Print Edition: March 25, 2015
The first thing you see when you approach the Mount Thom trail on Promontory Mountain in Chilliwack is stairs. While the stairs may look welcoming and not too intimidating, don’t be fooled; your legs will be burning by the time you reach the top — and that’s only the beginning.
At the top of the stairs, the gravel trail begins and winds up the mountain in a series of inclining twists and turns. The first part of the hike is the hardest. The constant incline will make you second-guess your fitness level, as well as your decision to come hiking. But after a while, the trail changes from a steady incline to a series of ups and downs that are actually rather fun — especially if you run, which many do.
There are a couple of forks in the trail as you get closer to the end, but it doesn’t matter too much which you take as they all lead to the summit in relatively the same amount of time. And by the time you reach the top, the view of Chilliwack and the Fraser Valley will make you forget the hell that you endured to get there. There is a bit of a clearing with a bench, making it the perfect place to have lunch, as well as take gorgeous pictures of the view that will not only stun all your social media followers, but remind them of how physically active you are.
While nothing can beat the view at the end of the Mount Thom trail, it isn’t the only beautiful part of the hike. The entire trail is surrounded by moss-covered trees that umbrella the trail, making it a bearable hike in the rain. The abundance of stunning nature will serve as a reminder: this is the rainforest landscape that Chilliwack is known for.
The first time I hiked the Mount Thom trail, there were more sets of stairs than just the first flight at the bottom. Recently, they have been removed and covered with gravel. While this change does make the hike a little easier on the knees, the stairs provided some variety that the trail is now lacking.
The hike is about 30 minutes from UFV’s Abbotsford campus and can take over two hours (round trip), so be sure to bring lots of water and use a restroom before you leave home as there isn’t one anywhere nearby. And feel free to bring your dog, as it is a pet-friendly trail.