Cheam Peak – Chilliwack Hikes
The Chilliwack area has some gorgeous hikes (like the lovely Mount Thurston), but Cheam Peak is probably the best of them! The only problem is, you need a 4×4 vehicle, with high clearance to reach the start of the walk. Your car does a lot of the work for this peak, so although you need to walk up almost 700m, you will end up higher than 2100m(!) with 360° epic mountain views.
This walk will get your heart pumping, but it is worth the effort, I promise.
Cheam Peak trail map
Cheam Peak – the basics
Distance: 9.5 km (both ways)
Elevation gain: 690m
Highest Point: 2112m
Time: 4 hours (It took us 4.5 hours, including an hour at the top)
What to bring:
This is a steep trail with lots of loose stones. You should have hiking boots and plenty of water. Hiking poles were very helpful too!
It is also quite exposed, so bring a hat and sunscreen.
The ten essentials (as always!)
There is a loo (with a fantastic view) near the carpark
Yes, they’ll love it, but keep them on a lead.
How hard is it?
Moderate. The path is VERY easy to follow, but although 690m doesn’t sound like a huge elevation gain, you start over at 1400m, so your lungs might feel a bit of a strain for the first half an hour as you get used to it.
There are huge cliffs at the top, so be really careful. I didn’t take a jumping photo on the narrow ledges!
Reaching the Cheam Peak Trailhead
The logging road up to Cheam Peak is pretty terrible. It has some very deep ruts as well as huge potholes. We tried it once in our SUV (Hyundai Tuscon) and we didn’t make it *sob.* The second time, the lovely Lisa from westcoasthikergirl.com gave us a lift in her Subaru Forester. The logging road took us almost an hour, as we were in a trail of 6 other cars. Don’t expect to zoom up the road even if you have a speedy off-road vehicle, this walk is so popular, you’ll probably still need to wait in line! We left Vancouver at 7am, and we nabbed the last spot in the carpark. If you leave a bit later, expect to park on the edge of the road, and have an extra hike to the start of the trail.
Cheam Peak – Getting started
Once you’ve made it to the trailhead, you just climb over some massive logs and head straight towards the beautiful mountains. This hike is fantastic for showing off with gorgeous views, right from the start! We did this in mid-October, so the scenery was glowing.
How busy is this trail?
I saw one website that listed this walk as “lightly trafficked.” Heh! That was not our experience at all. This is one of the busiest trails I have been on near Vancouver. I mean, the views are spectacular, so I can see why it is so popular, but don’t do this walk looking for solitude! I actually really enjoyed meeting so many people and doggos on the trail.
To reach Cheam Peak, you need to hike up to a shoulder, between Lady Peak (above) and Cheam Peak. There is a Ts’elxwéyeqw tribe story that says Lady Peak is the Wife of Mount Baker. Cheam Peak (and the smaller peaks by it) are their daughters. Poor Lady Peak, you can see Mount Baker from here, but it’s quite a long way!
Zigzag your way up
The path up Cheam Peak is pretty easy. You can just follow the switch backs up the mountain. I spent quite a lot of time turning around to catch my breath, and look at these amazing views.
Views getting better
As you climb higher up the ridge, you start to see some amaaaazing views between the gap of Lady Peak (top). At the height when you start seeing these views, you’ll also start to see the Fraser Valley and Chilliwack beyond Cheam Peak (below).
The last stretch
So close… once you make it to the top of the ridge, you’ll be able to see this view of the summit. That last little climb is really steep, but it’s not too hard, once you’ve made it this far!
Before you head up, look over the cliffs to your left. The views down to Chilliwack and the Fraser River are pretty amazing.
Cheam Peak Summit
Once you’ve made it up here, you’ll want to spend some time relaxing at the top! We stayed up here for about an hour as it was just sooo nice to sit up there in the sun. We had the summit to ourselves for a couple of minutes, but then quite a few other people arrived. By the time we left, there were more than twenty people chilling at the top of the mountain with us.
If you decide to do this hike, be really careful at the top. The cliffs are incredibly steep.
Lady Peak is the photo on the left, and I’m jumping in front of her husband, Mount Baker on the right.
Even after we decided we should probably give our amazing lunch spot to the next group of hikers, we still had time to see these gorgeous views on the way down.
Right from the start, we noticed that several blokes were carrying massive backpacks on their way up Cheam Peak. I initially assumed they were planning to go camping, but it turned out they were going to jump off the cliffs and then fly down to the Fraser Valley! I chatted to one of them for a while (Kevin) and he told me he’d been paragliding in the area for 30 years! It looked sooo fun!
Now I’m wondering if this is something Marc and I should try!? You get to climb and mountain and then fly down!! That would be amaaazing!
Cheam Peak’s loo with a view
This toilet will definitely make it into my next list of loos with a view! Lisa had a great idea of leaving the door open while we did our business (there were no hikers behind us on the trail). This might be the prettiest sight I have ever had while peeing!
So, although getting to the start of this trail is very difficult, the trail up Cheam Peak is fantastic. The hike itself was harder than I expected, but we were be rewarded with truly gorgeous views.
44 thoughts on “Cheam Peak – Chilliwack Hikes”
Looks fantastic! 🙂
Thank you! It was a pretty fantastic day!
Wow I bet those hang gliders see some amazing views!!
That is what I was thinking! Although, I am pretty sure my mum will have kittens if we decide to give that a try!!
Ahhh so glad you made it there!! It looks pretty similar to Elk Mountain in places, but the view from the top is amaaazing!
The steepness was similar, but there was no forest section, so it felt totally different.
I am sure you would LOVE it, so we’ll have to get you planning your next trip back to Vancouver already!
Awesome!! It reminds me of Lake Tahoe from the top of the Heavenly Valley ski lift. Gorgeous views of the lake on the California side plus the valley floor on the Nevada side.
Really nice photos. Looks like a great hike. And, I’m glad to hear that the Subaru out-performed the Hyundai. We are huge Subaru fans.
Until next time . . .
w/a Jansen Schmidt
Yeah, the Subaru kicked ass compared to our Hyundai! Still, when we were looking at cars, it was $10,000 more expensive. Now I understand why!!
Wow! This hike looks amazing. I always forget about the incredible mountains in Canada. I would love to go there and do some hiking like this one day. We did some hikes in Switzerland that looked similar but Canada is so much closer to us.
Your photos are breathtaking. Wonderful and fantastically informative post!
Yay thank you!
I will always love the Alps in Europe for stunning mountains, but the Pacific North West has been amaaazing to explore. Cheam Peak is right on the border to the US (the snow-covered Mountain, Mount Baker, is in Washington…) So those amazing hikes might be even closer to you!!
The view is amazing and maybe worth the steep climb and loose rocks… but, I think I’d probably skip this hike because uphill is my absolute nemesis AND I am a little afraid of heights. I’ll have to live vicariously through your post!
Oooh yeah, if you’re afraid of heights, this would probably not be a good choice. The cliffs at the top of the mountain were super steep!!
I bet the fact that you need a 4×4 means the crowds are nonexistent – and what a reward!
That what we expected, but there were sooo many people up there! By the time we came down the car park was full, and cars were parked along the road for a few hundred meters! Lots of people have 4x4s around Chilliwack!
Gorgeous views! Sounds like the hike is definitely worth it! I’ve never heard of this hike, though visited Vancouver a few times. I’ll have to try it next time we are there.
Don’t worry, I’d never heard of it either before we moved here. It’s less famous than walks like the Grouse Grind!
It’s pretty close to Vancouver, you just have to head out East to Chilliwack on the #1 highway. 😀
OMG these views! Your photos are absolutely stunning. Saving this post, because I need to do more travelling in my own country and I always love a good hike! Especially one at 4 hours – that’s the perfect hiking distance for me. Thanks for sharing!
Yay! Thanks Amiee.
Yeah, it’s a pretty impressive view for such a short hike. I hope you get to explore more of this side of Canada. 😀
really lovely photos, looks amazing
Thanks Marian! 😀
I guess I will have to recruit a friend with AWD for this hike, Josy, but it sure looks worth the drive up to Canada! The views just keep going! And yes, I think you and Marc should try paragliding!
Thanks Shannon! It does look soooo fun! My mum just e-mailed me to say “don’t do iiiiit”
Oh wow! That view is worth the climb. Your photos looks pretty amazing. You should try paragliding it looks fun.
Yeah, that is what I was thinking…we’d have to climb up a mountain, instead of jumping off a plane, but that makes it sound even better!
Those views are dreamy! Love your pics plus the way you describe your experience and got me into it, thanks for sharing this amazing experience! <3
Thanks July! I’m really glad you liked it.
What an amazing trail and the view is so stunning. I would love to be here …hopefully get to visit sometime
Thanks Madhu! Do you have any plans to visit this side of the world? I always think of you in the tropics!
What a fantastic looking hike, loving the Loo with a view 😂😂 great photos as well!
Hehehe me too! I really love a good scenic pee!
Beautiful pictures! I lived in Chilliwack for a year, but Cheam Peak was one of the hikes I did not get to do, because I didn’t have the right car!
It’s a bit of a nightmare path isn’t it!
Oooh if you lived nearby, do you have other hikes that you’d recommend? The only other one we tried in the area was Elk Mountain…
What a beautiful hike! All the way to the top! Don’t they have 4×4 rental at the bottom? It’s a bummer if you can’t rent it because this trail is gorgeous.
No, the bottom of the trail is in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by mountains. You could hire a vehicle in Vancouver and drive out (that was out plan before Lisa offered to go with us!)
That was such an amazing day! Standing 7000 feet above Chilliwack was pretty damn extraordinary. Happy I could help get us all up there.
Thanks Lisa!! You had some impressive rut-filled-road driving skills to make it there too!
By the way, if I don’t see it first, let me know if you write up a post about this, as I can add a link to it. 😀
Your guides are terrific!
Looks gorgeous! Love the photos.
What a beautiful hiking experience! I love how open and exposed the trails are here. It looks as though every twist and turn provides an awesome view.
I’m a beginning hiker, but I’m an athlete, so I’ve always been in decent shape, is this hike really hard? Also for equipment, is hiking shoes enough? Are poles necessary? Is it just up the steep park of the peak where you need all of that equipment?
It’s great that you are checking before you go. Poles make this one easier, but you don’t really need them – hiking shoes/trail runners should be enough as this trail is pretty easy to follow. There aren’t any technical sections so if you are an athlete I am sure you’ll be fine to do it in the summertime. You should bring the 10 essentials though (especially extra layers, lots of water and a headlamp)
Unless you are planning to hike it at this time of year. If so, the conditions will be very different to this post! You’d need avalanche gear (transceiver, probe, shovel) as well as an ice-axe and crampons. It would be a mountaineering/expert level hike right now with all the snow and ice.
oh also, how cold is it when you go up there? I plan on going in the 20s for weather, does it get really cold at the top?
Yeah, it is normally much colder at the top compared to down in the valleys, especially if there is wind. Even more so if you go when there is still snow. If you are new to hiking, it might be best to wait until the snow has melted before you attempt this one.