Celebrating Spring at the Chilliwack Tulip Festival
Rows upon rows of tulips in majestic magenta, bright white, hot pink, cheery yellow, and so many more colors can be found blooming each April at the Chilliwack Tulip Festival, located only an hour’s drive outside of Vancouver.
It’s an easy day trip if you’re arriving from the coast, or doable as a quick weekend getaway if you’re coming from the interior of British Columbia like myself. Regardless of where you’re arriving from, checking out the vivid fields and wandering among the many rows of tulips makes for a lovely spring outing for the whole family to enjoy (with plenty of memorable photo opportunities).
Now in operation for the 13th year, the Chilliwack Tulip Festival is the largest tulip festival in Western Canada and features 6.5 million tulips (!) with over 30 different varieties spread out over 20 acres of land.
That’s a lot of tulips, and in full bloom they are absolutely spectacular. Here are some of my favorite photos from my visit:
Other than the stunning display of color, one thing to note during your visit is that the fields are part of a working farm. Once the tulips have finished blooming, the bulbs are harvested, sorted by size, and the largest ones are used to grow in the farm’s greenhouses as part of their cut tulip operation.
Aside from the tulips, the festival also has 3 acres of gorgeous specialty double daffodils in 17 varieties, and 2 acres of hyacinths in 10 varieties.
What you need to know before you go
Luckily it didn’t rain while I was at the Tulip Festival, but it had rained for a few days prior to my visit making the fields and pathways very muddy. Even if you visit on a dry day, I suggest you bring a pair of rain boots or other footwear that will keep you dry and clean.
Below is a before and after of my boots (which were thankfully waterproof) but still took on quite a bit of mud and dirt after about an hour exploring the fields.
In case you arrive in canvas sneakers or sandals, the festival does offer visitors the use of disposable booties, although these can make the going slippery, and potentially lead to some wipe outs.
And if you’re visiting with a baby, I wouldn’t recommend pushing your stroller through the mud like we did (we certainly got stuck a few times). On rainy or muddy days, use a baby carrier instead (this is the one we use and love while traveling).
Visitors can view the tulips by walking the outer perimeter of the field so as not to damage the plants. There are also a few specially designated “tulip paths” that you can take right down the middle of the field.
At the entrance of the festival you’ll find portable toilets, a couple of food trucks, and a store which sells all kinds of tulip memorabilia and potted flowers.
Tickets can be purchased in advance online (for a reduced rate) or at the gates on the day of your visit. Keep an eye on the Chilliwack Tulip Festival website for up to date ticket prices and festival dates as these may vary year by year. Generally, the daffodils and hyacinths bloom earlier than the tulips, and the tulip full bloom lasts for about 2-3 weeks.
The Tulip Festival is located directly off Highway 1 in Chilliwack. Take exit 109 (Yale Road West exit) and proceed to 41310 Yale Road.
If you’re planning to visit on a weekend, keep in mind that the festival might be extremely busy, especially if it’s a sunny day. So busy in fact, that cars might be backed up all the way out to the highway. If you want to beat the crowds, try to get there right at opening time. Parking is free.