Trip 219 - June 22, 2021 (Tuesday)
Rolley Falls Trail Hike
Near Mission BC
Liked: Three waterfalls within several hundred meters of each other. Shade in the forest. Few bugs. The ability to hike in a loop.
Of Note: Only the Upper (and least impressive) Falls is easily accessible - the other two require traversing small debris fields, which is suitable for experienced, well-equipped hikers only. Slippery stones and logs by the lower two falls.
Vancouver, Coast & Mountains Backroad Mapbook (5th edition) Coordinates: Page 3 (Abbotsford) C2.
Rolley Creek rolls downhill near Rolley Lake Provincial Park, and creates three waterfalls, the lower two being the most impressive. The upper one, however, is the most accessible, and could be reached in less than 10 minutes from Rolley Lake Provincial Park campground. The trailhead is between camping spots #27 and #28. Aside from the campground trailhead, Rolley Falls trail also starts at the 2.6 km of Florence Lake Forest Service Road.
The way it works is as follows: if you start at the campground, there is a T-junction in 200 meters. Going left would result in reaching Upper Falls, then Middle Falls, then Lower Falls, and then the trail ends at Florence Lake FSR, where there is another entrance 80 meters later - by taking that entrance you would come back to the T-junction from the other end, thus hiking in a loop. If starting from Florence Lake FSR, the right side trail would go past Lower Falls, then Middle Falls, then Upper Falls, then reach the T-junction, where a right turn would lead to the campground, and going straight would complete a loop and bring you back to Florence Lake FSR at the other trailhead (80 meters from the first one). And, if you would start from the left side trail on Florence Lake FSR, you would first reach that T-junction, where turning left would lead to the campground, and going straight is the way to Upper-Middle-Lower falls, and then the right side end on Florence Lake FSR. Either way, it's about 850 meters from the campground to the forest service road.
The distances are as follows: Campground to T-junction: 200 meters, then 200 more meters to Upper Falls, then 200 more meters to Middle Falls, then 140 more meters to Lower Falls, then 100 more meters to Florence Lake FSR. All distances are based on a GPS odometer and are approximate.
1. We are now at the Rolley Lake Campground, between camping spots #27 and #28, where Rolley Lake Trail connector (blue arrow) ends, and Rolley Falls trailhead (red arrow) is seen 30 meters ahead. It is possible to hike two loops (lake trail and falls trail) in one go - check out our Rolley Lake Provincial Park Visit report for directions on getting to the park and on hiking the two loops. This is the same photo as photo #24 of that trip report.
2. Rolley Falls trailhead at Rolley Lake Provincial Park campground. Coordinates: N 49⁰14.869' W 122⁰22.662'. Elevation: 222 meters. You don't need to hike Rolley Lake Trail to get here - just park at the day use area and come to the campground. That said, Rolley Lake Trail going counter-clockwise more or less parallels the way to the campground from the day use parking lot, and may actually be a bit faster.
3. In 30 meters, a sign urges you to keep left to reach the falls.
4. Rolley Falls Trail at 140 meters.
5. At 200 meters comes that prominent T-junction. Coordinates: N 49⁰14.916' W 122⁰22.547'. Elevation: 209 meters. There is no sign here. Make a left turn to visit Upper Falls, then Middle and Lower Falls. Make a right turn to get to Florence Lake FSR, then loop back and Visit Lower-Middle-Upper Falls before coming back to this T-junction.
6. At first, we will make a left turn and go to the Upper Falls, because that's where just about everyone goes, and for a good reason - it's an easy hike to a pleasant waterfall within 10 minutes of the campground. There is a bridge from which the waterfall can be observed. However, just before the bridge a short trail leads to a side view of Upper Rolley Falls.
7. Here is that bridge, 400 meter from the trailhead.
8. Upper Rolley Falls view from the bridge. Coordinates: N 49⁰15.015' W 122⁰22.577'. Elevation: 208 meters.
9. Zoomed view.
Here is our video of Upper Rolley Falls.
10. Now we returned to the T-junction and are proceeding straight (same as making a right turn if coming from the campground). Here we are at 480 meters.
11. At 660 meters, keep left at the split seen below.
12. And, approximately 850 meters from the campground, we have reached Florence Lake Forest Service Road near its 2.6 km mark.
13. Looking back at where we came from. There is actually a trail sign there, albeit hardly seen from the FSR due to vegetation.
14. We are at the 2.6 km mark of Florence Lake Forest Service Road, and can see both the trail we came from (red arrow) and the trail we need to hike in order to complete the loop (blue arrow). Coordinates: N 49⁰14.986' W 122⁰22.314'. Elevation: 105 meters. This is the same photo as photo #19 of Florence Lake FSR Visit report.
15-16. Here is what the blue arrow is pointing at in the photo above.
17. In less than 100 meters, Lower Rolley Falls can be heard on the left side. However, it's a 70 meter-long obstacle course from the trail to the waterfall, and attempting to cross all this debris is suitable for experienced, well-equipped hikers only. Coordinates for leaving the trail: N 49⁰15.017' W 122⁰22.374'. Elevation: 137 meters.
18. The final obstacles before the waterfall.
19. Should you succeed, the Lower Falls is very impressive, with several streams and a mess of logs and boulders creating a wonderful ambience. Coordinates: N 49⁰15.014' W 122⁰22.407'. Elevation: 131 meters.
20. A bit closer.
21. The left side of Lower Rolley Falls.
22. The right side.
Here is our video of Lower Rolley Falls.
23. We are back on the trail, heading up towards the Middle Rolley Falls (to the left).
24. Middle Rolley Falls is the trickiest of them all. There are two observation platforms there, both with badly overgrown views where you can hardly see anything. It is possible to see the Upper Falls from some distance by hiking below the lower platform, but it's very dangerous - it's very steep there with little foot support and a real possibility of a 30-meter freefall onto a bunch of boulders below, so we won't cover that, and it would be a good place to avoid. The upper platform has a much less dangerous access to Middle Falls, and here it is. Coordinates: N 49⁰15.038' W 122⁰22.449'. Elevation: 189 meters.
25. The path to the waterfall is to the left of the platform. As is the case with Lower Falls, only well-equipped experienced hikers should proceed beyond the platform, as it's a rather complicated hiking environment down there.
26. A messy approach.
27. And here we are. Middle Rolley Falls.
28. It's a picture-perfect waterfall.
Here is our video of Middle Rolley Falls.
29. Some kind people put a lot of traction mats there, making it much easier to approach the waterfall from the left side, where there is also a tiny cave.
30. Middle Rolley Falls from the side.
Here our video of Middle Rolley Falls Side View.
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31. Looking back.
32. And we are heading to Upper Falls now.
33. Reached the other end of the bridge from which we saw Upper Falls. Cross the bridge, reach the T-junction, turn right, and you are back at the campground.
Upper Rolley Falls is pleasant enough to be a recommended destination. But it's the Middle and Lower Falls which make this hike so good - highly recommended to well-equipped experienced hikers.
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