper.
Hiking in Chilliwack Area -
Elk-Thurston Trail British Columbia Canada
13. About an hour after crossing the road, the trail reaches this tree,
which signals the arrival of impressive views.
Photo of a View from Elk-Thurston Trail BC Canada
14. The first attraction is the view of Fraser Valley. Alas, smog made
the viewing opportunity less than ideal.
Fraser Valley Seen From Elk-Thurston Trail BC Canada
15. We were more impressed by the rock outcropping at the viewing area.
Elk-Thurston Trail - Hiking in British Columbia Canada
16. A really nice rock. And tons of smog in the background.
Elk-Thurston Trail BC Hiking
17. Though, in the foreground, the hills looked quite good.
View from Elk-Thurston Trail British Columbia Canada
Here is our video of the Fraser Valley as seen from Elk-Thurston trail.