Mount Slesse Memorial trail is located in Chilliwack and is almost 2 hours drive from Vancouver. This hike is famous for the crash ruins, large & steep local reliefs, and huge mountain face drops that were discovered almost 5 months after the disappearance of Trans Canada Airlines Flight 810.
Slesse Memorial Hike Summary
- Rating: Hard
- Round trip distance: 13.7 km
- Elevation Gain: 3250 feet
- Time Needed: 6-7 hours
- Type: Out & back
- Season: July to September
Slesse Memorial Trail Guide
Slesse Memorial Trailhead & Parking
There is a 6 KM offroad drive to the trailhead. The offroad drive takes around 20-30 minutes. In a few places, the road is wide enough only for only one vehicle. So, if there is a vehicle coming from the opposite side, one of those will have to reverse until you find a spot wide enough for two vehicles. There is enough parking spot at the trailhead for around 15-20 vehicles.
Trailhead to Bridge
The trail is well-marked throughout. Also, take the right trail from the trailhead and keep following the markers. The trail takes a left after 200 meters. After that, the trial is pretty straightforward to understand. The initial 1.3Km of the trail is easy till the bridge with minimal elevation gain.
Bridge to Slesse Commemorative site
The hike gets a bit steeper with a gradual incline after the bridge for the next 3.7 KM or till 5.1 Km from the trailhead. The trail is overgrown, thick, green, and gets muddy at a few points. But it offers a lot of good viewpoints throughout the hike on a clear day. The Slesse commemorative site comes after 4.3Km from the trailhead. At this site, you will read about the airplane crash. The trail takes a left from this site
Slesse Plane Crash
On December 9, 1956, Trans Canada Airlines Flight 810 disappeared while on a flight from Vancouver to Calgary. It was not until five months later that climbers found the crash site near the summit of the third peak of Mount Slesse. The destruction of the aircraft was absolute and due to the real danger of avalanches, the area was deemed to be unsafe.
Subsequent efforts to remove any bodies are personal effects were abandoned with the belief that a “cemetery in perpetuity” would be created on this remote and inaccessible site. This was not done and the crash site was left unprotected for over thirty-eight years.
On May 29th, 1995, after an extensive investigation and with the consultation of the families of Slesse, the government of British Columbia enacted legislation to correct this oversight and created the mount Slesse commemorative site in memory of sixty-two passengers and crew.
This designation prohibits all intrusive uses such as mining, logging, and recreational development within the 582-hectare reserve. The debris from the aircraft is now protected by statute under the Heritage Conservation Act and any damage, desecration, or removal of materials from the site is an offense.
Last 1.5 Km & Plane Propeller Cairn
The last 1.5KM is the steepest part of the trail with multiple viewpoints. And then you reach the famous propeller cairn. There is no trail beyond but if you continue ahead in the mountain, you will get the chance to explore snow caves as well.