Canoe Passage to Ladner Marsh - Trip Description
Total distance: 12.0 kilometres (7.5 miles)
Coordinates (WGS 84):
N49 04.888 W123 07.746 - Put-in location (Westham Island)
- No. 3490
Canadian Topographic Maps:
The lower portion of the Fraser River is an excellent area to explore with lots of interesting things to see. We started our journey from the east end of the Westham Island bridge, where there is parking on the side of the roadway and a small, somewhat mucky put-in location.
When we started out, the tide was rising but we still had a bit of current against our direction of travel. By the time we started heading back from Ladner Marsh the tide had changed direction, making the return trip much easier.
We made our way across the river from the put-in and followed the western shoreline towards Ladner. Looking north, the view of the snow covered mountains was nothing short of spectacular, especially on this cold, crisp November day.
Before long we were paddling amongst the many floating homes that are located along the river. Continuing towards the downtown area of Ladner, there are many places to explore -- as such, our overall speed wasn't very impressive, but it wasn't a big deal since we weren't in race mode.
Wherever possible, we paddled between the floating homes and the shore -- we encounted a few people along the way who gave us a cheerful 'hello' as we paddled under gangplanks and under buildings that were suspended over the river on pilings.
After passing through Ladner Harbour, we paddled under a small bridge and entered Ladner Marsh. This is a very pleasant area to paddling through -- the narrow waterways are very interesting and we observed many different species of birds.
We stopped for lunch at a small area at the northern most part of our trip (see track log, at the end of the photo album). There are not many places to exit your boat in the marsh area but it can be done. The spot where we stopped was less than ideal because it was quite mucky and the shoreline dropped off quickly making getting out of the kayak from one side of the boat necessary.
On our return, we entered the Ladner Reach portion of the Fraser and immediately felt the power of the current since the tide was now dropping. Now to our benefit, the current made paddling very easy all the way back to Westham Island.
I'll definitely be returning to this area -- it's a very pleasant and enjoyable area to explore by paddle craft. The islands between Ladner Reach and Woodward Reach should offer several days of exploration.
Be mindful of the tides, and the Ladner area can be a terrific paddling destination.
Caution: You may encounter very strong currents and very large wakes from tugboats and ships in the Fraser River. The Fraser River is not a place for beginners.
From downtown Ladner, drive south along River Road West to the bridge to Westham Island. Cross over the bridge and there is parking alongside the road. There is a small path at the northwest end of the bridge that leads a very short ways to a small, somewhat muddy area where you can launch your boat.
Paddling Through History: Sea Kayak Vancouver and Victoria
by Aileen Stalker and Andrew Nolan
The Vancouver Paddler: Canoeing and Kayaking in Southwestern British Columbia
by Glen Stadham
Trip date: Nov 27, 2004
Weather: Sunny, cool
Water condition: Small chop in the main sections of the river, smooth in the Ladner area.
Tides/currents: Tide was dropping as we embarked and current was flowing against us at about 2-3 km/hr.
Submitted by: Dan Millsip
Images copyright: Dan Millsip