A Family Friendly Hike to Crystal Falls

 

The moss and ferns create an emerald coloured forest. All photos by Melinda Gill

Are you looking for a great family friendly hike?  Look no further than Crystal Falls in Coquitlam.  The meandering trail along the Coquitlam River is relatively flat, and takes you through an emerald rain forest.  You will see hikers of all ages and abilities along this path. It takes about an hour to hike up to the falls and the round trip is about two hours, give or take, depending on your group.  The total distance is 6.1 kilometers. Be aware that mountain bikers also use the path, so be sure to share the trail.

The trail head begins at the north end of Shaughnessy Street at the intersection of Karley Crescent in Coquitlam.  There is street parking available along both Shaughnessy and Karley Crescent.  The trail is well groomed and easily identifiable.  The hike is reasonable year round; however, be prepared by wearing appropriate footwear.  If it has rained recently, there will be puddles and muddy sections.

It starts with some rocky trail and on your left; you will soon see an opening along the river.  In the summer, this is a popular beach area and marks the beginning of a river float for many.  Our family plans to do this river float next summer now that our children are old enough to float it safely.  Continuing along the trail you will notice a great deal of moss hanging from the trees.  If you and your family enjoy geocaching (modern day treasure hunting), there are a few caches just off the trail as well.

A snowy walk along the river bank.

The snowy trail is a favourite with our family.

The real adventure begins when you reach the first stream crossing.  Depending on the season, rainfall and creativity of other hikers – who are kind enough to drag a log across the water – the crossing can be easy to difficult.  There are alternate pathways that you can take if you do not wish to tempt fate and get wet.  Our children were able to make the crossing reasonably by age four and we crossed with them safely, in various baby carriers and backpacks, before that.

While crossing the streams, and walking along the river, be sure to keep an eye out for crayfish, minnows, and salmon.  Along the route, you may also be lucky enough to see deer, eagle, raccoon, coyote, and possibly even a bear; however, the closest we have come to seeing any of this wildlife was a headless salmon on the trail, as our noise had scared off the bear.

Spring flow at Crystal Falls.

Once you arrive at the falls, there is plenty of room to sit on the rocks or logs and enjoy a snack; you will have to pack out what you bring in though.  In the fall and spring, the water flow is heavy.  In the summer, the falls and upper pools are a great place to take a dip.  There are various trails to the upper pools, but they are not marked.  If you are adventurous though, the pools there are less crowded than below and offer some incredible scenery.  Once you have enjoyed a short rest, you use the same path to return to civilization.

The upper river pools.

Although this route can be busy on holidays and hot summer days, we have found other hikers and cyclists to be polite, friendly, and there is a sense of community as you pass each other on the trail.  I hope that your experience will be the same.

Melinda Gill

About Melinda Gill

Teacher by trade, and nature-loving adventurer by choice. I currently teach in Coquitlam, at a local middle school. My interests include a plant-based diet, running, hiking, natural health, fitness and embarrassing my three kids by singing too loud in the car. Recently, I have rekindled my love of music, the local music scene, cultural events, writing and dining out at local vegan and vegetarian themed restaurants. Come find me on social media, where I post daily musings, inspirational quotes, photos, and anything that makes me laugh out loud. https://www.instagram.com/melindahowlettgill/

4 thoughts on “A Family Friendly Hike to Crystal Falls

  1. Sam The Wine Teacher Sam The Wine Teacher

    Well done! So many people are unaware that this exists so close to home.

    • Melinda Gill Melinda Gill

      Thank you! Yes, we are so lucky in Coquitlam to have such beauty close by.

  2. Marlene Bell

    Beautifully written. I enjoyed reading your post.

    • Melinda Gill Melinda Gill

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I plan to write more articles about our beautiful corner of the world. If you have a suggestion of a place you’d like me to write about, please let me know.

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