The Temple Giant

There are times, I am reminded, that a simple gesture of kindness leads to a great deal of happiness. Fifteen years ago I was given scanned excerpts of an out of print map published by the Western Canada Wilderness Committee (WCWC) by my good friend Vida, and that aided me in a long quest to rediscover the hidden old growth trees of the Seymour Valley. It has been a memorable journey, and during those years not only was I able to find all of the trees on the map, but also many more of the valley’s secrets.

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An excerpt from the WCWC map, now out of print. For today’s purposes, the newer Seymour Valley Trailway runs parallel and uphill to the original Seymour Mainline road which is now off limits to the public

The Temple Grove of Giants was really the first part of the map that captured my attention, with its high concentration of ancient Douglas Firs and Western Red Cedars. The Seymour River Valley had been extensively logged earlier in the twentieth century, so how had these trees managed to survive? Thankfully, there will be no more timber harvesting in the North Shore Mountains, so they are at least now protected for future generations.

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Matt meets the Temple Fir back in 2006. Hard for me to believe this was so long ago!

In order to get the big picture, I suggest reading Tolkien, Story of a Tree, in which I detail a broader history of the Temple Grove of Giants, but for today, I’ll focus on the Temple Giant.

Rich approaches the Temple Giant in 2008

Well over six centuries have passed since the Temple Giant took root in the forests of Hydraulic Creek. Since that was long before the time of colonization, its life was relatively undisturbed for most of that duration, but the early 1920s brought about considerable change. It is said that a human caused fire in 1936 broke out while fallers were working in the area, and authorities closed down their camp at that point. There was also The Great Depression to contend with, when timber prices plummeted, and that may have helped to save the grove as well. Years later, in the 1990s, when there were plans to begin harvesting again, the efforts of the WCWC finally led to the end of  logging in Greater Vancouver’s watersheds.

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The Temple Giant is among the largest Douglas firs in the province of British Columbia

The Temple Giant is without a doubt one of the most impressive Douglas Firs I have seen,  certainly ranking in the top five as far as British Columbia is concerned. Its diameter is well over eight feet at breast height and it pierces the skies at a height of over 250 feet! It may be as old as 700 years in my estimation. There are many others in the Temple Grove of Giants that are over four hundred years in age, in fact. If you’re interested in a visit, you’ll probably want to bring your bike so that you can cycle the Seymour Valley Trailway to the Hydraulic Creek Bridge. It’s an excursion well worth making!

The Temple Giant is a sight to behold. It’s a real time saver if you ride your bike to the trailhead!


6 thoughts on “The Temple Giant”

  1. Nice, this will certainly leave room for adventure for those who go seek to discover it! I hope this particular tree never gets too much visitation for it looks a bit sensitive to it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It might be if it ever got a lot of visits but the necessary bike ride more or less keeps the traffic quite low. It’s a very different scenario than before, so much less shade!


      1. We are here now. Seems the road is closed now so biking might be the only option. It’s a 5 k hike otherwise. And my guy has sore feet. Poor planning on our part. We will be back with our bikes.


      2. Hi Lori, here is some more info:
        Hobbit Cedar 10 U 0499920 UTM 5471423, elevation 337m Hidden Giant 10 U 0499755 UTM 5471446, elevation 395m Paul George. 10 U 0499710 UTM 5471413, elevation 415m Rosebush Giant 10 U 049967 UTM 5471317, elevation 427m Chittenden Giant 10 U 0499705 UTM 5471240, elevation 396m Hundal Giant 10 U 0499683 UTM 5471228, elevation 389m Temple Giant 10 U 0499694 UTM 5471143, elevation 377m Hydraulic Creek Trail begins north side of Hydraulic Bridge, may not be marked but the footbed is obvious These waypoints start from the junction with Hydraulic Creek Trail, about a ten minute walk, maybe more with bikes, from the road. Stash bikes somewhere around there…From the junction, cross the creek and find Hobbit, then bear uphill to find the Hidden Giant. From there it’s uphill to Paul George, then a rough and descending traverse that will bring you to Rosebush. Take care not to go too low or high to cross the dry creek bed at Krisby. Next you continue that line over to the other trees and the Temple Giant. Downhill from Temple you reach the road in maybe 10-15 minutes and walk back to Hydraulic Bridge and the trailhead


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