Church Mountain Canada
Going To Church
There are two Church Mountains, one in Canada and one in the United States, just as there are two Sumas and Vedder Mountains each just across the border from each other.
I have hiked up both of them and they are both great hikes especially the one in the States during fall time.
It is covered in many Fall colours.
To get to the one in Canada is the same approach coming from Cultus Lake to take the Liumchen Creek FSR to the Internation Ridge Trail except you go past it to get to Church Mountain Trail.
Turn off Highway 1 at the Chilliwack ramp and go south into Sardis and stay on Vedder Road and continue over the Vedder Bridge. Right after the bridge turn left onto Cultus Lake Road and turn left off it onto Sleepy Hollow Road and then right onto Vance Road. It becomes a gravel road which is the Liumchen Creek FSR. Next there will be a metal fence with warning signs all along it to keep out which is ASU Chilliwack Millitary Base or called OPSEE.
Stay on the FSR and cross over the Liumchen Creek bridge and the next road that comes in from the right is the road to take to start up Church Mountain.
The road is steep and could only be walked up because it had many minor washouts but I have heard it is drivable now with a 4X4.
Hiking up the Church FSR.
Finally is started to level out and came to this fork and I decided not to take it thinking it was the wrong way.
Turns out it was the right way and I did not take it and stayed left instead going the wrong way.
It was more level now.
It was totally clouded in over the Chilliwack River Valley and no views at all except faint ghostly outlines.
Then I got to a level where I felt like I was in a sandwich with clouds below and above me and a open window showing neighbouring mountain tops.
Then I realized I was on the same road as the one in the pictures above which I thought was a different road across a valley. The road goes in a large horseshoe well following the mountain contour at this level.
Came to another fork and went right on this one.
This road switched back toward where I had come and I could see the other road I passed.
Then the short road I was on turned toward the opposite direction and deteriated into a skid road ending at a landing with more skid roads to continue on.
When the skid road ended it looked like there was some markings ahead so I went in that direction.
That turned into a small bushy ridge.
Which then turned into some bigger trees where I found a nice looking fungi and put it on top on this stump.
Soon I came out from the clump of trees and got on some old logging road and followed it.
It was quite foggy and I had no idea where this road was taking me.
The clouds split again and there were views coming and going of Elk/Thurston/Mercer, Cheam Range of mountains and beyond.
The clouds started to close in and showed one of the very few blue spots I had seen so far that day and as I came around a bend a window opened up and Mount McGuire appeared in front of me.
The road contnued to turn into another horseshoe shaped valley and as I continued I could seen through the cloudy patches views up Tamihi Valley.
I followed the old deteriated road around a corner and this valley was a lot smaller than the one I was in previously that was a huge horseshoe and I realized I was looking at Church Mountain's summit.
Panorama of the small valley.
This was a more like a bowl and the best place to ascend out of this bowl looked like it would be at the far end so that is where I went.
Looking back at where I came from.
View down at the end of this small valley.
Where I am heading to next.
One last look back and around the valley and up I start scrambling.
Some neat views well ascending up out of the valley bowl.
I also saw the road I was on switch backing up the hill beside me but it zig-zagged to much and going straight up the rim was faster.
Finally climbed out of the valley and noticed that in the Chilliwack Valley the cloud cover was still two layers but above me the clouds were breaking up.
Zooming in to the Elk, Thurston and Mercer mountain ridge between the clouds.
I ended up in a beautiful meadow when I came out of the bowl and started heading through it toward the Church summit.
On the way to Church summit.
The Cheam Mountain Range is showing up behind the Elk/Thurston/Mercer Mountain ridge and the Slesse Mountain Range is visible behind Five Mile Ridge that joins Mount McGuire and Spencer Peak.
When I was almost there I looked back and seen this huge bald peak that looked higher and never have been here before I thought it was the actual Church summit and since time was getting on headed back toward it instead.
Later I found out that this round bald peak is actually called Old Baldy and that I turned back just before reaching the actual Church Summit. There is one other named subpeak which I passed well following the correct trail out called Windy Knob.
Well heading back I got a better look at the road I was originally on and if I would have stayed on it, it would have taken me to Windy Knob.
Looking back from where I came well ascending Old Baldy.
Panaramas looking back at the scenery toward Church Mountain Summit and upper Tamihi Valley.
I scrambled up out of the valley left of the large open meadow and got to the top of the open green area on the side on the small bump before the summit peak when I turned back.
From the top of Old Baldy looking west where the two creek branches and valleys form Liumchen Creek Valley and the farthest bumps in the clouds is where the International Ridge Trail and Mount Amadis are with Columbia Valley and Cultus Lake on the other side of them.
Normal and zoomed in picture of Liumchen Lake.
Liumchen Mountain, the summit is right on the Canadian and United States Border line.
Some random pictures and the cairn on Old Baldy.
Hard to tell from Old Baldy if it is higher than Church Mountain Summit without a GPS but I think it is.
The medallion by the cairn on Old Baldy.
Getting dark and time to leave.
I could see a trail going down Old Baldy into the trees so I took it and in a short distance it met another trail that I found out goes to Liumchen Lake.
So if you are coming from the parking lot going left up the hill behind the tree with the ribbon will go to Old Baldy but staying right will go to Liumchen Lake.
The trail forks again and this fork goes up the hill to Windy Knob.
So again if coming from the parking lot the first left fork goes to Windy Knob. The second left fork goes to Old Baldy and is most likely the best route to Church Summit and going straight takes you to Liumchen Lake.
The trail comes old of the trees and spits but both go in the same direction and destination.
The Weather Station just above the parking area and getting dark now.
I walked the correct road system in the dark and rain with no headlamp and got back down to my vehicle quite late at night but it was a fun trip so I tried to go back.
This time it was with other guys and when we tried to get on the Liumchen Creek FSR from Cultus Lake there was a gate across it. We had to drive up the Chilliwack River to the bridge that crosses the river at the Tamihi Campground and then drive all the way back toward Cultus Lake on that side of the river.
Passing Tamihi Creek on the way to the Church FSR heading west.
Even though we had a 4X4 the owner did not want to drive it to hard so we did not get far before he parked it.
Last time I came I went almost completely around this horseshoe and followed a series of old logging roads and skid trails up the low ridge above the road across this valley lower left edge in the picture below.
The Border Peaks can be seen in the distance between Mount McGuire left and the rock bluff right. Canadin Border peak is left and American Border Peak is right and the border crossing between them.
Looking across the Chilliwack Valley at the Elk/Thurston/Mercer Mountain ridge with the snow capped Cheam Mountain Range behind.
View of the Fraser Valley by Chilliwack.
Above a trailer park by the Chilliwack River.
Going up the correct branch of the logging road toward the Church Mountain parking lot.
Windy Knob and the parking lot some where behind the low hill in front of me.
Finally at the parking lot.
Up the trail we go.
It was getting late and with the unexpected way out of the way detour because of the gate and walking much more than expected because the owner of the four wheel drive was worried about damaging it we decided to take some pictures and head back.
A look at Chilliwack Valley with the magnificent mountains surrounding it.
Below is a panarama picture of mountains and peaks I will try to name.
Starting on the right side of the pano is Mount McGuire and left of it is Mount Pierce and then left in the distance center are mountains way to far to recognize and going left to the next prominent one is guessing way out on a limb here but I think it is Silvertip Mountain and company. Then left of it looks like it could be Mount Payne and those mountains are very far away in the Skagit Valley.
The next left mountain that is much closer with the dark pointed peak is Williams Peak and it is part of the Chilliwack Valley and left of it is Goetz Peak and then Mount Northgraves.
Then on the left side of the pano is Foley Peak and farthest left is Welch Peak.
Heading back now and a picture of the parking lot.
Thankful of a good trip and saying a little prayer at Church Mountain.
On the map below the broken blue line is the road system.
The broken pink line is the way I went the first time.
The broken red line is the correct route I took back and came up the second time.
The road is supposed to be drivable now in a four wheel drive and the gate is open.
I still have to go back and complete ascending the other peaks as well as Liumchen Mountain Summit and maybe camp and fish at Liumchen Lake.