Need to get out of the Big City? Travelling east up the Fraser Canyon on the Trans Canada Highway, Cultus Lake is the closest provincial park east of downtown Vancouver (100 kms), and just a short 10 kilometres south of Chilliwack.
This breathtaking provincial park and resort area is one of the primary summertime destinations in southern British Columbia, and has been amongst the most popular tourist areas in the Fraser Valley for more than a century.
Whether you’re planning a quick weekend getaway or a whole season of relaxation, Cultus Lake is a remarkable retreat. Its crystal-clear waters shimmer off gently sloping sandy shores, beckoning to swimmers, sail-boarders, sailors, and water skiers.
Those who like their adventures wet and wild can challenge themselves at the huge water-slide park or by taking one of the many offered rafting trips for an unforgettable journey down the Chilliwack River. And when it’s time to dry off, there’s plenty to do back on terra firma. Visitors can enjoy camping, hiking, trail riding on horseback or mountain bike, or maybe just taking a leisurely round or two at Cultus Lake’s two excellent golf courses.
Long before its recreational use by Chilliwack’s European settlers, Cultus Lake served for centuries as a popular spot for spirit quests by the local Sto:lo First Nation. So popular in fact, that by the 18th century, the lake’s spiritual powers had diminished such that the Chinook word Cultus, meaning worthless, was ascribed to it.
Cultus Lake Park was founded in 1924, with about 200 summer cottages being built on leased land along the western lakeshore by 1930. Until the 1950s, the increased traffic was handled by a one-lane road. When Cultus Lake became a provincial park in the 1950s, the road developed into the present-day Columbia Valley Highway.
Further along the Columbia Valley Highway is picturesque Columbia Valley, where some of the first families settled around 1890. Always the site of mixed farming, Columbia Valley’s true origins are in logging. Most of today’s roads through the Columbia Valley are built on top of old logging roads.
Conveniently close to the Vancouver area and a fine showcase for B.C.’s natural beauty, Cultus Lake is a great summertime destination.
Driving History Tour: The Chilliwack area is a community of communities linked by an excellent network of urban and rural roads that offer pleasant sightseeing by either car or bicycle on a Driving History Tour. In addition to grand vistas of farmland set against a mountain backdrop, the roadways offer glimpses of man-made monuments that mark the history of the area. The tour could include Sardis, Vedder, Promontory Heights, Greendale, Yarrow and Rosedale.
The ride of your life is waiting for you at the Cultus Lake Water Park, where radical rapids, blasting flash flood slides, relaxing whirlpools, water fountains and wading pools will thrill the young at heart.
For a Circle Tour into the United States and back again to Canada, go to Henderson Road and run around the marker indicating the border between the two counties…and then go and find something else to do.
Golf: Cultus Lake Golf Club is beautifully maintained and surrounded by splendid mountain views and a lush parkland setting. The par-63 layout of over 4,000 yards will provide the challenge that you are looking for, and will force you to use every club in your bag. With narrow fairways that are bordered by large fir and cedar trees, and undulating often protected greens, pars will be well earned. Located just ten minutes south of Highway 1. Golf Vacations in British Columbia.
Horseback Riding: Don’t walk – Ride! One of the favourite ways for visitor to see the lush untouched wilderness of Cultus Lake is on a guided horse trail-ride. Quiet, leisurely, and natural, a few hours on horseback also give you an excellent excuse to go stretch your legs out on the golf course later.
Fishing: Due to some excellent environmental protection work, fishing at Cultus Lake has improved in recent years. Trout may reach over 3 lbs, with trolling and fly fishing being the most successful methods used. Cultus Lake has an excellent spawning area and is stocked to maintain a healthy fish population of natural steelhead, whitefish, dolly varden, coho and sockeye salmon.
Cultus Lake Provincial Park, on the east side of Cultus Lake, lies nestled in the folds of the Cascade Mountains, about 7 miles (11 km) south of Hwy 1. There are four campgrounds within the park, at Entrance Bay, Clear Creek, Delta Grove, and Maple Bay. The warm waters of Cultus Lake have attracted visitors to frolic and splash on its beaches for decades. Small private cabins clustered around Cultus Lake Municipal Beach’s maze of swimming wharves testify to this tradition. The warm water is so clear that at midday the gold sand on the bottom of the lake perfectly complements the colour of the summer sun.
Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park is located about 30 miles (50 km) east of Cultus Lake. Situated on a bluff at the narrow lake’s north end, the park has vehicle/tent sites, the most attractive of which are located beneath some large ponderosa pines at lakeside. A wide, sandy beach spreads out below the bluff while, high above, the snowfields of Mount Corriveau present themselves like the Great Wall of China. There’s a soothing sound from the nearby Chilliwack River, which drains north out of the lake and immediately turns to whitewater. An old trail follows the river to its confluence with Post Creek. Bootprints keep the path smooth in summer, while in winter these trails are popular with cross-country skiers. You’ll find a series of beaches on the eastern shoreline of Chilliwack Lake. Three more beaches front the Forest Service recreation sites located along Chilliwack Lake Road at Paleface and Depot Creeks, and at Sappers Park at the south end of the lake, perhaps the prettiest of them all. The sand here is a very fine quality, which is a good thing because you’ll spend more time stretched out on it than in the chilly waters of the big lake. No matter which beach you choose, there are awesome views on all sides as the ramrod-straight fir forest rises to icefields and scissor-cut peaks.
Also located on Cultus Lake is the small lakefront village of Lindell Beach, another popular vacation and recreation destination in the Lower Mainland.
Circle Tours: See the best of the area on a driving Circle Tour. Head north out of Vancouver for the scenic Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island Circle Tour, or stay on the intensely scenic Sea to Sky Highway, passing through the magical winter resort town of Whistler and Coast Mountains Circle Tour. To explore the rural farmlands and forests of the fertile Fraser Valley, take the Fraser Valley Circle Tour, travelling outbound on the scenic route north of the historic Fraser River, returning westwards along the Trans Canada Highway 1 to Vancouver. Circle Tours in British Columbia.