- Difficulty Intermediate
- Time 4.5 hours
- Round-Trip 9.5km
- Elevation Gain 700 meters
- Season July - October
- Camping No
- From Vancouver 2 hours 45 minutes
- Public Transit No
- Dog Friendly Yes
One of the most spectacular views in the Fraser Valley, Mount Cheam offers a 360-degree panoramic view from Chilliwack and the communities along the Fraser River, Jones Lake, the surrounding peaks, and Mount Baker to the south.
The trail to the peak of Mount Cheam is not as difficult as gaining access to the trailhead as the Forest Service Road requires a rugged 4-wheel drive vehicle. From the parking area, climb over the logs and walk along the old section of gravel road past the logged hillsides. Already there are great views of the surrounding mountains and the snow-covered Mount Baker in Washington State can be seen in the distance.
After a 15-minute walk, you reach the end of the old logging road and a trail begins off to the left. It descends slightly into a meadow which is generally lush with colourful wild flowers in August. Cross the small creek and continue to Spoon Lake. From this point on, the steep uphill trail begins. Follow the trail and go right at the junction as the path cuts between the beautiful flowers and tall grass.
As you make your way up the trail, don't forget to look back to admire the changing view while you catch your breath. After 40 minutes or so, the trail levels as you reach the upper pond. Depending on the time of year, this can either be an empty rock bed or a small pond on the left of the trail. Continue along the trail as it begins to ascend once again, going through a series of switchbacks as it hugs the side of the mountain. As you climb, the vegetation begins to thin utnil you reach the point where the trail and sides are loose rock. A worn path marks the route to the summit.
After another 30-40 minutes of uphill, you reach the ridge which offers the first reward for all your hard work; a view of the Fraser Valley far below. On a clear day you are able to see the community of Agassiz, Chilliwack, and Harrison Lake. Before the Forestry Road was built the old trail to Cheam used to ascend from the left of the ridge, over the mountain and starting from a farm far below. This route used to climb over 2000 meters in elevation and took more than 11 hours!
From the ridge, it's just a short hike to the Summit of Mount Cheam where you can experience an unobstructed 360-degree view of the entire region. Some of the highlights include Lady Peak immediately to the south, Mount Baker off in the distance, Jones Lake below, and the entire Fraser Valley.
A word of caution: Do not venture close to the edge as the loose rocks have given way in the past and taken several people over the sheer cliff to their deaths. For this reason, the north side of the summit has been named Angel's Bowl and several plaques at the summit are a stark reminder of the dangers.
After enjoying the view at the summit, head back down following the route you came from and return to the parking area for the long, bumpy drive back to the Chilliwack Lake Road.