McDonald Park Dark Sky Preserve is a beautiful setting, both during the day and at night. This park is located on No. 3 Road, just over the dyke, making for easy walking access to the Sumas River dyke trail.
The Fraser Valley Astronomers Society had McDonald Park officially deemed a Dark Sky Park in 2000 and it is run by the FVAS at night. You can read more about that process and see when they host Dark Sky Events on their Website Here.
This park has some great features, including Flush Toilets, a Playground, Picnic tables and Fire Pits, as well as a large covered area with BBQ. I also noticed an area to play horseshoes as I was leaving!
There are several benches off of the dyke trail along the way, so one can rest if needed or just sit and appreciate this beautiful place.
These rustic old farm houses and equipment added some character to the scenery along my walk. It was such a gorgeous day too, hot, sunny and beautiful blue sky!!
Since Covid restrictions have been in place, I have been meeting one of my oldest friends here after dinner and we walk the dyke as we chat and catch up once a month from a safe distance.
It is the perfect meeting spot because I live in Chilliwack and she lives in Abbotsford and No. 3 road is pretty much right in the middle. The park is located right off of Hwy 1 and is a very convenient pit stop for anyone passing through.
Being there in the middle of the day was a whole different experience with a packed parking lot, a line for the bathroom and people everywhere! I got lucky and took my dog Zola to one end of the dyke and we only passed a few people. The other end of the dyke was packed with pedestrians and cyclists as we came back, so I was glad we went the direction that we did.
It was also nice to see everything in the daylight, because usually we are arriving as the sun is starting to set, and end up walking by flashlight for most of the time. It is a gorgeous spot to watch the sunset!
We frequently walk by people setting up telescopes or fancy looking cameras just as the stars start coming out. We choose one direction and if we are still chatting and feeling good, we walk both ends of the dyke for the full distance of 8.4km.
In the daylight you get to see these rustic old farm buildings, the lush green fields, the mountains and the beautiful blue skies. In the dark, you get the bright starry sky above you on an inky black backdrop with Sumas Mountain acting as nature’s amphitheater and the city lights way off in the distance.
Basically, there is never a bad time to visit McDonald Park. If I had to choose a time, I would go for sunset though and stay awhile to enjoy the stars twinkling overhead.
As always, Thank You for reading! Remember to keep exploring, even in your own town or city. There are always little parks or new trails waiting to be discovered somewhere nearby, you just need to get out and explore to find them!