Burnaby Mountain Loop – Local Adventures

Burnaby Mountain Loop – Local Adventures

Burnaby Mountain Loop - Easy hike near VancouverBurnaby 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:
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.

Barnet trail

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.

Velodrome Trail

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?

Burnaby Mountain - Fun area to explore near Vancouver, Canada Burnaby Mountain Loop - Easy hike near Vancouver Burnaby Mountain - Hikes near Vancouver

78 thoughts on “Burnaby Mountain Loop – Local Adventures

  1. Very cool loop. I’m always in awe of nature, but I don’t know much about the trees so thanks for including that. My favorite thing is the sculpture at the top – very neat.

    1. Thanks Pamela! I have got used to spotting the Cedar and Douglas Fir trees…but I still find it hard to work out the others! I’m glad it’s nit just me that is clueless about them. 🤣

  2. How lucky are you to have this so close! I love the mossy face and those cores are stunning.

    1. lol I have to admit, it didn’t feel close on my bike with all the hills – but I love that I can reach it easily with a bit of a challenge!

  3. Wow you are absolutely lucky to spend lockdown on such a beautiful place..I wish I could step out n visit a place during this time..awesome pictures..love the greenery

    1. Where are you on lock-down Madhu? I’ve been loving your insta photos, but I guess they are from when you were still on the go!? Do you have any good trails or pretty places nearby?

    1. No way!? I have obviously never looked at your tagline properly as I totally thought you were both Danish! Does that mean you guys come back to Vancouver every so often? Maybe we can go hiking together one day!?

    1. It does sound like things are a bit more sensible up in Scotland. My parents were telling me how strange and mixed the messages are for England!

      Lots of the trails are still closed here, but the patios and restaurants are starting to open, so it is such a weird mix of social distancing…and not social distancing!

  4. What a beautiful trail! I love how lush and green it is and I love the views! Also those statues are such a nice surprise to discover.

    1. Yeah, when I saw them I assumed they were something first nations related (as there are bears and eagles on the tops of the posts) but it was really cool to find out it’s by Japanese artists. I miss Japan so much, so it’s always nice to see a bit of Japanese where you least expect it! 😀

  5. What a gorgeous loop to hike with spectacular views too! I love how you can make the loop easier or harder depending on your level of fitness. And what a surprise to see art here and there, an added perk! Great tip on remembering to turn around. So often the views behind us are just as pretty if not more! 😁

    1. Hehehe I always turn around to look at the views. It’s so I can catch my breath when I’m feeling tired!! 🤣🤣

  6. I’ve never visited Vancouver, but I love that there’s a mountain you can climb in the city. The views you posted are absolutely beautiful! That’s awesome that you’re able to see the Vancouver high-rises too. I also liked the rhododendron flowers, and the mossy face. Beautiful trails!

    1. Yeah it’s always cool to look down on high rises from mountains – there are more (even higher) mountains just North of the city that also have great views for that!

  7. What a beautiful trail! I love how stunning and green it is! I haven’t visited Vancouver but I’d love to go one day. Thanks for the great guide!

    1. Yeah, before the city was here, this was a temperate rainforest, so it is always pretty lush and green! I am really glad you like the look of it all. I hope you can visit post Covid-19.

  8. The more I read your blog the more I’m convinced I should move to Vancouver! I love Toronto, but we don’t have access to nature like this. This is such a lovely trail to have accessible from the city. Saving this for the next time I’m in Van!

    1. Yay! Come and move over – the winters are much easier to handle too. Although I think the food might be slightly better in Toronto. I looooved all the ramen over on your side of Canada!

  9. I’ve often wondered about the trails on Burnaby Mountain but never actually hiked there (I’ve just driven up to see the view :-). Now I know you can make a decent 10 km loop, I’m tempted to use this as a spring training hike!

    1. Yeah, I was thinking it would be good for winter hikes too (as long as there isn’t too much snow.) The steepness level is similar to other North Shore Mountains…it’s just over much faster!

      You might really enjoy the cycle route along the Trans Canada trail too from near New Brighton Park. I was impressed with everything about it (apart from how hard the hills were!)

  10. Those sculptures are beautiful! I love trails like this that are easy to access and offer a little bit of something for everyone. Thanks for sharing this one!

    1. Thanks for reading Susan! I agree, it’s good to have areas with trails for all abilities. Although I guess hard-core climbers might get bored here!

  11. The mountain views look incredible. This looks like one amazing loop to explore. Will be adding this to my list of places to visit. Great post!

  12. I haven’t been here in many years, maybe it’s about time I visited again. The views are incredible and it’s a lovely area, and like you said you can walk as much or as little as you want so don’t have to commit to a really long hike. Also I had no idea Burnaby had an official flower!

    1. Same! Since I found our that rhododendrons are their official flower I have been seeing them everywhere! There are sooo many coloured versions of them around the city!

    1. Thanks Patricia! It’s hard to see from my photos, but they have local animals perching on top of them! I loved seeing the bear and the eagle. 😀

  13. I like how green Vancouver looks and how hiking/adventuring seems to be a big part of the local culture! I enjoy trail running and hiking in the UK, but I have to admit, I miss the great Canadian wilderness (even though Quebec’s mountains are nothing compared the those on the West Coast). It looks like a lovely trail and a very enjoyable walk!

    1. Yeah I do love how soooo many people seem to appreciate the outdoors here. I feel like some people love the trails back home, but far fewer than here (plus hiking seems a bit narrower in the UK, it was almost always only white people on the trails, and the age range is a bit older…)

      I was wondering, do you think Instagram is having an affect on walkers/runner in the UK and getting more young people on the trails to pretty places?

      Oooh also, I joined Strava. Are you on there too?

      1. I find the outdoors is more ‘accessible’ back home, more open to everyone?

        Instagram certainly gets more young people out and on the trails in the UK, but not always in a ‘good’ way. We often see groups of younger adults park like two minutes from easy summits like Mam Tor or Burbage Edge, take a bunch of photos and then drive away. I even saw a girl change outfits once! But I’m hoping those are not the majority.

        I’ve noticed a lot more people walking/running since the beginning of lockdown though! I think that’s good.

        Yeah, a new Strava friend! I am indeed on there – you should find me easily by my name, but if not, send me a message on FB and I’ll send you the link. 🙂

        1. I think you are right. Plus, so many people enjoy it, it’s less scary for new people to give it a go.

          There is some of the insta madness here too, but I think it has a net-positive effect of getting more people outside. I guess the main issue here is that it can be dangerous to go out without the 10 essentials…and insta-folks are not always good at learning about leave no trace.

          Lol yes to more people walking/running since the lockdown. I am totally one of the thousands of new runners here. I think I found you on Strava. Woot woot!!

  14. Wow, what an impressive park! The size, the views, the variety of fauna, incredible! And I had to laugh when you mentioned you found Nemo 😉 How great you finally got to visit this park, I’m sure you’ll return often now too, happy exploring and thanks for sharing!

    1. Yay Thanks Zarina! That made me laugh too. I wasn’t expecting to find him on top of a mountain! 😉

  15. This trail is beautiful, takes you into a pure nature-land with no pollution, concrete structures.Just all natural. One day would love to visit this.

    1. Hehe, not quite pure nature (there are paths, manicured gardens, and you can see the skyscrapers…) but it is a pretty good imitation of nature. 😉

  16. There are so many places that are kindasorta near me that I never really had a chance to explore, but am finally getting around to exploring due to needing to stay more local during the lockdown. Thanks for sharing this find–it’s definitely a beautiful park, and that playground looks like fun too! The mossy face is super cute, hehe. :]

    1. Woot woot! I hope you can get out to those kindasorta near you spots Farrah. I have to admit, my concept on kindasorta near me has grown since the lock down as we’ve walked and cycled more…so I feel like I have got to know the city a bit better…

  17. Burnaby Mountain Loop seems to be an enchanting place. Great to head out to and commune with nature. Reading about the place itself is so therapeutic when one is confined indoors.

  18. If there’s one thing we can all learn through this lockdown period is to appreciate the beauty at our backyard ! Great that you got the opportunity to check out this beautiful nature space near you ! The biking trail is very scenic, I would love to give it a try if I have the chance. Love the art wall on the water tank (I assume) ! =)

    1. Yes, I *think* that was a water tank (I’m not totally sure). It was all a great (but steep) trail for bikes!

  19. Wow, wow, wow! This trail looks and sounds amazing. I am so jealous you have this so near by to where you live, it’s beautiful and really makes me want to go on a hike! Also what an amazing place to have a university – up in nature 🙂

    1. It does look like a great spot for university! Plus, because they are at the top of the mountain, they are more likely to get snow days in winter than the rest of Vancouver…

  20. Wow! This is such a peaceful and breathtaking landscape! I visited parts of Canada when I was 12, but that was a LONG time ago! Can’t wait to go back with Kerstin in a near future.

  21. Thank you for taking us on your journey as you explore the parks and nature walks around you during these difficult times! Looks like a great place to spend time outdoors. I am really missing access to greenspace right now. Looking forward to seeing where you are headed next 🙂

    1. Yay, thank you for your sweet words Courtney. Do you guys not have any access to parks at the moment? I hope you have a garden!

    1. Yeah, i thought so too. I think they must have taken some inspiration from some of the First Nation’s sculptures here in BC, so it is a mix of Canadian and Japanese influences…

  22. I did the Burnaby Loop on one of my visits to Vancouver. I’ve done a few others too, like Lynn Canyon. There are so many great hiking trails there that it’s so hard to make a choice sometimes!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.