Whytecliff Park, West Vancouver

(Alex Strohl photo)

Vancouver, Coast & Mountains

Mighty Fraser Country

Fraser Country communities include: Langley, Abbotsford, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Mission, Chilliwack, Harrison Hot Springs & District of Kent, Hope & Manning Park, Fraser Canyon & Lytton.

Mighty Fraser Country is essentially two distinct geographical landscapes, bounded by Langley in the south and following the Fraser River north to Lytton. South of Lillooet, the Fraser River has eroded a deep canyon that extends all the way to Hope, with steep sides soaring up to 600m above the water.

By the time the river enters the Fraser Valley, the scenery changes dramatically. Lush green fields, rolling hills and endless forests replace rocky, sheer cliffs. Prosperous farm communities provide an escape to award-winning wineries, heritage pioneer sites and authentic First Nations tours.

The Fraser River

You only have to stand in the foaming thunder of Hell's Gate through which the Fraser River roars at 200 million gallons a minute (760 million litres) to realise that nature is actually very much in charge and that mighty is exactly the right word to describe her power.

The Fraser is the heart of one of the world's greatest salmon producing river systems. And the country it traverses is simply magnificent. In fact, the river actually shaped much of Fraser country. Over thousands of years, it carved a spectacular canyon through the Coast Mountains, a broad, lush valley with some of Canada's most fertile farmland, and a vast delta and wetlands.

Activities in the Mighty Fraser Country

Almost 150 years ago, thousands of prospectors streamed through the valley lured by gold strikes to the north. Today, there are new prospectors. Some are outdoor-loving visitors from near and far, lured by Mighty Fraser Country's broad coastal forests, streams and lakes, and ski hills and trails. Hikers, rafters, paddlers, canoeists, campers, boaters, rock hounds and aerial sports enthusiasts have struck gold here. Other people seek a taste of country peace and quiet. Picking berries, bird watching, fishing pristine streams, riding horses, taking in a farm or festival, or soaking away the cares of the world in hot springs.

For a sense of the area's history, visit Fort Langley National Historic Site, established by the by the Hudson's Bay Company as a trading post in 1827. Or head to Mission, where the Catholic mission that gave the city its name was founded in 1861.

Cultural quirks include a fantastical metal horse named "The Beast" in Maple Ridge, and a series of wood carvings at Hope, earning it the nickname: "Chainsaw Capital of the World".

Nearby Harrison Hot Springs offers mineral-rich warm waters to dip into for a relaxing and healing experience. Meanwhile, the Cultus Lake Waterpark offers watery fun of a different kind, with several hair-raising rides.

Make the most of the area's bountiful fresh fruit and vegetables, and take a farm tour around Chilliwack, Langley and Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge. Catch a rodeo too if you're lucky.