Explore the Season of the Wild in the Harrison River Valley.
The Season of the Wild is a tribute to its predecessor the Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival. The Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival promoted and practiced safe bald eagle viewing for 25+ years. While the Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival is no longer operating, their hard work and spirit lives on as we begin to bring back this event as a month long self-guided experience.
The Season of the Wild tells the story of the salmon, sturgeon, and the eagles here in the Harrison River Valley. Every year, the salmon swim up the Harrison River and come to rest in our tributaries to lay their eggs. The spawning season typically begins mid October, with prime viewing October through early November. This event, along the cooling temperatures in the North, contribute to the large gathering of the Bald Eagles seen here in October – January; with the peak eagle viewing in November.
Here’s what you need to know before discovering the Season of the Wild.
PROTECT THE WILD
Conservation and Preservation
Due to the amazing phenomena that is the migration of the salmon and the bald eagles to this area, this is a highly sensitive habitat. Respect the wild when participating in wildlife viewing. From October- February we must remains off the Chehalis Flats.
What are the Chehalis Flats (Lhá:lt)?
The Chehalis Flats or Lhá:lt are the resting grounds for the migrating eagles and spawning salmon.
Stay Off the Flats.
As mentioned, this is a highly sensitive habitat. Kayaking and walking through the flats disturbs the resting eagles, and is a danger to salmon eggs and eagles in the area. Stay off the flats from October through February.
How to Safely View the Eagles
There are a number of trails to safely view the eagles and spawning salmon. See our guided and self-guided excursions and itineraries.
GUIDE COMING SOON
WEAVER CREEK HATCHERY
Weaver Creek Spawning Channel is CLOSED for 2021. To view the spawning salmon, we recommend walking the Eagle Interpretive Trail at the Sandpiper Resort.
KNOW THE WILD
The Harrison River Valley is a region of endless rivers, streams, and lakes along with the prolific wildlife. Our mighty Fraser and Harrison Rivers are the main artery of millions of migrating salmon that pass through on the way to the spawning grounds. This river is home of the long-lived white sturgeon, the largest freshwater fish in North America. These monster fish grow to over one thousand pounds and can live up to 200 years. They are considered to be one of the most spectacular freshwater sports fish, having the reputation for their size, strength, and impressive jumps.
On the shores of Harrison Lake you have easy boat access to the pristine Harrison River, the first designated Salmon Stronghold in Canada. A “Salmon Stronghold” means that all 5 species of salmon live and spawn in our waterways.
EXPERIENCE THE WILD
Trip Length: 3-4 days
Day 1: Arrive in Harrison Hot Springs in the early afternoon. While many of the accommodations have a 4pm check-in, you can use the early afternoon to get to know our Village. Stop into our Visitor Centre for information about our area. Grab dinner to-go from one of our many restaurants, and head up to Green Point for a picnic dinner and a sunset bird watch. Depending on the time of year, you can see turkey vultures, eagles, and Canadian geese to name just a few.
Day 2: Explore by Land. Start your day with breakfast at one of our local restaurants, then take a light stroll to the Hot Springs Source and around the lakeside promenade a to take in our local sights and wildlife. On this stroll, you will likely spot our resident Canadian geese, stellar jays, gulls and other shorebirds. The Miami River, running through the Village of Harrison Hot Springs, offers opportunities to see a wide variety of waterfowl, including shorebirds, great blue heron, and Canadian geese. After you have experienced the slow, laid back Village feel of Harrison Hot Springs, take in our wildlife through different landscapes by exploring either one of our local trails or by making your way to Kilby Provincial Park, in Harrison Mills. In the Fall, eagles flock to Harrison Mills by the thousands. Dine at the Clubhouse at the Sandpiper Resort before heading back to Harrison Hot Springs for the night.
Day 3: Explore by Water. After you have enjoyed breakfast at one of our local restaurants, head down to the Resort Dock, to take to the water. There are two ways to enjoy our birds and wildlife by water – by motorized boat (Shoreline Tours and Harrison Eco Tours) or by paddling (Harrison Eco Tours) and (Killer’s Cove Rentals). Harrison Eco Tours and self-guided paddling excursions can both lead you up the Harrison River where you can see eagles, gulls, freshwater seals, and minks; you might even witness an angler reeling in a mammoth sturgeon! The Harrison River is the first designated salmon stronghold, and because of that sees a wide variety of wildlife. Shoreline Tours offers a scenic lake cruise that will take you up to Cascade Bay and Rainbow Falls. After dinner, you may either head home or spend one more relaxing night in Harrison Hot Springs.
Chehalis Estuary – The Chehalis Estuary is located just outside of Harrison Mills, in Sts’Ailes. This estuary is the breeding ground for species of salmon including coho and chum. This area was designated an Important Bird Area due to the large volumes of bald eagles and trumpeter swans found here. The bald eagle sightings in this area are particularly impressive when they gather in the fall.
Cheam Wetlands – Located a short drive from Agassiz, Cheam Wetlands boasts a 2 km trail, 2 wildlife viewing platforms, and an abundance of bird species including various types of shorebirds. One of the viewing platforms at Cheam Wetlands is wheelchair accessible.
Great Blue Heron Reserve – Located in Chilliwack, this reserve features over 150 nests, and is home to one of the largest colonies of herons in the lower mainland. The Interpretive Centre is open seasonally; please check the website for hours of operation. We highly recommend the Great Heron Reserve as a stop on your way to or from Harrison.
DISCOVER THE WILD
Explore the self-guided Season of the Wild and participate in our various events and happenings throughout the Season.