The Three Cs: River Descriptions

Chilliwack River

The Chilliwack River is a very versatile river in the sense that it has several different sections that can be paddled from a nice relaxing class 1 that runs by the Blue Heron Reserve to the continuous white water of the Chilliwack Canyon that can be a solid class 4 at the right levels. This is a low volume river with some technical sections and some nice wave train action as well.  There is road access along the whole river so you can shorten up a run or add to it depending on what you feel like doing. The Chilliwack can be run 365 days a year, albeit sometimes it can get pretty bony and chilly, but in the middle of winter when the rest of the country is frozen and most people are grabbing their skis you can still get out for a paddle.  Tamihi Rapid on the “classic” section has gates set up for the slalom paddlers that train out here daily.

Coquihalla River

This is a nice class 3 run that is often overlooked.  It is a low volume river with several play spots on the run depending on the flow. At low flows several drops become technical as you are making your way around boulders and a couple of the drops have a real creek type feel at low levels. At medium to high flows it becomes very bouncy with a few larger holes that most prefer to avoid and some nice surf waves to play in. The backdrop of the mountains makes for some great scenery as you are paddling down. Since there aren’t many people along the banks you get a nice sense of solitude with the outdoors.

If you paddle the Coquihalla leave enough time to take the walk through the Othello Tunnels, which is where the old Kettle Valley Railway ran through. It’s a short walk but the water rushing through the

narrow canyon is impressive.

Chehalis River

This river typically starts by running a section of Statlu Creek. This is a boulder garden run that feeds right into the Chehalis. You can choose to hike in and do a couple of extra drops that are a bit more challenging  than the rest of the Chehalis but most paddlers find the hike is not worth the extra drops.  Once on the Chehalis you can expect a very remote setting with canyon walls for most of the run making exiting the run early very difficult.  This is a pool drop river that only runs during spring runoff and during the fall rains. At the end of the run there are caves and some climbing routes at the take out and along the shuttle.

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November 20th, 2017

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