Derby Reach Regional Park

Quick Facts:

  • AllTrails link: Derby Reach Regional Park, 9.2km with 70m elevation gain
  • Difficulty: easy, doable with a stroller but the Houston Trail has some steep hills
  • Traffic: heavy on Edge Farm Trail, light to moderate on Houston Trail
  • Facilities: pit toilets, sheltered picnic area, picnic tables, grassy field, water access to Fraser River
  • View: Edge Farm Trail offers views of the Fraser River, and Houston Trail loops through a rain forest with some rolling hills
  • Overall score: Houston Trail 8/10, Edge Farm Trail 5/10

Derby Reach Regional Park is a popular riverside park in Langley. Most of the visitors stay around the Edgewater Bar, picnicking and relaxing on the green field. That’s where we started our hike today.

Somewhat surprisingly, only pit toilets and porta potties (probably added after the popularity outgrew the expectation) are available at this popular park.

Toilets at Edgewater Bar.

The water in the Lower Fraser River was muddy, carrying lots of silt. As I stood near the river contemplating a paddle here, a tug boat with a large container zoomed past, creating large wakes in the river that’s under 500m wide. If I was feeling cavalier about riding the water rodeo, I think I would have been taken by surprise and probably fall in.

Tug boat ripping through the muddy Lower Fraser River.
Large wakes from the passing tug boat.

Another interesting feature of Derby Reach Regional Park is that it offers 38 campsites. They are quite exposed and offer very little in terms of privacy, so they are used primarily for RV camping. It was 100% occupied with RV’s on the day of our visit. We only saw pit toilets throughout the campground, and no shower facilities.

Each campsite does face the river, but the river bank is a steep pebbly slope that would be unsuitable for young kids to play on. The view across the river was fairly lacklustre as well, basically looking at some houses in Maple Ridge.

The last few campsites numbered 34 to 38 were slightly better, with a few more trees in between the sites.

Site 34.

After the campsite, Edge Farm Trail starts.

Edge Farm Trail is a flat 1.5km trail that follows Fraser River. It’s well maintained and covered with fine gravel, which would be quite easy for a stroller. A few detours lets you explore the muddy banks when the river level is low. A short section of this trail was right next to Allard Crescent.

Soon we arrived at the Heritage Area of Derby Reach, where the original Fort Langley was built in 1827. The Fort to Fort Trail connects this old Fort Langley to the current Fort Langley.

We didn’t take the Fort to Fort Trail today. Instead, we crossed the road and explored the heritage area briefly before continuing on the Houston Trail.

Houston Trail was also very well maintained, with not a single muddy section or obstacle.

We did the loop counter clockwise, which took us to a viewing platform looking at Langley Bog. Lots of Skunk Cabbage in bloom.

Houston Trail goes through some very interesting variety of vegetation, from uniform conifers to moss covered rainforests. It’s also remarkably quiet, with no traffic noise and only light visitor traffic.

It would have been possible to finish this trail with a stroller, and indeed we saw a family who did just that. However, there were some steeper hills that would require some muscle, especially if it’s a double stroller.

We retraced our steps along the Fraser River back to Edgewater Bar and finished our outing. As we were getting to our car, we remarked how tired our legs were compared to longer and more challenging hikes like Norvan Falls. We then realized that, because there wasn’t a “destination” viewpoint today, we didn’t take a sit-down break. Even though today’s hike was basically flat, carrying a 15kg backpack for 9.2km straight was still a good workout.

Of the two distinct trails, we preferred the forest walk on Houston Trail over the river walk on Edge Farm Trail. The quality of the forests were top notch, and the immaculately maintained gravel walking path made it a breeze to walk through. The Edge Farm Trail was nice, but the river views were mediocre. BBQ-ing right on the river bank at Edgewater Bar looked like fun too. Since we don’t have an RV, we will probably give the campground a pass though.

Follow us as we explore all 23 Regional Parks in Metro Vancouver!

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