Chilliwack Canyon - Camp Foley to Slesse

Contributed by Claudia Schwab
What It's Like
Pool-drop at low and medium, continuous at higher levels, bedrock and boulder gardens, medium volume river
Class
III-IV low, IV- medium, IV high
Scouting / Portaging
Everything is easy to scout and portage. Check 'Mel's' for wood.
Time
2-4 hours
When to Go
Year round, may be too low in winter and late summer if it does not rain.
Gauge
17.5cms↑ (Jul 30 14:05)
This description may contain outdated info.

Gauge and Levels: Environment Canada, Chilliwack above Slesse Creek. Low: 1.2 m (30 cms) and below. Medium: 1.5 m (50 cms). High: 1.7 – 2 m (70 cms).

Scenery
: It’s not really a canyon, but an amazing run nevertheless. If it’s your first time, be prepared for a long run where the rapids just don’t seem to end. 

Length of Run
: 10 km

Length of Shuttle
(one way): 7 km

Special Considerations
: Watch for wood. Continuous at high levels.

Directions
: For general directions to the Chilliwack River/Vedder Crossing see (7). Take-out is just downstream from where Slesse Creek joins the Chilliwack, approximately 20.5 km east of Vedder Crossing Bridge. To get to the put-in follow the road east for about 7 km to a bridge across the Chilliwack. Park either at the camp spot across the bridge on river right (north side of road) or on the logging road that turns off to the right just before the bridge.

Description
:  Don’t judge this run by what you see from the put-in. You get a couple of kilometers of very gentle warm-up ripples. The ripples give way to some class III drops. The fun starts soon after a headwall on the right. The first significant drop, “Double Whammy”, has a ledge on the right and a couple of holes on the left side. After a slight left bend follows “Shotgun” (also called “Gun barrel”), recognizable by a big rock at the bottom left. Most often this is run from the left side towards the middle. After the river makes a right turn, a second headwall comes up on the right (“Carousel”). “Pin Ball Alley I” is just what its name suggests, a long boulder garden, and pretty bony at low levels. At the bottom of “Pin Ball Alley I” the river makes a slight left turn. Watch for a rock outcropping on the right side. On the downstream side of this rock is a plaque remembering Mel Zajac, a paddler who died here in 1986. The drop immediately below is named after Mel and has at medium to high levels a dangerous hole on the left side. Scout “Mel’s” from the right bank. The next drop is marked by old bridge foundations and has several ledges and holes. Next follows “Godzilla” a straight forward looking drop that ends in a rather dynamic hole. “Pin Ball Alley II”, “Cable Pool” (gauge on river left) and “Surprise” are all similar. They start out wide and get narrower and steeper, are peppered with lots of waves and holes and end in a couple of big waves above a pool. At the bottom of “Surprise” is a great play wave at the right levels. Don’t let your guard down just yet; there are more drops to come, holes to avoid or to play in. Finally, just after Slesse Creek enters from the left is the take-out. You will face a new challenge here: dodging the lines of eager fishermen.