An Evening Adventure
It was Saturday, we just finished nap time and I had failed to plan an afternoon activity. The morning was great and filled with a nice jog around a lake and ended with us buying some red currants and cucumbers from a farmers market. Really enjoyable, but the afternoon was starting to be torture. I hate not having an activity planned on the weekend.
Well, without a Sunday Funday planned, due to my lack of motivation to get started, I knew we should move our Sunday Funday to Saturday afternoon. That’s allowed, it isn’t against my rules I have not ever written down and make up as I go. Yes, so Gregory and I went on a last minute weekend adventure to Cypress Falls Park. It was perfect.
As my mom and I were driving home from our Snow Wall trip to Whistler, we were talking about the other mountains around that we knew of. Cypress was mentioned and I wanted to go check it out. I did not, however, know that there is a Cypress Falls Park. Which is an amazing little area that is hidden away but perfect for short hikes to fill time. Especially in the evening after school, or work… or when you are bored and need to kill 2 hours.
I won’t give you directions like you’ll find on other websites and blogs explaining how to drive there. ‘Drive East on Hwy 1 until Exit 4… blah blah turn left at the stop sign…” I can’t follow that. On both my driving tests, my N and Full licence, they asked me to turn right and I turned left.
So, instead of giving you turn lefts and rights, I’m just going to give you the coordinates I put into my GPS. It worked great for me, and I don’t know anyone in Vancouver without a GPS to tell them how to get places.
Input the intersection Woodgreen Place and Woodgreen Drive on your GPS. Once at the Woodgroves, look up at the stop/street sign and you will notice a smaller white sign on the same pole that has a little arrow and says “Cypress Falls Park”, now follow that sign. That’s the best directions I can give you.
Follow the arrow down the street and you’ll hit what seems like a dead end at a baseball field with 4 parking spots across from a driveway to either an apartment building or townhouses. I didn’t pay that much attention to that side to be honest.
At the end of the parking lot area, there is a one-car-wide path that leads to another, larger, parking area for the Cypress Falls Park. On a Saturday at 4pm there were spaces available in both the 4 car spot and the larger parking area. Take it slow driving in the parking lots so you don’t crash into another car, hit a dog (there is always a dog) or a person.
Take a Hike
I want to get right to the photos and #ourRADhouse experience, so I’ll break down the Cypress Falls Hiking facts for you so you know all you need to know before you set off for you hike.
- Dog friendly park
- Family friendly hike
- Not stroller friendly
- 1.5 hour round trip
- 2 different water falls to view
- 30 minutes from downtown Vancouver
- Beginner Hikers CAN manage
- Advanced hikers can take many side trails to fulfill their hiking needs
- Trails are unmarked
So, the big things I want to point out are the no stroller thing. I mean, I am sure you could access the lower falls viewing area with a stroller if you’ve got a 4×4 system with great shock absorption. Plus a Little who isn’t afraid of some off-roading.
I took a toddler carrier backpack along to load up my son when the terrain got to be too much for him. It’s a do-able hike by kids for sure, but it’s a quite the ways. I passed many families with little children who were walking the whole thing and having a blast. For a two year old… his legs were slowing down and we were racing the sunset.I love it when my hiking guide lets me know if I need a stroller or backpack carrier #Hikingfamily #ourRADhouse Click To Tweet
Secondly, I want to point out that the trails are not marked. So, beginner hikers, you can manage the moderate hiking terrain on the main path. But stick to the main path, always keep an eye out, and leave cairns or take photos of which paths you take in case you get lost.
Advanced hikers, there are many paths you can wander off to. Take a whistle, a dog, a friend, and be safe. Again, leave cairns to mark your pathway so you can return if you get lost or find yourself at a dead end.
Spot my Cairn
Here is the cairn I made along our walk because there was a fork in the trail and I had no idea which was the correct on to take. If you’re out hiking and this is still standing, can you take a photo and instagram it. @KatrinaRadhuber and #ourRADhouse so I can find it and be like ‘Yeah. THIS HUMAN WAS THERE! You were there too? YAY! Humans!’
I get excited over simple things, indulge me. #SimpleMindsSimplePleasures
So, as I have said many times, Gregory and I headed out on a Saturday afternoon. We arrived around 4:15pm if I recall correctly, and we were home before 6:30. So, including travel home but not there, our adventure lasted about 2 hours. Which is PERFECT for anyone who needs a quick last minute hike that isn’t a muscle killer for you the next day. It’s still a decent hike. I worked up a sweat, but I also carried a 2 year old some of the way.
From the parking lot to the waterfalls it took us about 10 minutes to walk. Not very long in we heard the water and we kept looking over the edge of the trail down the hill to see if we could see the water. No luck, it keeps dropping off. We did not take any of the pathways that lead off the main path on the way up because I had read the paths are unmarked and you can easily get lost. I didn’t want to get lost. I wanted to take a hike.
On the way down, however, I knew the trail a tad better and felt comfortable checking out a path or two to a cliff edge to check out the lower falls at a better vantage than at the bridge. Definitely do this. Carefull, the drop off is no joke. But the views are stunning. My pictures never do any justice. A photography class is on my #RadGoals list.
The falls was beautiful to look down on from the lower falls viewing point. We could walk over this cute wooden bridge and watch the water rush the creek…stream…rapids? It’s not river rapids, but it was fast and I wouldn’t consider it a small creek. I believe it’s Cypress Creek though. I should do my research and provide you with the real facts.
There were actually a lot of people around when we hit the lower falls, even a family photo shoot was happening right down by the water. Can I just say… I’m super jealous of that family? They are going to have amazing photos, that little girl was so precious, le sigh. That family, gorgeous, and the scenery, perfect. More families should hike here for photos. Just do it.
The hike really starts once you pass over the bridge. Now, there is a loop that takes you around the entire falls. Apparently I took the difficult direction of the loop and could not find the trail again from the road you must walk on at some point. I found the upper waterfalls (or some other waterfall in the area if it wasn’t the upper falls), took my photos, embraced the beauty of Mother Earth and returned the same direction we arrived.
I repeat, I did not take the Cypress falls loop, I will need to return and not walk the bridge first another day with determination for that trail. There is no problem with taking the bridge first, it’s just hard to find the trail entrance again. Le sigh, lack of reading word for word during my last minute planning and research at 3pm.
After the Bridge
The hike from the bridge was awesome, challenging at times, but fairly easy overall. At one point I was walking up a rocky hill that had a small stream running beside it, then in the middle of it, then it took off to the right. There were tons of little things like that around that you need a Little to point out. “Water, more water. Look mom, pine cone. big tree fall down” It’s simple, and yet it too a two year old to point it out to me for me to stop and appreciate it. Try and stop to appreciate the trail every once and while.
Along the trail we came to gate that was opened, and has a sign that explained we are no longer on park property or something. Access was still allowed, thankfully, but warning was given and should be respected. This pathway turns narrow and was overgrown with bush when we walked through. Gregory had a blast in the carrier, getting leaves and flowers in the face and mom tried to protect us both from branches and prickles. There wren’t many prickles, but enough to make me move things out of my way.
End of the Trail
At the end of this skinny path I was at a road and at a loss. Or rather, I was lost. I tried bringing up a map of the trail on my phone, I couldn’t find a good resource, so I decided to turn left and walk up the hill. This was because if I went down and found out I was wrong, I wasn’t going to walk all the way up to the top. If I was wrong, I’d rather walk all the way down a hill than up one. Let’s be honest.
I was happy to find out I was correct, for the most part. Left was the way to go. Walk up the hill, down the road and you’ll pass a power plant thing, some blocked off areas with ‘delivery trucks to GATE B” or something… and a yellow gate that ‘must be kept closed at all times.’ This yellow gate has a small path that leads around it on the left. We took that path and continued up the dirt road and came upon a bridge. It’s a one car at a time bridge, wooden, but very strong it seemed. You can look out at some awesome water rushing and down the top of some falls.
Upper Falls Markers
Following the left dirt road after the bridge, I kept and eye on the left tree line in hopes of finding another path to lead us to the waterfalls we saw on the bridge just then. There were these two blue… markers that had a path I could manage. I had already fashioned myself a walking stick, and took the slope slowly with Gregory on my back.
There were many viewing points of the falls down this little blue marked pathway. In fact, the views were so good, and so high up, I was getting the shakes as a result of my fear of heights and falling to my death. Yeah, I have been pushing my limits a lot lately, and it was these stunning waterfall viewing points that had me shaking in my shoes. Not a Gondola, or the drop off rock face at the Chief. This.
Totally worth it though.
I tried all the paths I could manage from these falls in hopes to finding one that lead me back on the loop, but the only pathway I kept being led to was on a very steep hill. It was also a one-foot-in-font-of-the-other kind of path that also had a downed tree hanging over in view. Not something I could tackle with a toddler, in the evening, with no idea where it leads.
This was the point where Gregory and I turned around and went back down the dirt road and back to the parking lot the same way we came. I have no regrets with not doing the whole loop, I didn’t know where the loop continued. Next time we will definitely not cross the bridge first, we’ll find the path. I mean, I am 90% sure we found the upper falls. How many water falls can be in one area? We definitely hit up two different ones… only time will tell. Unless you can tell me in the comments below.
Before You Go
Seriously, I’ll say it one last time. This hike was awesome, quick, fairly easy to manage, and perfect for a last minute close to home hike with stunning scenery. There is no need to drive to Squamish to see some waterfalls. Enjoy them right here in Vancouver.
Let me know in the comments if you’ve done the whole loop, and if it was those wooden looking steps left to the lower falls bridge that was the trail I needed to take. That’s what I’m thinking. I hope you enjoyed coming along our last minute hiking adventure. It really did make the day a hundred times more enjoyable. And with no prep or planning. Imagine that. Not needing to plan and prepare. #SAHMgoals