Time needed: 2-3 hours
Length: 7 km
Elevation gain: 350 m
This circuit of Minnekhada Regional Park takes in all three of the park’s main viewpoints, and can be easily completed as a leisurely morning or afternoon hike.
The park is rich in wildlife and bear sightings are common.
Start at the parking lot on Quarry Road and head along the trail for a short distance to the first trail junction. Bear left at the first three junctions and right at the fourth; this keeps you on the perimeter of the park.
After about a kilometre, the trail will begin to ascend over rougher terrain until it eventually brings you out at the junction for the High Knoll. Follow the steep path to the top of the High Knoll to emerge at a spectacular open viewpoint overlooking the Minnekhada marsh and out over Coquitlam and Burke Mountain.
Retrace your steps and turn left when you regain the main trail. In about 500 m you’ll hit the trail junction for the Low Knoll. A short, flat walk along this trail brings you out at a similar but less spectacular viewpoint.
Retrace again and turn right at the main trail. After 300 m, take the trail that heads out to Addington Lookout. The trail ascends and descends before emerging at a very nice viewpoint that overlooks the Pitt Marshes and Golden Ears.
From here, it is possible to descend and pick up the dike paths but for this hike, we again retrace and head left at the main trail. The trail back to the parking lot follows the lake shore and passes by Minnekhada Lodge. This heritage building is definitely worth checking out and is open to the public for viewing from 1 to 4 p.m. on the first Sunday of the month.
Turn left at the last junction you’ll encounter to take you back to the parking lot.
Steve Chapman is a Coquitlam Search and Rescue volunteer, a member of the Burke Mountain Naturalists and the creator behind a detailed new map of Tri-City trails. More info on safe hiking: www.coquitlam-sar.bc.ca.