Crystal Falls – Hikes near Vancouver
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.
View this post on Instagram
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.
View this post on Instagram
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.
Please click on the pins below to save them.
42 thoughts on “Crystal Falls – Hikes near Vancouver”
That hike looks beautiful. I’m definitely in the early-start camp. I love a quiet trail! Looks like a perfect anniversary weekend activity. Thanks for sharing!
Yay for early-start camp! I have to admit, I never want to get out of bed early…but then I am always glad (later) when I do manage it. This one wasn’t even toooo early. We started just before 9am.
Looks like an amazing hike, especially love the waterfalls!
Thanks Maaerje, me too!
Crystal Falls looks great and there’s nothing like a walk in the rain if you have the right protective gear. The forest and falls look even more impressive in the wet weather.
It’s all so shiny isn’t it! 🙂
Thank you for always reading and commenting Jonno. You are the best!
Crystal Falls looks awesome and something that I would love to visit someday. It’ll be great to spend time in nature after being cooped up at home for months!
I hope you can get outside in your local area soon Olga!
We were lucky, that even in lock down, we could walk around our neighbourhood. I am just getting used to being allowed slightly further afield for local wilderness walks again!
This looks like such a great hike with incredible views! It’s been so long since I’ve been on a proper hike and you’ve inspired me to go on one again soon.
Yay! I hope you can and that you have some pretty places to walk near you Kirsten.
I love a good hike with waterfalls! These looks incredible beautiful and I hope I will see them one day!
It looks very cool. This is a great idea. Thanks for sharing!
That Alltrails map is so awesome! Super helpful!
Awesome! Gotta love an easy, rewarding hike! I can’t believe I never heard of this one before. I’ll have to try it next time I’m in Van 😊
It looks like such a lovely waterfall! And I like the effort to views ratio!
Another good local hike for me. Getting started early is a great tip. As with many of the easier hikes you need to be out there as early as you can. As we head into summer I imagine it’s only going to be busier. The falls are beautiful
I’ll remember to bring my mud shoes and have a great time squelching through the mud. These are the tips I need! 🙂 Lovely hike to a beautiful waterfall, thanks for sharing.
What a beautiful hike! I love waterfall hikes 🙂
Waterfall hikes are my favorite! <3 We don't get too much rain here so most of the ones around here are kinda dry-ish. This looks like such a fun and pretty hike! (Glad that wasp's nest was empty though, hehe.)
Looks like a great hike to do on a day trip from Vancouver. I’ve been to Vancouver a couple of times and always loved how close you are to the mountains, trails, forests etc with just a short drive from the city. Definitely adding this one to my list for when i next visit
What a beautiful route! The forest looks so pretty and the waterfall looks really impressive! I love hunting waterfalls but I don’t know that many in my local area. You’ve inspired me to do some searching! Thanks for the wonderful guide, hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to try it out one day!
I’ve read a few of these blogposts about hikes and these ones near Vancouver look sooo impressive! I love the waterfalls and would love to go on one of these hikes when I visit Vancouver in the future.
The forest leading the trail in looks absolutely gorgeous, and oh so tranquil! The flora of the place also looks beautiful, complementing the lushness of the area. I’ve had some unintentional experiences of hiking in drizzling rain before, and ever since I carry some good waterproofs.
It looks so green! I guess the rain must have something to do with that :). Looks like a beautiful waterfall and a great option for a half-day trip.
What a nice way to spend your anniversary! I love these easy 1-2 hour hikes but am not a fan of crowds, so will be sure to do this one early in the morning when I’m next in Van. I’d love to see the river screw traps!
This hike looks amazing, especially the waterfall! We went on a hike yesterday here in Brisbane that included a waterfall, but because of the drought, there was no water! Great read!
Absolutely loved reading this post! We visit our family in Vancouver often and one of our favorite things to do while there is to explore the hiking trails in the region. Hadn’t heard about this particular trail though so that’s going to be on our bucket list for sure for our next trip to this beautiful region. You’ve captured the beauty of the trail to the waterfalls so well in this post. Love the lush greenery of the forest.
Wow, that’s crazy it gets so busy here, but looking at your beautiful photos I understand why people are eager to visit, especially since it’s so close to the city! I especially love your photo of the empty wasp’s nest, I would have never guessed what it was! Good thing I’m such an early riser so I can indeed arrive here before 9am 😉 Thanks for this great tip!
Oh man- we totally missed this when we were in Vancouver. We spent some time in Coquitlam too! Next time for sure!
Beautiful scenery! Living in a warm town off the beach the green, hilly landscape would be a nice change for us.
I had no idea there were falls in Coquitlam! I used to stay in Mission when I visited and was always looking for close(ish) hikes.
It’s funny you mention about the carpark at the trailhead being crowded. We had the same at Joffre Lakes, but surprisingly the trail wasn’t that crowded. Once we got past the second lake there was no one on the trail at all!
Looks like mud is a force to be reckoned with when hiking in BC! 😉
Sounds like you had an awesome time and I agree with you. When you wear the right clothes even a rain storm can be fun!
What other to say after this amazing post and pics? 🙂
I just hope this crisis will be over soon, so we could travel again.
Inspired by your blog, we have started hiking in local parks where we live and it is amazing how many beautiful parks and great hiking trails we have. There are even a few waterfalls, but nothing as spectacular as what you have seen at Crystal Falls.
This looks really pretty! I love waterfalls. But what a pity that it’s a busy trail. I really enjoy the serenity of waterfalls.
I love waking in nature, but my husband is not a huge fan. This looks like a hike we can both enjoy!
Crystal Falls looks like a great hike. I do a lot of hiking with my daughter and always look for trails that are doable with a 5 year old. It’s always great to find a beautiful waterfall that you don’t have to work to hard to get to. Such beautiful scenery!
I can’t think of a better way to spend your anniversary! There is always a reason some trails are busier than others. It looks amazing!
Crystal Falls looks gorgeous! I’m always okay with an easier hike! I love the pictures of the flowers.
It’s a hot day today and these pictures look so cool! I LOVE waterfalls, we always seek them out when we visit new places!
Crystal Falls is beautiful. The hike trail looks pretty amazing. Flora and fauna around the trail make things more engrossing. Lovely pictures to reciprocate the story. Thanks for sharing.
Looks like a great hike. 😊