Renfrew Ravine Park- Local Vancouver Walks

Renfrew Ravine Park- Local Vancouver Walks

Renfrew Ravine and Still Creek in East VanI found a teeny slice of real wilderness in East Van, Renfrew Ravine Park. It is a long creek at the bottom of a ravine that somehow avoided being built over as East Van engulfed it. The wild area stretches for about 7-8 blocks where it is hard to believe you’re in the middle of a residential area! In 2018, the Vancouver Park Board and the Still Moon Arts Society worked together to make this area more accessible, building a staircase, boardwalk and replanting native trees, shrubs, and ferns along the ravine.

When I stumbled across the ravine, I didn’t know any of this. I was just looking for green areas and exploring them while we were staying close to home in social isolation. This is just one of the gorgeous Vancouver parks that I found over the last few months.

Renfrew Park

You can see one end of Still Creek just North of Renfrew Ravine Park, by the library in Renfrew Park. Once you’ve found this, you just need to cross the road at 22nd Avenue to make your way to the entrance of the Ravine.

Renfrew Mosaics

At the North entrance to the Renfrew Ravine, there is a bench covered with moasics. As well as an intricate mosaic covering the floor. I guess this give you a clue that this is no ordinary park!

New steps down to Still Creek

The mosaics lead you a brand new wooden stairway that you can follow down into the wilderness. The sides of the ravine are very steep. This means once you’ve made it to the creek, you can’t hear the traffic so loudly and it’s easy to forget you are in the middle of Vancouver.

Renfrew Ravine boardwalk

The boardwalk is not very long, but it makes it very easy to access the bottom of the Renfrew ravine. In early spring the whole area gave off the pungent pong of skunk cabbages.

Skunk Cabbages

I  am probably in the minority, but I really love seeing skunk cabbages. It’s partly because I loved the amaaazing patch of them near Revelstoke. I read that bears eat these plants in the spring because they act as a laxative, to unblock the bears fecal plug that clogs up their intestines while they sleep through winter. So, if you see skunk cabbages starting to flower, bears will be waking up, and it means spring is on the way.

Salmon returned to Still Creek

With the exception of here in the ravine, Still Creek is mostly covered up as it flows through some of Vancouver’s industrial areas to reach Burnaby Lake. Unfortunately pollution and garbage found it’s way into the creek, and killed off the wildlife for many, many years. However conservation efforts from local people have helped restore this habitat; So since 2012, wild Chum salmon have started to return to the creek!

I found a beautiful reflection written by Crecien Bencio for the Still Moon Arts Society about the salmon returning to Still Creek.

Renfrew Ravine poetry

Renfrew Ravine Renfrew Ravine
What colour are your beautiful leaves?
Are they purple? Are they yellow? Are they blue or green?
My leaves are green but don’t be so mean.

The route to Renfrew Ravine Park

There are a few other wonders on the walk to this part of East Van. For some reason, when I took Marc back to visit the ravine, we found a tree (close to Trout Lake) that seemed to grow shoes instead of fruits! Can you tell from the photo below? We spotted at least 15 pairs of shoes hanging from this tree. Why do people hang their shoes from trees and wires here!?

We also found quite a few quiet roads with fantastic views of the North Shore Mountains. I like this view of Mount Fromme.

Access to Renfrew Ravine:

If you ever want to visit Renfrew Ravine from other parts of the city, you can follow the BC Parkway cycle/walking route that (roughly) follows the Expo SkyTrain Line. Or you can take the Sky Train to 29th Avenue Metro station.

I really enjoyed stumbling onto this slice of wilderness in East Van. It was even more fun to look up information about it and discover how this park is so well loved by the surrounding community. Please have a peek at the Still Moon Arts Society page if you’d like to find out more or get involved in their volunteer work.

If you’d like to visit Renfrew Ravine Park or Still Creek, click on the pins below to save them.

Renfrew Ravine and Still Creek in East Van Pretty Mosaic by the entrance to Renfrew Ravine Steps down into Renfrew Ravine in East Van

34 thoughts on “Renfrew Ravine Park- Local Vancouver Walks

  1. Dear Josy Beanz, I was under the impression that pairs of hanging shoes were delineating Drug gangs turf. I expect this is all wrong or at least out of date. But once outside Paddy Coyne’s pub in Tully Cross, there were a pair of trainers over a wire. I asked about them and was assured this was no prank or bullying, but a way of marking out gang territory. As ever lovely post. Much Love,, Lis

    1. Thanks mum!

      I don’t think it can mean the same thing here, I mean a shoe-filled tree doesn’t seem like a thing for gangs does it!?

  2. I loved Van when I visited! As most tourists do, I stayed in the city so didn’t get much time exploring the out skirts! I would have loved to take this hike on! Looks beautiful

    1. Yeah, don’t worry, that is very normal! We lived here for three years before I started exploring these smaller parks – I only really started due to Covid-19!

    1. Thanks Lyne! Don’t worry…this isn’t a famous park – it was just nice to stumble upon it, so I wanted to share how pretty it was.

  3. What a lovely spot in Vancouver! It is so lovely to spend outdoors, especially these days. Thanks for the information on skunk cabbages – so interesting!

    1. Lol don’t worry, this is not a famous area at all. We lived here for three years before I found it (and then, I only noticed it on the map because covid-19 got me searching for local green areas)

      If you like hiking though, you will love it here!

  4. This was great and the wildness aspect special but i do think you overshared about skunk cabbages and self medicating bears. I cannot remove the image of the moment the laxative works and a four month in gestation fecal plug departs its owner’s anus, no doubt confusing NASA into registering a near miss as it burns leaving Earth’s atmosphere… it’s breakfast here you know…

    1. Hahaha sorry Geoff! It was a bit TMI. Before I read about that, I had never even considered what happens to bears need to poop through the wintertime.

  5. What a beautiful slice of greenery and a great place to escape! I love it when I find hidden escapes in the city. It’s surprising how short a distance you have to go to find a bit of nature sometimes! Thanks for the wonderful guide!

    1. I always love it when the mountains turn pink/purple like that. You just never know when it will happen.

  6. I wish we had such beautiful parks close by to us here in Toronto. Keeping this walk in mind for the next time I’m in Van! (Hopefully soon!)

    1. Oooh are you visiting Erin!? Let me know if you need help planning adventures here.

      p.s. Does Toronto not have gorgeous parks? It looks like you have lots of green areas on the map…

  7. Wow I had no clue there was a walk like this in East Van! Coming from North Van we don’t tend to think about trails in other areas haha so I would love to check this out and visit Trout Lake too 🙂

    1. To be fair, I don’t know if I would come from North Van to experience the nature of East Van! 🤣 We were just staying away from the North Shore during the pandemic…we finally went back to some North Shore trails last weekend and it was perfect!

      You are sooooo lucky to live close to the mountains.

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