As winter approaches the flow of the river decreases and the beaches on both sides of our rivers expand. When there is already snow in the hills, the lowest areas can be snow-free and can offer nice walks along the river. Mission Flats Nature Park has expansive beaches in late fall and winter and we can do 2.5 to 3.0 km when the weather is right. Just past the Domtar settling ponds look for a turn toward the river and a parking area. Follow any trail out to the sand. On this last outing, I followed a track west to the end of the beach, then looped back around the islands.
On the widest part of the winter beach, the wind corridor of the bottom of the river valley can shape the sands and silts into miniature sculptures.
Before heading down to Mission Flats Nature Park, check the direction of the wind. A wind from the east will mean that the ammonia fumes from the settling ponds will go across the park.
We only hike this area in winter. In spring, the area gets flooded. Once the floods subside, mosquitoes occupy the area. In summer, it can be a popular spot, but it can also be frequented by some more questionable visitors. In winter we see mostly dog walkers and few hikers.