Crystal Falls is an easy, fun hike in Coquitlam, just over 30 minutes drive East of Vancouver. The waterfall is really beautiful after an easy hike, so the only bad thing about the Crystal Falls trail is that it is VERY busy! If you prefer quiet walks in the wilderness, then you need to start before 9am for this one. We attempted to visit once in the afternoon, and there were soooo many people that the parking near the trailhead was completely full, as were all the nearby roads! On that day, we chose to visit Belcarra Regional Park instead.
We have had a lot of rainy weekends here in Vancouver this spring, so (as you may have guessed) we have been visiting as many waterfalls as we can. I have quite a few to write about!
Extra notes about this trail
I just saw an article that states people that live near here are upset about all the extra visitors to this trail. Please note, this is not an official park, and part of the trail goes through private land. Please don’t block the driveways of local residents when you park, and make sure you do not trespass in their yards.
Crystal Falls Trail Map
Crystal Falls – the basics
Elevation Gain: 50m
High Point: 140m
Time: 1.5-2 hours
What to bring:
Water, snacks and your camera!
We brought the 10 essentials.
Facilities: No facilities.
Dogs: Yes! It’s dog friendly, they can even go off leash if you keep them under control.
How hard is it? Easy as long as you don’t mind mud. There were lots of kids on the trail.
Crystal Falls Trail – Getting started
There are quite a few places to park on Karley Crescent (if you arrive early.) The trail runs parallel to the Coquitlam River, so you can’t really get lost once you’ve found the start.
The forest is truly gorgeous. There are some massive Cedar trees that are covered in moss as well as slopes that are crowded with bright green ferns. We loved the variety of flowers, berries and mosses. We even found this empty wasp’s nest on the trail.
Get ready for mud
It’s best to visit waterfalls on rainy days or in springtime when the water is really gushing. However the trail to Crystal falls is VERY muddy, full of puddles and even a couple of mini streams that you’ll need to hop on logs to cross.
We saw quite a few people attempting to go around the mud patches to keep their shoes clean, but that can end up widening the trail. Just accept that you’ll finish with muddy shoes and tramp through the middle.
First view of Crystal Falls
You’ll arrive at a clearing and hear the roar of the waterfall. There are some massive logs at the base of the falls, but you can see the top half.
Photos don’t quite do the waterfalls justice, so I’ve included a moving image from my instagram.
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If it’s not too wet and slippery, you can climb up the roots on one side of the waterfall. I liked this view from the side of the falls.
I love that there are a couple of viewpoints that allow you to look down on the waterfall from the side, and from above.
This was our Wedding Anniversary weekend. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate our marriage (although we topped this the following day with an even better waterfall – I’ll write about that soon!)
I tend to post bue skies and pretty views on this blog, but we still hike to hike on rainy days. This time we were lucky for the first half of the walk, but then it really started to bucket it down on us! This sounds like it could be a nightmare, but it felt amaaazing! We had waterproof coats and covers for our bags, so we felt free to enjoy the shower, rather than having to run for shelter. This mini clip will give you an idea of how gorgeous it was.
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After the rain, the forest was even more lush! We were a bit soggy, but very happy by the time we made it back to the car.
Coquitlam River Screw Traps
Right at the start (or end) of the trail, have a look in the river at the screw traps. When we arrived in the morning there were some BC Hydro workers there counting the baby fishes. It’s pretty cool to see fishery research happening right by a popular trail.
We finished at about 11am, so as we were leaving there were quite a lot of families and dog walkers just getting started. We had the waterfall views for ourselves, but you might not get that if you go a little later. Still, it is a fantastic waterfall considering how little effort it takes to reach it, so it’s great that so many people visit. If you want to sleep in, the view is lovely enough to share!
Or, if you want more waterfalls, have a peek at my Oh Canada page – I have a map with lots of other fabulous waterfall options.
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