A fairly short, uphill hike that leads to some nice views of Cultus Lake, the Teapot Hill hike adds a surprising element of whimsy with dozens of teapots lining the trail. Alice in Wonderland fans will love this fun, family-friendly trail. Normally we find the simple fact of hiking in nature to be reward enough but there is something to be said for a trail that offers up something a little unique and interesting. Watching for and counting teapots is a great way to keep young hikers entertained along the way and, really, who hasn’t always dreamed of a hilltop Tea Party near Chilliwack, BC? The Teapot Till hike is a not far from the coast but if you are looking for a hike in Vancouver check out 12 Easy Hikes in North Vancouver or the popular Tunnel Bluffs hike to an amazing Howe Sound viewpoint. Then there is our personal favourite in the area (that definitely isn’t “easy”), the Chief hike in Squamish, which tops our list of 22 Best Squamish Hikes.
How long is Teapot Hill hike?
5 kilometres round-trip
250 metres of elevation gain
AllTrails GPS Map: Teapot Hill
Most people take around 2 hours to get to the top and back on the wide, smooth trail. Of course, you could do it faster if you weren’t constantly scanning the bushes for teapots and taking way too many teapot photos, but since that is definitely happening, make sure you allow enough time.
While the slope is reasonable, 250 metres is still a pretty noticeable climb for most people so if you don’t do a lot of hiking, assume it will feel a bit strenuous. But as long as you take your time (distracting yourself with teapots should help) it should be manageable for just about anyone.
Why is it Called Teapot Hill?
As much as I would love to tell you there is some obscure, mysterious backstory full of drama and intrigue and, obviously, tea, it didn’t really go down that way. The real story is that back in the 1940’s some logger found a teapot on the hill and – wait for it – started calling it Teapot Hill.
Then, over time, in honour of the name, I suppose, people hiking the trail started bringing their own teapots and hiding them in the trees along the trail. And this quirky habit has continued to grow in popularity over the years, with more and more people adding their extra teapots to the fray.
How Many Teapots Are on Teapot Hill?
Since anyone can plant teapots and, presumably, some irritating people also head home with souvenirs from time to time, the exact number of teapots is continually changing. Also, now and then park staff come through and clean up broken and deteriorated ones. We didn’t keep count but definitely spotted dozens, probably around 50-60 if we had to guess.
But feel free to bring your own teapot to hide/place, or simply admire the ones that are already there. No Touching!
Teapot Hill Hike
The trail head is located in Cultus Lake Provincial Park near Chilliwack in the Fraser Valley in British Colombia, Canada. About 100 metres from the parking lot you’ll find an outhouse and trail map, then will continue up the wide, smooth forest service road. The trail is lined with massive, looming Douglas firs and lush, mossy deadfall, ferns and undergrowth. Once you pass the stream you will probably start noticing the odd teapot, teacup or lid casually loitering in the bushes.
Eventually you will reach a junction where a Teapot Hill sign points you to the right (although the sign was broken and lying on the ground when we were there). From here the trail narrows slightly and becomes more of a forest track but continues to be mostly smooth and easy. As the trail gets narrower and steeper you should start seeing more and more teapots (because, of course, you are now actually on Teapot Hill). Some are sitting right out in the open on fallen logs, stumps or hanging on low branches. Others will be trickier, stuffed inside hollow logs, tight crevices somehow placed high up in some of the taller trees.
About 2.4 kilometres in you’ll reach a fenced lookout area with partial views of Cultus Lake and the Columbia Valley. Congratulations, the climb is over. Don’t slack on the teapot spotting, though, as you should be able to see many you missed on the way up that are now visible from your new angle.
While the trail is relatively easy, it is not wheelchair or stroller accessible. Always stick to the trail to avoid damaging the environment (including a rare orchid that is found alongside this trail). Dogs are allowed as long as they remain on a leash (there are deer in the area we saw three on our way up).
There is no running water or any place to buy food or drinks so bring everything you need with you. Just make sure you also bring a bag to pack your garbage back out (along with any broken china you find along the way).
After the Hike
Beautiful Cultus Lake is justifiably popular for outdoor activities, offering excellent picnic areas, great views and superb swimming (in summer, anyway). There is also an extensive water park, a nearby adventure park, a golf course and plenty of snacks and ice cream. Best of all, there is an 18-hole grass-green putting course – it is just like playing real golf except without all those annoying extra clubs that keep sending balls off into the bush.
Another good choice for a hike in the area is the Seven Sisters Trail. It is a short trail to a grove of old-growth Douglas fir trees. Originally there were seven of these enormous trees in a small loop but four have now fallen, leaving just three still standing. They are still worth visiting for their size alone.
Keep in mind, Cultus Lake can get very busy in the summer so get there early to find a parking spot.
Where is Teapot Hill?
Teapot Hill parking lot is right across from Cultus Lake Honeymoon Bay Group Campground, just 5 km past the Cultus Lake townsite. The lot is very small so you probably want to get there early in summer (a good rule of thumb everywhere in BC).
It is around 100 kilometres from Vancouver and will take 1.5-2 hours driving time.
What to Take
It is always important to be prepared when venturing out hiking. Obviously, long, challenging hikes require more advance planning and safety gear but even for short hikes you still need to be properly equipped. Dressing properly will make the experience much more enjoyable and carrying useful safety supplies can ensure you are prepared in case mishaps take place (as they tend to). Here is a quick checklist of items we alway carry, wear or use while hiking:
A good day pack is essential. We have recently become big fans of Gregory packs and would recommend the Gregory Miwok 18 for short hikes or when your gear is split between two people. And the Gregory Optic 48 for longer hikes. I know 48L sounds big but it is a super-light and comfortable pack that cinches down smaller when it isn’t full.
Water is obviously important and we go back and forth between using a Camelbak bladder and just a couple of water bottles. We also keep a few Aquatabs with us at all times just in case we ever run low and want to treat some river or lake water. They are tiny and every now and then come in quite handy. It is always a good idea to carry some snacks as well. It never hurts and sometimes hikes end up taking longer than planned.
Laynni always hikes in compression leggings that she swears by for the extra knee, hip and muscle support.
Layers, baby! You never know what kind of weather nature will throw at you so it pays to be ready for anything. Obviously, the forecast might change what you carry but if there is any doubt (and there almost always is in the mountains), bring extra.
And just in case we are so impressed by the scenery that we decide it’s worth a photo with both of us in it we always carry the tiny, extremely handy octopus tripod.
Of course, a comprehensive first-aid kit is key to make sure those “mishaps” are simply inconvenient and don’t ruin your whole day.
Other useful items that we sometimes carry and sometimes don’t, depending on the hike:
Well, that probably covers most of it, although somehow we have even more to say on the matter in our Day Hike Packing List post. Check it out if you’re looking for even more detailed info.
It isn’t every day that you are hiking through the forest, minding your own business, then suddenly start spotting teapots all over the place. Yep, the Teapot Hill hike is kind of weird, but it is campy and fun, and it’s a great way to get your kids out on a hiking adventure without them hounding you to go home the entire time.
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