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Parks, river, wetlands: 'Hiking paradise' along new Port Coquitlam loop trail

“This is going to be one of the most popular places in Port Coquitlam,” Mayor Brad West told the Tri-City News on March 20, 2024.

Last summer, friends of Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West were climbing the Coquitlam Crunch regularly when they suggested a similar uphill trek be built in their hometown, too.

West took their advice and tasked the city’s parks staff to find a spot in the city where hikers could get a good elevation gain on custom-built timber steps.

Having grown up in the Mary Hill/Citadel neighbourhoods, West — a former pupil of Hazel Trembath Elementary — knew the parks and trails on the hill well, and was pleased when staff quickly came back with a natural fit for the area.

Now, city crews are building a $400,000 trail, with the first phase due to be finished by early summer.

When complete later this year, hikers along the 6.5-kilometre loop will:

  • pass throught ƛ̓éxətəm (tla-hut-um) Regional Park, formerly known as Colony Farm Regional Park, on the eastern side of the Coquitlam River
  • cross Shaughnessy Street to a new set of 210 timber-crib stairs — a 30 m elevation gain over 150 m
  • climb up to Skyline Park on Eastern Drive, where there’s an off-leash dog park
  • circle Hazel Trembath Elementary and Citadel Middle
  • follow Citadel Drive to Castle Crescent and Castle Park
  • walk over the Mary Hill Bypass pedestrian crossing to Argue Street
  • connect with the Traboulay PoCo Trail back to ƛ̓éxətəm, crossing at the bypass and Shaughnessy Street

Joshua Frederick, PoCo’s director of engineering and public works, told the Tri-City News this morning, March 20, that there will be plenty of measures put in place to make the trail safe, including flashing beacons along Shaughnessy for pedestrians to reach the stairs.

But he said, for the most part, city crews will be following existing pathways and not disturbing nature (four trees were recently cut for safety reasons).

The loop is designed to have “a number of unique experiences for hikers,” Frederick said, noting the “backcountry challenge” of the stairs, the parks and playgrounds at the summit and the bird- and wildlife-watching near the Fraser River and the ƛ̓éxətəm wetlands.

"It's a hiking paradise," he said.

Parking will be near the trailheads along Shaughnessy; by Skyline, Castle and Settlers parks; and on Argue Street, Frederick said.

Hikers can head either direction and, for those who need a pit stop, washrooms are on Argue Street; at Settlers Park (Confederation Drive); and at Castle Park.

West said no consultation with the nearby kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem) First Nation was needed as the western part of the loop is on Metro Vancouver land; as well, there are no plans to bring in corporate sponsorship to offset the capital or operational costs, budgeted at $25,000 a year for maintenance and monitoring.

Also, the city did not consult residential neighbours about the project; however, staff did review other hiking grinds around Metro Vancouver, such as Coquitlam’s and in Squamish, to learn about their tourist draws.

The Coquitlam Crunch, a popular fitness challenge that has a 242 m elevation gain (versus 75 m for the new PoCo trail), also follows a BC Hydro right-of-way. It sees about 50,000 hikers per month during the summer.

“This is going to be one of the most popular places in Port Coquitlam,” West told the Tri-City News.

“It’s promoting healthy active living. It’s about our residents being in nature. A lot of people are very excited.”

Meanwhile, the city is calling on Port Coquitlam residents to name the new loop trail. The deadline is April 7 to submit suggestions via

Video courtesy of the City of Port Coquitlam

Coquitlam Crunch 2.0

As for the southern extension of the Coquitlam Crunch, it remains in the preliminary design and technical studies phase.

“We are focused on responding to the new provincial legislation as it relates to population density and distribution as well as mechanisms for funding park and facility development,” said Ted Uhrich, Coquitlam’s manager of parks and facility planning.