Although I have really enjoyed our epic hikes this summer, sometimes we both fancy something short and easy. The High Knoll Trail in Minnekhada Regional Park is perfect for those days. We did this walk in the afternoon after sleeping in. It made for a fun relaxing day with just enough effort to make us feel like we hadn’t wasted the sunshine. This park is located in Coquitlam, so about 40 minutes from Vancouver.
This hike (or a shorter variation of it) would be great for kids, or people that are just getting into hiking. The path up to the high knoll will get your heart pumping, but it is not very difficult. Just be aware if you do this hike with little’uns, you should all stay together in a group as there are lots of bear sightings (as well as occasional cougar sightings) in this area.
High Knoll Trail Map
High Knoll Trail – the basics
Elevation Gain: 265m
High Point: 180m
Time: 2-3 hours
What to bring:
This walk is not too hard, but you’ll want water, snacks and your camera!
There is a car park and a pit toilet at the trailhead.
This is doggy heaven, but you must keep them on a lead.
How hard is it?
Minnekhada Regional Park is north of Coquitlam, near the Pitt River and the Pitt-Addington Marsh. There are a bunch of trails that you can make into a fun loop that involves three viewpoints as well as the historic Minnekhada Lodge. The best thing about this park is all the wildlife and birds that you’ll be able to see as you hike along the marsh.
Be Bear aware
Last week I wrote about one of my hike fails when we had to turn back because there was too much snow on the trail. Well, the first time I visited Minnekhada Park with my friend Lori, we had a bear-related hike fail. We had to turn back after I nearly walked into a bear! When we started the hike, we found some *very* fresh looking bear poop (you can tell it’s bear poop as it will look like a chewed pile of berries.) Then, as we started to hike up the trail to the high knoll, I came around a corner to be face-to-face with a very cute juvenile bear! I had my camera in my hand, so I snapped the photo below – but I didn’t stop to check it or frame it as I was right next to a bear! The bear walked off down the trail and we went back the way we came; The path is narrow so we couldn’t get around the bear without disturbing it. On that day we never made it up to the high knoll.
If you are ever in a similar situation, you should keep at least 100m between you and a bear. On this occasion I only saw him when I was about 10 meters away, so we needed to back away straight away.
I came back a year later with Marc, and on our second attempt, the park was super-busy, so we didn’t meet any bears, so I can show you the views!
Both times I have visited this trail, there have been thousands and thousands of teeny toads hopping around on the paths. You need to be really careful not to stand on them!
Once you make it to the marshland, you’ll see there are plenty more toads coming soon!
The wet areas of the park are fantastic for spotting birds and insects. The views are pretty great considering you don’t need to put in any effort to reach this area.
Low Knoll Viewpoint
Once you have crossed the marsh, head into the trees and take the mid-marsh trail up towards the viewpoints. We went to the low knoll viewpoint first because I was not paying attention, but it’s probably better to head for the high knoll first (so you don’t need to backtrack as much.) This lower viewpoint is a bit blocked by trees, but it’s still a pleasant place to stop.
The forest in Minnekhada Regional Park are so lush and beautiful. I love the way the sunlight lit up all the ferns, and the ground is covered in awesome mazes of tree roots.
I love these kinds of forest walks.
High Knoll Viewpoint
The path is steep, but it doesn’t take long to reach the high knoll for fantastic views of the marshes, the Pitt River, and it you look carefully, you can see the sky scrapers off in the distance.
Heading to Addington Lookout
There is one more viewpoint along the route (which is a mini detour from the main path.) I totally forgot to take a photo, but it has closer views of the Pitt River.
We just enjoyed our hike through the trees, with the sun streaming through the new greenery. There were fewer toads on this side of the park, but we still had to watch out for them to make sure they didn’t get squished.
There were quite a few wildflowers and berries along this trail as well. I guess this is why it is so popular with bears.
I especially loved all the blue hydrangeas by Minnekhada Lodge. They reminded me of our wedding in the English countryside.
Minnekhada Park’s Marshlands
Once you’ve visited the Minnekhada Lodge, you just need to walk back along the mashland to return to the car park.
If you fancy a pretty, but not too exhausting walk, or you’d like to take children out on a hike; The High Knoll trail in Minnekhada Regional Park, is pretty perfect. It is also open all year ’round. So I think this would be a great option during the shoulder seasons, when there is snow at higher elevations.