Nicomekl River: Phase II

Monday, August 3, 2020

This was my second adventure from the Surrey Blueways trio of waterways. The other two waterways are the Serpentine River and the Fraser River Challenge. Last week I solo paddled Phase I of the Nicomekl River from the Blueways Master Plan.  Today’s plan was to do Phase II of the river. The City of Surrey provides the following description, “The Surrey Floating Nature Trail provides an interpretation-based and controlled paddling experience on the lower Nicomekl River, with enhancements to separate paddlers and other boaters from sensitive waterfowl areas and seasons.”

Here is a link to the Surrey Blueways Map PDF.

City of Surrey promotional video on Nicomekl River Park which surrounds the section that we paddled.

Up until Sunday night, I was planning to do another solo paddle as I was going on a Monday and everyone who I had asked was unavailable. But then on Sunday evening, I received a text message from my buddy Sean asking a physiotherapy/exercise question. I sent him a response and then knowing he lives in Surrey, on a whim I told him I was planning to paddle the Nicomekl River and had an extra board if he was interested. His response was, “Oh Snap. What time?”

My response of, “I’ll try to be there for 6 or shortly thereafter” did not deter him. I forwarded him the City of Surrey links and told him to give me a call if he was interested. Sean was game and called a few moments later. We ironed out a few logistics and set up a rendezvous location and time.

Paddle Plan

DATE: Monday, Jul. 27, 2020
ROUTE: Nicomekl River Blueway Phase II: Sea Dam to 40th Ave and 156th St (round- trip)
EST. DEP.: 0610
EST. ARR.: 0750

  • Forecast: see app

Paddle Distance ~6 km
Paddle Time ~1.25-1.75 hrs
Drive time:

  • Vancouver to Nicomekl Portage Park: ~30 min

Personal Info

  • TRAVELLERS: 2 (Mon Jef Peeters, Sean C.)
  • VEHICLE: [Colour] [Year] [Make] [Model] [License Plate]
  • PHONE: [xxx-xxx-xxxx]

We met at Nicomekl Portage Park. After we had our kit ready I gave Sean a quick dry-land tutorial on stand up paddleboarding and then we were off.

Phase II of the Nicomekl River runs between the Sea Dam at Elgin Road and the bridge that crosses the river on 40th Avenue between 152nd and 156th Street. It is a bit foolish but for whatever reason, both of us were reluctant to wade into the water so it was a slightly awkward riverbank launch. But we both successfully got on board.

It is a lazy paddle from there east towards the Nicomekl Bridge (King George). It is slightly terrifying hearing cars pass overhead on the eastern bridge as it looks like it has seen better days. I guess you can find solace in the adage, they don’t make them like they used to.

Around the big bend near the South Surrey Ride Park, there was a couple of fisherman on the northern bank.

Next, you pass under the bridge crossing at Highway 99. It seemed like a much sturdier construction compared to the King George Bridge.

The rest of the paddle is peaceful with farmlands on the northern bank and forest interspaced with a few residential complexes along the southern bank.

At 40th Avenue there is a gravel bank that looks like it would work to launch for Phase III. It is a longer paddle so there is a bit more planning to be done.

Cleaning up the tandem boards post-paddle. Photo by Mon Jef Peeters.
A video by MetroVancouver on Surrey’s Nicomekl River wetlands.

Our Route

To read about my adventure on the third phase of the Nicomekl River click here.

4 thoughts on “Nicomekl River: Phase II

  1. Well, I understand your launch-reluctance to set foot in the Nicomekl: in the early 90’s I canoed this area, and the algae-bloom + summertime stench was God-Awful! 20 – 30 years later, it appears just as gross – I swear it looks like you could actually walk across the Nicomekl!

    I continue to re-visit this area, but prefer to stay outward of the Sea-Dam. Oh, BTW: I have, but do not recommend, passing through the Sea Dam when it is open…


    1. I agree. The Sea Dam to the sea is a much more pleasant journey. And even that section has enough ‘aromas’ to keep you happy your onboard/in vessel. Despite this, I still want to do Phase III, even knowing what the conditions will be like. I think this winter/spring I will try to make it happen 🤢


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