west blind

The Great Blue Heron is one of the most distinctive North American birds. However, the Pacific Great Blue Herons do not migrate and depend entirely on wetland habitat in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island for their survival.  The Pacific Great Blue Heron is a Species at Risk and requires our significant conservation efforts to ensure the long-term viability of its population.

It is fitting that the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve takes its name from this bird, since the south-western portion of the Reserve is home to one of the largest heron nesting colonies in the Lower Mainland.  With over 150 nests, the colony is active from March through July of each year.

The Rotary Interpretive Centre was funded and constructed by Rotary Club of Chilliwack and is managed by the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve Society. Volunteers operate the interpretive centre all year ’round. Experienced staff provide interpretive programs for school groups and other interested parties.

Parts of the  Heron Colony Loop Trail and the Discovery Trail are GATED AND LOCKED from late February to mid July to protect the foraging, feeding and nesting areas of the Pacific Great Blue Heron.  Please note the location of these areas on the maps.

For more information, phone 604-823-6603, or email HERONS

Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve Trails Map

Site Photo map May 2015

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Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve Kiosk Map

Kiosk Map May 2015

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Trail Notices

To respect the natural ecosystems within the GBHNR, cyclists, horses, and dog walkers need stay on the main Center Trail only please. All other trails inside the GBHNR are pedestrian only.

All our trails are maintained for nature, flat, and either covered with gravel or woodchips.  Some trails may have boardwalks as well.

Heron Colony Viewing (Late February – Mid July): Located after a ten minute walk west on the Vedder North Dyke Trail.

Vedder Rotary Trail East Loop (3.6km ~ 1 hour): Head south over the Centre Trail bridge, past the observation tower and continue down the trail through the large gates.  Turn left and go over a bridge.  The trail takes you under the rail bridge, through the woods, and along the Vedder River.  At the end of the forest trail you will see a yellow gate.  You can backtrack along the river or you can continue on the loop by going through the parking area and west (left) for 1km along the dyke back to the Rotary Interpretive Centre.

Vedder Rotary Trail West Loop (3.6km ~ 1 hour): Head south over the Centre Trail bridge, past the observation tower and continue down the trail through the large gates.  Turn right and then after a short walk, crass the bridge on your left (Don’t take the right hand trail over the dam and fish ladder as this takes you on the Heron Colony Loop Trail).  The trail wanders parallel to the river, across bridges, and through an old gravel pit.  Once back up onto the dyke, go right (east) along the dyke and watch for the heron colony up in the mature cottonwood trees.  Stay on the dyke as it curves around and you will soon see the Rotary Interpretive Centre.

Center Trail (0.5km ~ 15 minutes): This trail travels through the centre of the Heron Reserve and connects the Vedder North Dyke Trail and the Vedder Rotary Trail.  Enjoy the benches overlooking the South Lagoon or observe the wildlife through the bird blind or the viewing tower located on the trail.  The trail connects with the Tower Trail and Heron Colony Loop Trail. This is the ONLY TRAIL on the site on which dogs on leash, bicycles, or horses are permitted in order to allow access to the dyke and river trails.

Heron Colony Loop Trail (1.2km ~ 40 minutes):   This trail circles the South Lagoon.  At the west blind you can observe herons, ducks, turtles, and song birds around the pond.  From March to July part of this loop is closed to protect the herons’ nesting site.  Check out the side trails like the new Discovery Trail (off the Heron Colony Loop Trail) which is open to the viewing wall and closed after that point, or sit for a bit on one of the benches for a relaxing view of the lagoon.

Tower Trail (0.7km ~ 15 minutes): This short loop trail travels through the forest and across the marsh.  The portion of the trail heading south from the tower is surfaced with gravel which changes to bark mulch as it loops back to join the centre trail near the south gates.  The southern part of the trail is seasonal and may be wet in the winter.

Salwein Creek Trail (0.5 ~ 20 minutes): This short trail goes along the North Lagoon.  At the fork in the trail, take the right path over the bridge.  At the next fork you can go right for a very short trail to a bird blind where you can watch for birds and maybe even see a beaver or mink.  On your way back, go right as the trail loops around and rejoins the main trail.