The Harrison River Valley Bird Trail
Trip Length: 3-4 days
The Harrison River Valley is a birders paradise located in one of the province’s richest birding regions. More than 200 distinct species make their journey along the Pacific Flyaway to perch on local forest canopies and swim across our wetlands, lakes, and streams.
Enjoy beautiful strolls watching waterbirds, owls, woodpeckers, songbirds and bald eagles flying overhead or feasting on salmon.
The Harrison River Valley offers various accommodations including hotels, motels, B&Bs, cabins, and campgrounds!
Arrive in the early afternoon and pop into the Harrison Hot Springs Visitor Information Centre to gather information on birding in the Harrison River Valley. Afterward, head up to Green Point – depending on the time of year, you can see Turkey Vultures, Eagles, and Canadian Geese to name just a few.
For dinner tantalize the tastebuds in one of Harrison River Valley’s amazing restaurants. The folks in our area are passionate about their restaurants where you will find something for every palette. From friendly open atmospheres to romantic fireside dining, our selection of dining makes choosing easy. After dinner don’t forget to check out the famous Harrison sunset as it slowly sinks behind the rippling water and Mt. Breckenridge. A sight you don’t want to miss!
Day 2: Explore by Land
Awaken to our refreshing mountain air and head into town for a hand-crafted warm beverage and breakfast using fresh ingredients sourced from the surrounding farms. Many restaurants share a similar food philosophy of serving homemade and local ingredients sourced from nearby farms. So much to choose from…. home-baked bread, baked goods, smoked salmon lox, omelets with garden-fresh herbs, and specialty pancakes….to name just a few.
After breakfast, in Harrison Hot Springs stroll along the lakeside promenade taking in the 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 Herons, and Canadian Geese.
A stroll along the Miami River Greenway is a great example of the beautification and enhancement of the Miami River Streamkeepers revitalization program showcasing an ecosystem for the well-being of the wildlife and plant life that exists within its waterways, riparian areas, and the surrounding woodlands. The Greenway is home to documented sightings including the Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Double-crested Cormorant, and the Pacific Loon to name a few.
After an afternoon experiencing the small-town atmosphere of the Village of Harrison Hot Springs, take in our wildlife through different landscapes by exploring one of our local trails or by making your way to Kilby Provincial Park, in Harrison Mills.
Day 3: Explore by Water
Shoreline Tours offers a seasonal 3-hour Wildlife River Cruise down the spectacular Harrison River where majestic eagles watch from above. Along the shoreline trees are home to Stellar Jays, Gulls, and other shorebirds.
Harrison Eco Tours offers guided kayak tours where you will paddle into the mouth of the Harrison River. Bask in the scenery and wildlife viewing opportunities.
Killer’s Cove Boat Rentals offers power boats, kayaks, and canoes for rent.
Alternatively, a self-guided paddling excursion up the Harrison River offers a view of 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.
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.
Day 4: More to explore a little further afield….
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. The 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 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. To date, 184 different bird species have been recorded in the park, including wood ducks, northern pintails, swallows, yellow warblers, owls, and osprey. A floating boardwalk leading to a viewing platform and a second wheelchair-accessible viewing platform are located close to the parking lot.
Lhá:lt/Harrison-Chehalis Wildlife Management Area – This 1,033-hectare area’s mandate is conserving ecologically productive wetlands that support critical wintering, migration, and breeding habitats for salmon, trout, raptors, aquatic birds, amphibians, mammals, and other wildlife. The area also supports an internationally significant number of Bald Eagles and Trumpeter Swans.
Great Blue Heron Reserve – Located a short drive from the Harrison River Valley, this Chilliwack 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 so be sure to check the website for hours of operation. We highly recommend the Great Heron Reserve as a stop on your way to or from the Harrison River Valley.