Burnaby Mountain is another one of the areas that I always meant to explore. But as there are so many epic trails beyond the city, I never quite got around to it. However since we went into lockdown, we have been staying local. So on my last day off, I cycled to Burnaby to take a peek at the various trails in the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area. It was a pleasant surprise. This is a small mountain on the edge of Vancouver, but it is covered in trails, so is perfect for a mini urban adventure, with views out to the city and the bigger mountains nearby. It would also be a great spot for a relaxing afternoon if you prefer to relax with a picnic than go for a walk.
I brought Marc to visit the very next day so we could hike along the Burnaby Mountain Loop, so that’s what I’ll share here. I may have to add this to my list of Vancouver’s best parks, as it was so gorgeous.
Burnaby Mountain Loop – the basics
Distance: You can make your own route. We did a 10km in a loop
Elevation Gain: 300m
Time: 2-2.5 hours
What to bring: 10 essentials, and your camera.
Dogs: Its perfect for dogs, but they need to stay on leashes.
Facilities: There is a restaurant, loos, a kids play area, a rose garden and even a entire University on the top of this mountain.
How hard is it? As easy or hard as you fancy – you can choose your own route. If you’d like an easy walk, just stay near the top.
Burnaby Mountain Loop Map
This is the loop that we followed around Burnaby Mountain, but if you zoom in you can see there are loads of possible trails. Especially on the East side of the mountain.
Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area is a mini mountain just East of Vancouver. The top of the mountain is the location for Simon Fraser University. But the rest of it is covered in trees, trails and fantastic views.
Cycle to Burnaby
The first time I visited Burnaby Mountain I found a really fun cycle route, along the Trans Canada Trail from New Brighton Beach, past the Ironworks Bridge and along the inlet. It involved a lot of hills. But it is flipping pretty.
My original plan was to cycle to the bottom of the mountain and then hike up. In the end I couldn’t find anywhere to lock my bike, so I rode (and pushed) my bike up. The bike trails on the mountain are steep, but covered in gorgeous greenery.
Kamui Mintara – Playground of the Gods
Once you make it to the top of Burnaby Mountain, there are some really cool sculptures called the Kamui Mintara. The statues were created by two Japanese artists Nuburi Toko and his son, Shusei Toko. It celebrates the sister city relationship between Burnaby and Kushiro City in Hokkaido, Japan (since 1965).
Burnaby Mountain Views
Once you’ve made it to the top there are great views. This is looking North towards Belcarra Regional Park.
How nice is this!? If you look carefully you can see the high rises of Vancouver off in the distance. I loved the views so much that I came back again the following day to show Marc.
Burnaby Mountain loop
When I returned with Marc we went for a walk around the mountain. We started near the summit and followed the Trans Canada trail, past this awesome mossy face.
The Official Flower of Burnaby
We found a sign saying that the official flower of Burnaby is rhododendron. In spring the trail was lined with flowering rhododendrons of all different colours.
We spotted some cool under-the-sea art along the trail. We even found Nemo.
Trans Canada Trail
The Trans Canada trail is an epic 24,000 kilometre trail that crosses the whole of Canada. This is one teeny section of the trail, but it’s pretty cool to imagine you could keep going from here all the way to the East coast of Canada.
You stay on the Trans Cana Trail along the top of Burnaby Mountain, and then turn off left and follow the Barnet trail. I loved the views over to Mount Seymour. I’m not used to seeing it from this direction.
This part was covered in thimbleberries.
The trail along the base of Burnaby Mountain was not busy at all. It was really relaxing and all lush and green. The only downside was you can hear the roar of the nearby Barnet Highway.
Mountain Bike land
Burnaby Mountain Bike Skills Facility is at the bottom of the mountain. This means you can watch the kids practice their tricks before you have to re-climb the mountain.
Learn about the trees
The best part of the loop is variety of the forest in this last section. There are information boards to teach you about the trees. The ones below are Western Hemlock, Black Cottonwood and Bigleaf Maple.
This is the toughest part – the Velodrome trail has steps the back up the mountain. Every so often when you turn around and see the lovely views through the trees. The thing is, Burnaby Mountain is only 370m high (the viewpoint is at about 300m) so even if this gets your heart going, it’s not for long.
There are a few different trails to bring you back to the summit. The first time I pushed my bike up the Ridge trail. This time, we followed the Nature trail right back to where we’d left our car.
The only reason we explored Burnaby Mountain was because the local Provincial Parks are closed. It is much busier than the more quiet trails I am used to in the wilderness, but it was a perfect to give our legs a taste of a mini mountain to get our muscles ready now things are starting to open back up. Now I know about this area, I will definitely come back (especially as I can even cycle here.)
What do you think? If you live here, or want to visit Vancouver, do you like the idea of a easy-to-climb mountain in the city?