Ready for your first Bigfoot encounter?
For those born and raised in the Pacific Northwest against the backdrop of fog-shrouded mountains, glacial rivers and evergreen forests, there’s a good chance that they learned about Sasquatch at a very early age.
Some will go on to have encounters with the shy giants and others will dismiss them as mere tall-tales of local folklore and mythology. The brave few will embrace the possibility of Sasquatch existence and actively seek out their own personal experience.
If you fall into the latter category, it’s worth a drive up the Fraser River Valley ninety minutes east of Vancouver British Columbia. The area around Sasquatch Provincial Park and Harrison Lake has had numerous sightings over the past century and Sasquatch is deeply engrained in the local Sts’ailes First Nation tribe’s tradition and storytelling. The historical odds of a successful encounter do not get better than here.
Few areas in the world have so completely embraced Sasquatch and incorporate the giant hominid’s name in all walks of life as in the town of Harrison Lake Hot Springs. To get to the popular lakeside resort, you will need to hop on BC Highway 7, affectionately known as “The Sasquatch Highway” on the north side of the Fraser River. A quick search upon arrival in town will point you to a number of dining, lodging and recreation opportunities bearing the Sasquatch name.
One of the most popular activities in Harrison Hot Springs is the Sasquatch Days festival held every June since 1938. The event incorporates salmon barbecues, medicine walks, canoe races, and intercultural sharing with the various Sts’ailes tribal bands in the region.
During the festival, take advantage of the summer dry season for a camping excursion and a chance at spotting the nocturnal giant in the adjacent 3000 acre Sasquatch Provincial Park.
The park, originally created as Green Point Park in 1959, was renamed Sasquatch Provincial Park in 1968 after the numerous sightings reported in the area. If a winter ski and snowboard trip is more up your alley, make the 5 mile trip out of town to Sasquatch Mountain Resort and keep your eye out for footprints in the snow. The Sts’ailes people have petroglyphs on Sasquatch Mountain using red ocher pigment dating back 3,000 7,000 years.
History buffs will want to make the short drive up river to Ruby Creek. This small town is home to one of the most famous Sasquatch sightings in the Fraser Valley and put the area on the map as a hotbed of cryptid activity. In the fall of 1941 First Nations tribal member, Jeannie Chapman, emerged from her cabin in mid-afternoon to hear her children playing outside frightened by an unknown animal. Jeannie scanned the property and saw a large hairy man approximately seven to eight feet tall on the edge of the property. The creature then entered the family’s shed and tore apart a barrel storing salted salmon, devouring and scattering the fish across the property. When her husband George arrived home early that evening after work, he immediately noted the large footprints up to sixteen inches in length next to the structures on the Chapman Cabin 1941 property. A deputy sheriff from across the U.S. – Canada border in Bellingham Washington was called over to investigate the incident. This is one of the only cases where international law enforcement has investigated a Sasquatch sighting.
Sheriff Sketch 1941 - Bellingham WA
After investigating the Ruby Creek incident, head further east to the small town of Hope B.C. This town has had several sightings at the local garbage dump where individual Sasquatch and even families have been seen scavenging for food. Some have reacted to the sightings as merely being mistaken for bears. But to those who have witnessed the way the animals walked with human-like gaits on two feet, there is no confusion. For a fascinating interview with a local Hope resident who has had multiple encounters, check out the Sasquatch Syndicate Podcast episode with Chuck Geveshausen.
Whether you’re a Sasquatch skeptic or true believer, the Fraser River Valley offers an excellent opportunity to learn about native tradition and folklore as well as reported first hand sightings. The Harrison Lake Hot Springs tourism department even offers tips on either avoiding Sasquatch due to Sosantoglitaphobia (Fear of Sasquatch) or what to do if you have an encounter. The important thing during all visits to the area is to stay calm, enjoy the surroundings, and most importantly!
Research Writer, Sasquatch Syndicate Inc.