Amazing trips from Vancouver: Fraser Valley
The Fraser Valley is one of many counties (areas) which make up British Columbia and all the places I will mention on here are about one to two hours east of Vancouver (whilst driving along the Trans-Canada 1 highway which runs from west to east of Canada). I based myself in a town called Mission which has plenty of budget accommodation and cheap eats and makes it ideal to do road trips around the Fraser Valley and also Vancouver. Here on this page are places which are worth checking out but please remember, the Fraser Valley and British Columbia itself is HUGE so I have only scratched the surface.
This small quaint town which lies north of Abbotsford and on the Fraser River as I mentioned is a great place to be based. The centre maybe small with a few shops, bars and restaurants (as most are located on the outskirts of the town) but here is one of my favourite breakfast places of all time, a cafe called Rocko’s. This family owned business is open twenty-four hours a day so if anyone has got the munchies in the middle of the night then this is the place to hit. However the only time Rocko’s is closed is when a lot of movie and television productions hire the place out for filming. The breakfasts here are cheap, massive and mighty dam tasty as you can see from the photos! Location: 32786 Lougheed Hwy, Mission, BC V2V 1A7, Canada
Near the river edge on the southern side of town is Captain’s Cabin Pub. Now why would I mention a bar as there are plenty of bars in the area. Well as far as I am concerned I have to mention the ‘Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings’ because this was the first place I got hooked on them in Canada and are very tasty. A little bit of a zing but just right if you don’t like the wings to be too hot and spicy. Also the bar shows a lot of sport on television but I would advise to stay away on karaoke night. Some of the cats around here sing a lot better than the locals! Location: 33331 Harbour Ave, Mission, BC
Mission may not be a touristy place what I do recommend is a walk to the top of the hill in the east of the town where Westminster Abbey is located. The abbey itself looks nice and has about thirty monks in there dancing the night away (only kidding) but the views overlooking the river and valley is amazing and in the far background on a clear day, Mount Baker which stands at 3,286 meters and is the highest mountain in Washington State over the border line. Also I was taken here one morning to the cafe nearby to have another great breakfast, a little bit more pricey than the diners in town but the food, service and of course the location in the summer months makes this a very pleasant place to kick start the day. Location: 34224 Dewdney Trunk Rd, Mission, BC V2V 4J5
A thirty minute drive north-east of Mission is the Cascade Falls Regional Park. This small park is great to relax by the river in the summer months but the main feature here is the waterfall and the suspension bridge. Location: Ridgeview Rd, Deroche, BC V0M 1G0
The area is also known for its wine and I was taken to an unusual winery which not only makes wine out of grapes but also wild berries. Kermode Wild Berry Wine had a lot of different wines to choose from, some I have never heard and was also given the chance to sample many of their different flavours and because they were that good, I also brought home a few bottles. Location: 8457 River Road South, Dewdney, V0M-1H0
Just one more place to mention whilst in the Mission area and if after a day relaxing by the lake in the hot summer sunshine, then directly north of the town is Hayward Lake (next to Stave Lake) is the place to be. Nice quiet place with plenty of hiking routes. Big car park to park up with toilet blocks but there is no food places around here, so bring a picnic.
Bridal Veil Falls
Further east along the Trans-Canada-1 (east of Chilliwack) is the Bridal Veil Falls, this spectacular waterfall where the water gushing down the mountain-side is shaped as a bridal veil (if looking at it face on) is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. It’s worth a pit stop off the highway and is about a fifteen minute walk from the car park.
Harrison Hot Springs
This beautiful village located on the southern shores of Harrison Lake is known for its hot springs (which I didn’t have the chance to as it was a quick pit stop for me here) but what I did love here was the quirky shops and cafes (where I did enjoy a nice chocolate cake) but for me the views looking north towards Echo Island was the highlight.
I love the name of this town which is a good stop off point if doing the long drive across the provence. This beautiful town is surrounded by the Fraser River to the west and north but more beautifully is the mountains to the east. I noticed on the long drive the heading west of Hope through the valley to Vancouver is flat but going east, north and south is all mountains. It is a truly beautiful area for a pit stop.
Just to the east of the town is the Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park which like the rest of B.C. is a beautiful park with rivers, mountains, trees (starting to see a theme in this beautiful park of the world) but also here is the Othello Tunnels. These tunnels used to be part of a railway line which is now decommissioned and has now turned into a walking trail. Here there are five tunnels and a few bridges which go in a straight line through the gorge.
Many popular films like Rambo: First Blood and Cabin in the Woods to name a few. In Rambo the popular scene where Sylvester Stallone hangs off the cliff while a helicopter overhead tries to shoot him down was film here. Location: Kettle Valley Trail, Hope, BC V0X 1L1
The Fraser Valley is totally awesome and a great place to go through and stop off on the way. Every place I have mentioned is anything from one minute to thirty minutes drive off the highway and easily accessible. Like the rest of Canada, I don’t come here for the towns and city life, I come here for the nature and there are certainly a lot of places to go and check this out. Like I said, I just scraped the barrel and I hope one day I will be back in this area to check out more sights plus more of the local wine.