What do you think of when you think of a bridal veil? Layers of tulle, organza or chiffon folding softly around a bride on her wedding day. Now imagine that as a waterfall and you have the Bridal Veil Falls.
Located in Chilliwack, an hour and a half drive outside Vancouver, the Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park is a great day trip or a logical stopping point if you’re heading to the Okanagan. The turn into the park is easy to miss with just one tiny sign pointing the right direction. There is a small parking lot, but we had no trouble finding a spot. Adjacent to the parking lot are benches and picnic tables fully of families out for a day in the great outdoors.
It is a short walk up to the falls. The sign says 15 minutes, but I think we managed it in 5 – 10 minutes. The trail is well marked and very wide. It’s not steep, but it does have a steady upward gradient. The trail criss-crosses over some of the smaller run offs from the waterfall with a quiet and soothing murmur. The forest is very lush and very green, with moss running up and down tree trunks. It is completely silent except for the water. You hear it long before you see the falls. A quiet gurgling that builds in ferocity the closer you get to them.
There is a viewing platform at the bottom, but many people choose to ignore it, instead opting to climb over fallen logs and rocks to get a closer view of the falls. Not willing to risk a twisted ankle, I only went as far as the trail took me. Despite it being a beautiful day, the falls were not busy. Yes, there were other people there, but not so much that you felt crowded or overwhelmed.
The falls from a distance look small, but the closer you get, the larger they feel. At 122 metres (400 feet), these falls are not very tall (38th in BC), but it win points for being completely beautiful. Water tumbling over the smooth rock faces gives the illusion of a bridal veil. The shape of the falls, thin at the top, and spreading in width towards the bottom, adds to the effect. There are a couple other falls with the same name, but none of them look as much like a veil as these.
I’ve said it many times before that I’m a city person, but every so often I need some quite. The falls are close enough to the city that it makes for a good day trip, but far enough that you feel like you’re out of the city. Getting to Bridal Veil Falls pretty much requires a car. There are no transit options to get out there unfortunately. The trails are easy and manageable especially for those who aren’t too keen on hiking. A visit to the falls in combination with a night at the nearby Harrison Hot Springs would make for the perfect weekend getaway.
Know Before You Go
Driving Time: 1.5 hours from Vancouver
Take Highway 1 out of Vancouver until you pass Chilliwack (100+km). The falls are at exit 135. At the intersection, go left onto Bridal Falls Road and follow the signs to the parking lot.
There are picnic tables at the bottom of the trail so pack a lunch or snack to enjoy among the trees.
What do you do when you need to get out of the city for a couple of hours? Do you like chasing waterfalls?