The 325-acre Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve backs onto the Vedder river and houses abundant habitat for wildlife including forests, marsh and swamp wetland systems, and cool water streams. A multitude of wildlife, including several species at risk, call the nature reserve home.
The southwestern portion of the Reserve houses one of the largest heron nesting colonies in the Lower Mainland. With 90 nests, the colony is active from March through July and requires significant conservation efforts to ensure the long-term viability of its population.
Throughout the fall, several species of salmon spawn within the nature reserve's cool water streams. Chum, Coho, and Pink salmon make their way into the lagoon and Salwein creek in large numbers from late October - mid-December to make use of the stream's restored spawning habitat.
Please note that on-leash dogs and bikes are welcomed on the Centre Trail, Dyke Trails, and the Vedder Rotary Trail. All other trails are foot-traffic and human only.
Visit our Year in Nature page to see calendarized information of which wildlife are the most active throughout the seasons!
Our Nature Reserve is known for the lovely walking trails and opportunities to view wildlife. As guests traverse the nature reserve and its trails, we ask that all visitors respect wildlife habitat by staying on the trails, keeping pets on-leash and in designated areas, and using waste receptacle bins. Washrooms are available at the Annex and the Interpretive Centre.
All trails are maintained for foot traffic and are relatively flat. The Tower trail and Salwein loop have boardwalks through seasonally flooded areas. To minimize disturbance of the natural areas within the GBHNR, cyclists, horses, and dog walkers must stay on the Centre Trail, Dyke Trails, and the Vedder Rotary Trail.
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. During this time the colony can be viewed from the North Dyke Trail (approximately a 10-min walk from the Interpretive Centre)
For more information, phone 604-823-6603, or email us at [email protected]
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.
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.
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, cross 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.
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.
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.
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.