Ayla Canoes, the canoe and kayak rental shop at Grants Narrows, is permanently closed as of October 1, 2010. The lease on this land for Metro Vancouver has expired and the area is to be taken over by the BC Government, forcing Ayla Canoes to close. There is an online petition that can be signed against the closure of Ayla Canoes and, in addition, you can also voice your concerns to your local BC Government MLA.
It isn't often that you can combine a day of hiking with a beautiful canoe trip through marshlands. If you do not have your own canoe or kayak, you can rent one from the Ayla Canoe rental shop for less than $50 for the day. If you decide to rent one, make sure you plan the day so you have enough time to make it to the Falls and back by 5pm as the late fees for returning the canoe add up quickly!
Start your trek by paddling across Pitt Lake towards the Widgeon Slough. Make your way along the waterway keeping an eye out for ducks, herons, deer, and even bears along the shorelines. After paddling for about 30 minutes, you'll reach a fork in the creek. Stay to your left and continue paddling. Depending on the time of year, you may have to get out of the canoe and pull the canoe through sections as the creek can become quite shallow.
Eventually, you will arrive at the campsite. Pitt Lake is the only tidal lake in Western Canada and make sure to pull the canoe up onto shore far enough if it's low tide.
The trail portion begins to the right of the campsite. Follow the service road along for 5 minutes, watching for a sign on the right side of the trail that says 'Widgeon Falls'. At this point, you can either continue along the service road which will take you to the falls or take the trail which ends up following along the shores of Widgeon Creek. The trail is not kept up very well and it's sometimes difficult to pass through the overgrown bushes and muddy stretches, however it's a nice change from the simple service road.
Follow the trail through the forest of Cedar, Fir, and Maple trees. After an hour of hiking, the trail reaches the lower falls which is a perfect spot for wading in the water on a hot, sunny day. Continue hiking along the trail for another 10 minutes to reach the upper falls. The water has flowed over these rocks for hundreds of years, carving smooth paths and sculpting them into their current forms. This is the perfect location to stop for lunch.
Keeping in mind the canoe trip back down Widgeon Creek, make sure to leave enough time to return. Perhaps take the quicker route along the service road back to the campsite instead of the trail. Make your way back through Widgeon Slough and across Pitt Lake to the canoe rental shop where you started.
If you camp at the Widgeon Creek Campsite, you can hike beyond the falls and up towards Widgeon Lake. This hike from the campsite takes approximately 5 hours round trip which does not leave enough time if you are trying to do the entire trip from the parking lot to the lake in one day. The peaceful lake surrounded by granite bluffs is the perfect reward for a hiking and camping trip over a long weekend.
How to get to Widgeon Falls
Estimated Driving Time from Vancouver: 1 hour 15 minutes
The trip to Widgeon Falls begins at Pitt Lake north of Pitt Meadows. From Vancouver, take Highway #1 (Trans Canada Highway) eastbound to exit #44 - Pitt Meadows / Maple Ridge Exit. Stay to the right as you drive alongside the highway and underneath the Port Mann Bridge. Go straight through the lights and continue straight along the Mary Hill Bypass. After about 7km, turn right onto Lougheed Hwy and cross the swinging bridge into Pitt Meadows.
Continue along Lougheed Hwy until the lights at Harris Road and make a left turn. Drive straight and make a right onto Dewdney Trunk Road. Continue along Dewdney Trunk and watch for signs for Ayla Canoes. Turn left onto Neaves Road and continue following this road for the next 12km. At the end of the road is a parking lot and the canoe rental shop is located just beyond this lot.
Note: The parking is limited here so it's best to arrive early to ensure a spot.
View a map of Driving directions to Widgeon Falls.
Camping at Widgeon Falls
A campsite is located at the end of Widgeon Slough, which is only accessible by canoe or kayak from Grants Narrows near Pitt Meadows, BC.
Dogs at Widgeon Falls
Dogs are allowed at Widgeon Falls but should be kept on a leash and away from the waterfalls so that neither the dog or owner is put in a dangerous position. The first section involves canoeing across a section of Pitt Lake, so your dog should be comfortable being in a boat. Please pick up after your dog and pack out all waste to be disposed of at Grant Narrows so that it does not attract bears and other wildlife.
Toilets at Widgeon Falls
Washroom facilities are located at the Grant Narrows boat launch area and a pit toilet is located at the campsite at the end of the canoe trip. There used to be a pit toilet by the waterfalls but it was destroyed in 2007. No word on whether it will be replaced.
Widgeon Falls, May 2008
Other trails located in the Ridge Meadows region: