To reach the trailhead, travelling east on Highway 1, take Exit 119A and drive south until you reach the bridge over Chilliwack River. Turn left and drive for about 34 km. Pass the Centre Creek corrections facility on your right and 500 m later you will see the trailhead on your left.
Keep in mind than vandalism in Chilliwack is an ongoing problem, you can drive your car for another 100 meters and leave it on a small parking lot, but you better leave it on the road, there are less chances of seeing any broken windows at the end of your day.
I walked the 100 m into the bush on an old road. Be careful at around 90 meters into the bush, here the trail goes left and from there you keep going straight until you reach the base of the mountain.
Many people called this hike the "Grouse Grind of Chilliwack". I cannot understand how they can disrespect a real trail for the piece of dust and dirt that the Grouse Grind is.
On your way up you will pass two deserted log cabins and some kind of campsite. After you reach the ridge you will see a tree with numerous orange markers. If you go left you will reach Ford Mountain, if you go right you will reach Williams Ridge.
Following the ridge, on my right I had views of Mount Rexford and the Illusion Peaks.
Illusion Peaks are two granitic summits on the Centre-Nesakwatch divide north of the Nesakwatch Spires. The North Peak is the higher of the two. The south peak has a prominent northeast buttress forming almost a separate summit, known as "The Bastion". The Illusion Peaks, Disillusion Peak and Guardian Peak form the "Illusion Group".
Mount Rexford is just behind Illusion Peaks.
The ridge has many flat spots bringing down the average grade of this hike (26.1%). While still on the forest I have the opportunity to have some views of Williams Peak. It was a matter of time before I was able to reach the alpine.
The holes on the slopes of the mountains are courtesy of Interfor and Cattermole, the logging companies operating on this area. Timber harvesting activity is under increasing constraint to meet the requirements of wildlife, species at risk, old-growth, and fish protection. The designation of management zones for the protection of these and other values of the landscape has reduced the available timber harvesting land base significantly.
Welch and Foley Peak
Foley Peak and its neighbours get their names from the turn-of-the-century engineering firm Foley, Welch & Stewart who, among other things, were the contractors in the construction of the Pacific Great Eastern Railway.
This zone primarily contains coniferous forests, or “temperate rainforests,” composed of Western hemlock and Western red cedar. Other species include amabilis fir and yellow cedar in wetter areas, and Douglas fir, grand fir, Western white pine, and bigleaf maple in drier areas. Red alder, black cottonwood, lodgepole pine, and Sitka spruce grow in disturbed areas, along rivers, on very dry sites, and on floodplains, respectively.
Finally I reached the rocky knoll where in theory the hike ends. On the east I have views of Chilliwack Lake.
Chilliwack Lake and Macdonald Peak
The previous picture offers an excellent example of a glacier carved valley. Earlier than 10,000 years ago the Chilliwack River Valley was covered or partially covered in massive glaciers and lakes on several occasions. Now the Chilliwack River winds its way down the Valley from the northern Cascade Mountains through Chilliwack Lake and eventually drains into the mighty Fraser River
Macdonald Peak is a rock scamble from the MacDonald-Webb col, which is at the end of the Radium Lake trail.
Chilliwack Lake, Macdonal Peak, Mount Webb and Mount Corriveau
I have my lunch enjoying the views of Welch Peak -- the sharp pointed pyramidal symmit on the left --. At 2431 m (7979 ft), Welch Peak is the highest peak in the Cheam Range.
Foley lake on the left, Welch and Foley Peak
Foley lake is the only accessible road lake on the area where you can try some trout fishing. Be sure to check on the current regulations to avoid that unpleasant “tap on the shoulder” by the local conservation officer, not to mention the costly ticket that may follow.
Ford Mountain, Foley Lake, Welch Peak and Foley Peak
Williams Peak is an impressive-looking horn fine class 3 scramble. To reach the peak you need to add 3 to 4 hours to your day but as you can see, the views from the ridge are grand.
Williams Peak (2123 m - 6965 ft)
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1. Elev: 486m N49'06.133" W121'32.887" Entrance to old road
2. Elev: 625m N49'06.381" w121'33.059" First abandoned cabin
3. Elev:1330m N49'07.095" W121'33.548" T-junction
4. Elev:1757m N49'07.699" W121'31.158" Knoll
5. Elev:1790m N49'07.810" W121'31.010" Highest point to have views of Foley Lake
Round trip : 13 km (8.1 mi)
Elevation gain: 1331 m (4366 ft)
Time: 6.5 hours
Driving distance from Vancouver 146 km (91 mi)