About an hour outside of Vancouver, in Maple Ridge, lies Kanaka Cliff Falls. This area is wonderful if you are looking for a serene place to have a picnic, or looking for a short and easy family hike. The picnic area and the falls themselves are quite accessible and it would be no problem to get a stroller or wheelchair to. There is a hill that is fairly steep; however, the trail is wide and free of large roots and rocks and the area is well worth the extra effort.
To get the Falls can be a little tricky though, if it is your first time. We made the mistake of typing “Kanaka Regional Park” into our GPS not knowing that “Kanaka Cliff Falls” are located in a part of Kanaka Regional Park called “Cliff Park”. Kanaka Regional Park is actually separated into three sections. The first section we went to included a nature loop and quite a large trail along the river. This would also be a lovely place to take a walk, and is extremely accessible for wheelchairs, strollers, and power-chairs; however, we got bombarded by swarms of mosquitoes and needed to escape quickly.
We jumped back in the car and headed to the next section of the park located off of 240th street: “The Fish-Fence”. This is a viewing area to see spawning salmon in the fall… still not what we were looking for. So we jumped back in the car and headed to the last section located at “Cliff Park”. If you want to skip the other areas make sure that Cliff Park is your destination on your GPS!
When you arrive at Cliff Park, you park your car in the gravel lot and you will see the trail head and the trail running beside the baseball diamond. Head along the trail head and you will run into the Map Board. Continue past the board and down the hill heading straight through the 4-way intersection. At the bottom of the hill you will cross a wooden bridge that leads you to the Cliff Falls picnic area. There are many picnic tables here and a small trail, to the right of the area, leads you to a view of the falls.
Continue past the picnic area and up to to the left where you will cross another bridge that crosses over river rapids with beautiful views in both directions. On the other side of the bridge a trail travels left and up a short hill. At the top is a junction where you want to go left along the “Canyon Trail”.
The trail eventually drops down and continues next to a small creek before reaching a road. Cross the road and through the gravel parking lot. On the far side of the parking lot you will find the trail to the Bell-Irving Hatchery that has salmon all year round including Coho, Chum and Pink depending on the time of the year.
To return to where you started your, you can back-track the way you came or, after crossing gravel parking lot, crossing the road, and following the Canyon Trail you can walk up the steep incline and along the path until you reach a junction and take the trail on your right. This trail drops down into the canyon and crosses Kanaka Creek over a metal bridge. The trail continues up a steep slope on the other side of the canyon; continue until you reach a gravel road.
If you head left down the gravel road it will return you to the picnic area. To return to the picnic area, go left down the gravel road. If you want to head straight back to the parking lot look for the trail on the other side of the gravel road about 20 ft to your right. Follow this trail, through the forest, until you reach a wooden bridge. Continue following the path until you reach the 4-way trail intersection you crossed at the very beginning of your hike. If you want to go back to the picnic area, go left and to return to the parking lot, go right.
This hike is open year round. It will take about 2 hours and dogs are allowed on leash.