BC’s Lower Mainland attracts visitors from around the world because of its great natural beauty. But many of us who live here are too busy to explore the amazing parks and trails that are right here in our own backyard.
Spending time in nature brings many benefits, including lower stress, great creativity, and improved mental health and well-being.
Lonely Planet describes the Lower Mainland as, “Ideal for day-tripping, the area is striped with looming mountains, forested coastal parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and historic attractions.” Why not take time to explore the natural treasures right here at home?
At the Pacific Parklands Foundation, part of our role is to spread the word about Metro Vancouver’s regional park system and to help you get into our parks. Because we know that what you love, you will also help to protect.
Here are 5 great hikes in Metro Vancouver’s regional parks
Each link will take you to the park’s page with a video description of the park, a downloadable PDF map of all the park trails, links to Google maps for complete directions, and details of any special events going on in the park.
What: Burnaby Lake Regional Park is a haven for wildlife surrounding the largest lake in Metro Vancouver. The park has 19 km worth of walking trails. Choose from a series of easy trails ranging from the short 0.8 km Avalon Trail to the 3.4 km Southshore Trail, or combine a few to create hike of the distance that suits your wishes.
How long: the 10 km trail loop around the lake takes about 2 hours
Where: Trail starts and ends at Burnaby Lake in Burnaby.
How to get there: By car, take Trans-Canada Hwy/BC-1 E and Winston Street to Piper Avenue in Burnaby. To access via Skytrain, take the Millennium Line to Lake City Way and walk down Piper Avenue to the park. Note that there is no cycling in the park.
What: Boundary Bay on the Pacific Flyway is a great place to explore year round, but winter has it’s own magic because it’s a perfect time to see raptors as well as large concentrations of wintering and migratory birds.
How long: The park has 23 km worth of trails. The two-kilometre-long 12 Ave Dyke Trail is an accessible trail with a wide, semi-firm surface with minimal slopes.
How to get there: Take BC-99 South, then BC-17A to 56 Street in Delta. Continue on 56 Street, then take Boundary Bay Road to 6B Avenue.
What: Open fields, hedgerows, and wetlands provide habitat for more than 200 bird species as well as other animal species in this regional park. Trails for both walkers and cyclists showcase great views of river, fields, and mountains.
How long: The 1.8 km Home Farm Dyke Trail has gentle slopes.
How to get there: Follow Trans-Canada Highway/BC-1 East to BC-7 in Coquitlam. Take Exit 44 off the highway. Follow BC-7 to Colony Farm Road.
What: Riverbank, forest, and farmlands are some of the highlights in this regional park which lies along the south shore of the Fraser River a few kilometres west of Fort Langley.
How long: Choose from the Houston Trail, a 5.5 km forest loop, or take the 1.6 km Edge Farm Trail along the Fraser River.
How to get there: If coming from Highway 1, take the 200 Street exit and travel north to 96 Avenue. Turn right (east) and then left at 208 Street. Follow 208 to Allard Crescent, turn right and watch for park entrance signs.
What: Pacific Spirit Regional Park is the largest of Metro Vancouver’s 23 regional parks. Located on the west side of the city of Vancouver, the 750-hectare park has 78 km of trails to choose from. If you want a nice combination of forest and ocean, start at the car park on the north side of 16th Avenue, 400 metres west of Blanca, and walk north along the Cleveland Trail until it joins the Salish Trail on the other side of University Blvd. Follow the Salish Trail which will cross both Chancellor Blvd (4th Ave) and Northwest Marine Drive until you arrive at Acadia Beach. The beach has a picnic area and lovely views across English Bay to the North Shore mountains and Howe Sound. Retrace your steps to return. There are washrooms at both ends of the trail.
How long: The Cleveland/Salish trail route is about 6 km round trip.
How to get there: Head west on 16th Avenue in west Vancouver to the car park 400 metres west of Blanca.
Taking a hike? Why not share your photos here #loveourparks.