This hike is close to the city of Vancouver, however instead of heading to the North Shore Mountains where so many trails begin, this hike takes you a bit east to the city of Burnaby, part of Metro Vancouver. The trail we did is 10 km and will take about 2 hours to complete, taking you in a circuit around Burnaby Mountain.
The best place to start this hike is to head up Centennial Parkway to where the washrooms and the now closed Horizons Restaurant are. Head to the right of the washrooms past the rose gardens and then continue along the trail with the fence and the cliff on your left side.
After you pass a playground on your right you will need to go left where the path splits. You will soon pass by a water reservoir that’s been painted in a beautiful ocean theme.
This is where the trail begins and from here you’ll be heading down the hill for the next few kilometres. Because this trail is forested the entire way it is a great option for sunny days when other exposed trails on the mountains become too hot.
Just after the one kilometre mark you will see a sign with a detour to the Simon Fraser University Campus. You can take this detour and have a look around the buildings and grounds there, or continue on the Trans Canada Trail which will take you around the lower part of the mountain. This is the pathway we stayed on.
You will continue going down, down, down until you reach another split in the trail that leads out of the park area. Stay left and you will find yourself on a wide road under some power-lines for a short distance.
Continue for a short distance along this road before veering right, heading back into the forest, and continuing on the Trans Canada Trail. You will be heading down a very steep section here as you pass the Suncor Refinery. The trail then begins to level out as you come to another junction where you take a left turn. This is now the Barnet Trail which goes along the bottom section of the hill. Unfortunately we had to detour off this trail and travel along the bike lane on the highway because a momma bear and her cub wanted the trail to themselves!
This was a great reminder to us that we are in a naturally forested area where other animals do make their homes. Signs at the beginning of this hike, like other hikes we have done, did say to keep an eye out for bears and to keep dogs on a leash! Although this is one of the more crowded hikes we have been on…this is the first one where we have seen a bear.
This Barnet Trail, and the highway detour which we took, both end up at the bike park. From here the trail continues through the forest with interpretive signs describing some of the trees and plants that grow here.
This part of the path was my favourite part with the different trees, the sun shining through, and the moss growing from the branches.
Now that we had come down the mountain, and along the bottom section of the hike, it was time to head up, up, up…and what better way to do that than to climb 500 steps. I didn’t count them, but they did go on for a long time! This part of the hike is called the Velodrome Trail and is definitely the most strenuous.
Stop along the way to enjoy some views behind you…especially the view of Indian Arm towards Deep Cove.
At the top of all the stairs there will be a sign that directs you back towards the Centennial Pavilion. Take this trail to your left and after about 10 more minutes, you will be back to where you started.
As you leave the forested area, make sure and check out the Japanese totems known as Kamui Kintara or “Playground of the Gods” located here.
With this hike being so close to the city of Vancouver I would definitely recommend it. It was also well used, easy to follow, and a great work out!