South Langley Regional Trail a hidden gem

I'm somewhat reluctant to write about it, because it is so unique and lightly-used.

I am almost hesitant to write this column, because I’m not sure I want to give away too much information about one of Langley’s hidden treasures.

The South Langley Regional Trail, which will hopefully one day link Campbell Valley and Aldergrove Lake regional parks, is a hidden jewel that very few people have encountered. I’ve worked at this newspaper for 15 years, and have heard about it occasionally over the years. We have published a number of stories about it, and it is currently under expansion at its east end, west of 264 Street.

However, I had never actually explored it until this summer. We have been doing a lot of cycling in rural Langley in the past few months, partly due to the wonderful weather, and one place we wanted to look at was this trail.

It is a multi-use trail, for horses and their riders, cyclists and pedestrians. No motorized vehicles are permitted on the trail portion (some of the trail goes along quiet rural roads).

In three visits to the trail, we have yet to come face-to-face with a horse and rider. We saw one at a distance. My daughter used to have horses, and loved trail rides, and this trail is a wonderful place for horses. There are so few people using it, and it is so tranquil that it would make for a wonderful ride.

The Backcountry Horsemen of B.C. Aldergrove chapter have been big boosters of this trail, and have done a lot of work to make it happen, and they deserve our thanks.

The trail begins at 216 Street and 3 Avenue, where it leaves Campbell Valley Park. It winds east along the street and then goes across country on a path to 4 Avenue, west of 224 Street. A short portion along 224 Street takes it to a major trailhead, with washrooms, parking and a brand-new picnic area. There it heads east into a magnificent stand of mature trees, and continues along a good trail all the way to 232 Street. One portion branches off into a loop trail in another forest, which is ideal for cyclists and equestrians.

From 232 Street east, it winds along roads (232 Street, 6 Avenue, Murchie Lane, and 8 Avenue) until once again going back onto a trail on an unused road allowance east of 240 Street. It stays on that to 248 Street, then follows 8 Avenue east to just past 256 Street, where the trail resumes. That portion is still under construction and, for now, comes to a dead end.

We took my parents there for a stroll on Saturday. Both love the outdoors, but aren’t able to walk as far as they once did. Nonetheless, by using their walkers, they were able to travel for almost two kilometres — which was very impressive. My dad, who worked as a logger as a young man, thoroughly enjoyed the mature trees in the forest east of 224 Street, and was able to identify virtually every one of them.

My mom, who has long enjoyed painting, found the bright colours and dappled sunlight very interesting, and commented on the effect as we were walking. She also was the wildlife spotter, noticing a small garter snake cross the trail.

In an hour or so on the trail, on a glorious afternoon, we saw two other people.

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