Vancouver’s North Shore may get all the glory, but there is no shortage of worthwhile hiking to be found in the Tri-Cities.
From easygoing nature walks to challenging treks, the Tri-Cities offer trails for hikers of every ability. Remember: pack the 10 essentials and leave a trip plan with a reliable person.
Here are four day-trips featured in my new guidebook, 105 Hikes in and around Southwestern British Columbia, published by Greystone Books.
• Mount Beautiful (Round trip: 20 km. Elevation gain: 1,130 m): A bump on Eagle Ridge, Mount Beautiful rises between Buntzen Lake and Coquitlam Lake in Anmore. This gruelling summer loop lies in Say Nuth Khaw Yum/Indian Arm Provincial Park, B.C. Hydro’s Buntzen Lake Recreation Area, and the territories of the Tsleil-Waututh, Kwikwetlem, Musqueam, Squamish, and Stó:lo First Nations.
Just north of the Powerhouse Road gate, go east on the Lindsay Lake Loop portion of the Halvor Lunden Trail. Follow orange blazes up Eagle Ridge, where you shall keep left at all junctions. At El Paso junction, choose viewpoints over lakes by forking left. From Lindsay Lake, continue north on the Swan Falls Loop, where route-finding can be especially challenging in snow.
From Mount Beautiful’s summit, the views extend from Mount Garibaldi to Mount Baker. Press on north to a saddle, where a super-steep trail drops left to Swan Falls and the north end of Buntzen Lake. Turn left on Powerhouse Road and take the Buntzen Lake Trail back to South Beach.
• Coquitlam Lake View Trail (Round trip: 13 km. Elevation gain: 600 m): Let’s call this rainy-day, shoulder-season outing on Coquitlam’s Burke Mountain the falls bagger’s special: Sawblade Falls is the entrée, Dry Crossing Falls is the appetizer and Woodland Walk Falls is the dessert. This triple serving is found in Pinecone Burke Provincial Park — in Katzie, Kwikwetlem and Stó:lo territories.
Starting at the Harper Road gate, head northeast on the Garbage mountain-bike path. Emerging on a gravel road, pick the right uphill fork and follow Coquitlam Lake View Trail signs north. Cross Coho Creek at Dry Crossing Falls to earn reservoir vistas at trail’s end.
A map is essential for discovering the Sawblade bike path, finding Sawblade Falls and Woodland Walk Falls, and taking the Woodland Walk back to the Garbage trail.
• High Knoll (Round trip: 7.5 km. Elevation gain: 165 m): Coquitlam’s Minnekhada Regional Park is a family-friendly jewel in Katzie territory. From the Minnekhada Lodge parking area, strike off east on the Fern Trail. After mandatory side trips to Addington Lookout and Low Knoll, turn right at the next two junctions to ascend the High Knoll Trail. The day’s outstanding high point overlooks the Pitt River and Lower Marsh.
Backtrack and continue north (right) to loop around the Upper Marsh, staying left on the Quarry Trail. Turn left on the Log Walk and follow the Mid-Marsh Trail over the scenic dike. Go right at the tri-junction to revisit the Fern Trail en route to the trailhead.
• Lakeview Trail (Round trip: 11 km. Elevation gain: 150 m): Suitable for kids and rainy days, the Lakeview Trail adds some ups and downs to a loop hike at Buntzen Lake. From South Beach, start southwest on the Energy Trail and keep right to take the Buntzen Lake Trail over a floating bridge. Hang a right on Pumphouse Road and continue north to find the Lakeview Trail on the left. As the trail rises and falls on the eastern slopes of Buntzen Ridge, there are steep sections. A viewpoint near the trail’s north end looks across Buntzen Lake to Swan Falls. Turn right on the Old Buntzen Lake Trail and left on the contemporary Buntzen Lake Trail to cross the suspension bridge. Head south and follow the Buntzen Lake Trail back to South Beach.
Stephen Hui is the author of 105 Hikes in and around Southwestern British Columbia, and a former resident of Coquitlam and Port Moody. Visit 105hikes.com.