Accessibility

Accessible Tourism

Our hope is that everyone enjoys the Harrison River Valley, both able-bodied people and those with diverse abilities or physical impairments.  Our goal is accessibility to all. One step at a time. One day at a time.

The Harrison River Valley has a great variety of wheelchair-accessible hotels, cottages, and campgrounds. There are also many accessible restaurants, stores, and attractions. When reserving an accommodation check the Harrison River Valley Visitor Guide and look for the wheelchair symbol.

A stroll along the Esplanade Walkway in Harrison Hot Springs is a favourite way to spend a day. Start in Rendall Park, located on the waterfront on the east side of the village. This is a beautiful and easy walk through the shady trees which offer plenty of benches for resting and snack stops. The pathway through this park consists of hard-packed gravel, but continuing west past the boat launch it is completely paved. As with most of our favourite pathways, this runs parallel to the lake and the views will not disappoint! On-leashed dogs are welcome to join you.

The paved walkway along the Esplanade path offers 5 wheelchair-accessible entry and exit points, located at the Harrison ResortHarrison Lake PlazaMaple StreetChehalis Street, and the Boat Launch. The walkway is blanketed by grass on the lake side offering several cement picnic tables where you can stop to enjoy Harrisons stunning lake views. Why not stop for a game of chess at the oversized chess board and challenge each other to a game, or continue along to the children’s playground and beach washrooms. There are several beach accesses along the lakefront, giving water accessibility using Mobi-Mats which provide firm traction for wheelchairs and mobility aids.  Mobi-mats allow you to get much closer to the water’s edge.

Continuing westward the paved pathway ends in front of the Harrison Resort Hotel and from there turns to a hard-packed gravel path leading you to Qwóltz Park and the Source. Harrison’s Hot Springs or Qwólts, the Halq’eméylem word meaning boiling water, were first used as a healing place by the Sts’ailes people. Take a moment to learn more about the local indigenous history through the interpretive signage on display at Qwólts Park.  

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Whether you have accessibility needs or not, the Harrison River Valley is home to many well-maintained, flat, and smooth pathways for people of all abilities to enjoy.

Back in the Village of Harrison Hot Springs search for the elusive Sasquatch at the fully accessible Sasquatch Museum. A trip to the Harrison River Valley isn’t complete without a glimpse of the bipedal mammal. Take a selfie with the large and hairy human-like mythical creature then explore all things Sasquatch as the museum leads you through compelling artifacts, history, witness accounts, science, lore, and myths. Be sure to check out the Sasquatch Gift Shop where you will find Sasquatch Stuffies, books, water bottles, toys, t-shirts, and all kinds of gift ideas for believers and skeptics alike!

Looking for visitor information for the area? The Visitor Centre can assist those with hearing loss through their loop listener hearing device which eliminates unwanted background noise making it easier to comprehend when talking to one of their amazing team members!

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As the recognition of the need for accessibility and inclusivity strengthens, tourism partners are responding with a variety of activities and experiences that suit a wide range of needs and abilities. Whether you have a disability or illness, or simply prefer a more relaxed pace, accessible and inclusive tourism activities can make your next adventure both enjoyable and memorable.

Here are a few of our favourite accessible offerings in the Harrison River Valley:

Adaptive Airtime Paragliding is a Canadian non-profit organization dedicated to breaking down barriers and making the experience of free flight accessible to everyone. Their mission is to provide the experience of paragliding to those facing adversity, welcoming people with spinal cord and brain injuries, as well as all forms of mobility limitations and special needs. From youngsters to the elderly, they will take anyone soaring who dreams of flying.

Agassiz Speedway: This non-profit society is dedicated to supporting and furthering the sport of stock car racing in the Fraser Valley.  They are wheelchair accessible and have seating for 1000 people in the grandstand.  

BC Sportfishing Group – This company focuses on accessibility through the use of accessible boats and trained guides making it easy to gain access to the wildlife and outdoors. Their accessible boats are equipped with adaptive reels including a specialized glove and a sip and puff adapter, to reel in a magnificent sturgeon. Harrison River Valley, the land of the Sasquatch, might just treat you to a legendary encounter! Keep your eyes peeled for the elusive creature doing its best hide-and-seek impression with the local wildlife. Enjoy the unsurpassed natural beauty of the river and if you time it right, you may catch the famous Harrison sunset as it slowly sinks behind the rippling water and Mt. Breckenridge. A sight you don’t want to miss!

Canwest Art Gallery – is accessed via a ramp beside the Harrison Beach Hotel in the Village of Harrison Hot Springs.  This Art Gallery has earned a solid reputation for featuring the works of dozens of Canadian artisans through paintings, sculptures, pottery, glass creations, and jewelry.

Cheam Lake Wetlands Regional Park – Located a short drive from Harrison Hot Springs and Agassiz, Cheam Wetlands is a 107-hectare park featuring a lake, marsh, and forest. With 2 km of easy walking trails, viewing areas, and benches, it is popular for walking, picnicking, and bird watching and is home to many insect, mammal, and bird species.  A floating boardwalk leads to a viewing platform and a second wheelchair-accessible viewing platform is located close to the parking lot.

Harrison Hot Wheels – A variety of self-propelled vehicles from family-friendly quadricycles to wheelchairs and strollers are available for rent. (Open seasonally)

Harrison Lavender – This small yet mighty lavender farm is an unbeatable photo spot. Enjoy a stroll through the lavender fields with a stop at their beautiful timber-framed barn storefront. Harrison Lavender is dedicated to offering nontoxic lavender products for the home, body, mind, and soul.

Homestead Craft Cider – A gravel driveway leads you to lush orchards and incredible mountain backdrops. Relax and enjoy a crisp, delicious cider on their outdoor grass patio or stop in at their beautiful barn storefront to purchase a bottle to go. (Open seasonally)

Kilby Historic Site – Entering the doors of Kilby you will be greeted by interpreters in period costume from the early 1900s as you experience the sites General Store Museum, Post Office, and Manchester House Hotel Museum. Kilby is wheelchair accessible with the exception of the Manchester House Hotel. To preserve the historic integrity there are stairs leading to the museums hotel portion of the site. The hotel is located above the General Store and is the only location where wheelchairs are not able to go. The pathways around the working farm allow all visitors interaction with the friendly farm animals. Don’t forget a stop at their cafe for a piece of Kilby’s famous farm-fresh fruit pies or take one home to enjoy later!

Killers Cove Boat Rentals – Kayaking or canoeing is the perfect way to explore the Harrison River for people with lower-body physical impairments. Tandem kayaks are also available.

Sasquatch Mountain ResortThe mountain has three adaptive certified instructors offering one-on-one Adaptive Lessons helping skiers and snowboarders with physical and/or cognitive disabilities. (Open seasonally)

Ya Doma Forest Therapy – Experience guided forest therapy to feel the calming presence of natural environments with the support of a guide safely facilitating and encouraging everyone’s journey in the moment, without pressure or expectations.

If you happen to visit the Harrison River Valley in the fall you timed it right for an avian extravaganza!

From mid-October to January the Harrison River Valley celebrates the Season of the Wild. The Season of the Wild tells the story of the salmon, sturgeon, and 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 begins mid-October, with prime viewing October through early November. This event, along with the cooler temperatures in the North, contributes to the large gathering of bald eagles seen here October – January; with peak eagle viewing in November. 

View bald eagles by the hundreds perched in the trees and along the shoreline, gathered on the shore feeding on salmon, or often soaring above the boat. In October and early November, salmon are often spotted splashing and jumping throughout your journey down the river. Above water, you are surrounded by fantastic scenery and bird life, while below water witness the various species of salmon mingling as they select their mates for the upcoming spawn.  Be sure to bring your binoculars!  For accessibility, the best viewing is with an accessible boat with BC Sportfishing Group.

To entertain the little ones there are several accessible and inclusive playgrounds in the Harrison River Valley. A few to note:

  • Harrison Elementary School, 501 Hot Springs Road, Harrison Hot Springs – features several musical items, including pipes and drums!
  • Kent Elementary School, 7285 McCullough Rd, Agassiz – features a Saddle Spinner!
  • Pioneer Park in Agassiz, 7167 Pioneer Ave, Agassiz – features an oodle swing and trail tracker!

Some of our favourite accessible camping spots include:

  • Pathfinder Camp Resorts – located in Agassiz, a short drive from Harrison Lake. Surrounded by wide-open greenspaces, a stay here includes free wifi, a children’s playground, a swimming pool (seasonal), and horseshoe pits. RV or stay in a cabin. Enquire about their pet-friendly and wheelchair-accessible cabin options.
  • Sasquatch Provincial Park – Hicks Lake and Bench Campgrounds – offer vehicle-accessible sites. Campsites offer compacted gravel and dirt, both in the campground and on the access routes. Sites include picnic tables, most with accessible overhangs, and standard fire pits with cooking grids.

Resources:

Discount Mediquip lends out wheelchairs, scooters, walkers and a range of other products from their Chilliwack location.

Accessible Vehicle Rental/Transportation – Enterprise Car Rental located in nearby Chilliwack is committed to providing a range of Adaptive Driving Devices for customers with disabilities. Adaptive Driving Devices include hand controls, left-foot accelerators, spinner knobs, and pedal extenders. Devices are available at no additional charge with advance booking.

BC Transits handyDART goal is to ensure all commuters can ride the bus, regardless of their accessibility needs. Fixed-route buses have lifts or low floors to help passengers get on and off. Benches at the front can be raised, allowing mobility aids to strap in. When you get on the bus, please inform the driver of your needs.

University of the Fraser Valley Disability Program – UFV’s Workplace TASK is an eight-month program offering training in Attitudes, Skills, and Knowledge for the workplace.

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