Don’t spend the winter indoors. There’s plenty to see and do in the Tri-Cities outdoors. Take advantage of our natural setting to enjoy these six winter walks.
1. Lafarge Lake, Coquitlam
If you want the holiday season to last a little longer, visit Lights at Lafarge, the Lower Mainland’s largest free outdoor lights display, which is located in Town Centre Park. The lights will be on from dusk to 11 p.m. nightly to Jan. 20, and through midnight on New Year’s Eve. Visit the City of Coquitlam website (www.coquitlam.ca) for parking and site map information. This is an easy 1.2 km loop that takes walkers past more than 10 zones including a winter lights entry gate, a 90 foot caterpillar, a woodland garden and more. If you are making a New Year’s resolution, write it down at the Warming Tent on Saturday, Jan. 5 from 6-8 p.m, and on Sunday, Jan. 6, visit the TD Community Plaza to play light up frisbee or badminton, or try the lighted walking poles. There is also a concession on site throughout the season for hot chocolate and treats.
2. Coquitlam Crunch Trail, Coquitlam
Start your New Year’s off right with a brisk 2.2.km walk up to the top of Westwood Plateau with an 800 foot elevation gain. Start at either Eagle Ridge Park, Guildford Way, Lansdowne Drive, David Avenue and Bramble Park and follow the BC Hydro right of way to take advantage of a heart-pounding walk and some great views. There are washrooms and parking at Eagle Ridge Park and Bramble Park. In January of 2018, Coquitlam council approved further upgrades to the crunch that will include other trail amenities in the future. But for now, taking this walk up over hundreds of steps is a great way to kick-start your New Year’s fitness regime.
3. Colony Farm Regional Park, Coquitlam
This park features birds and grasslands and the possibility of walking a loop consisting of Garden Trail. 0.6 km, Home Farm Dyke Trail, 1.8 km, Mundy Creek Trail, 0.4 km and Colony Farm Road Trail 1.2 km. Wear boots as it can get muddy. Currently the Sheep Paddocks Trail is closed so there is no access to Pitt River Road. The best access is from the parking lot at the main entrance, next to the community gardens, off Colony Farm Road. Please respect nature and the Kwikwetlem First Nations land and keep dogs on leach. Take note that on Jan. 5, Burke Mountain Naturalists will be in the area for the annual Christmas Bird Count. For a downloadable map of the park, visit www.metrovancouver.org
4 Shoreline Park, Port Moody
This park features fabulous views of Port Moody inlet and is an easy 6 km roundtrip walk along a multi-use path, stretching from the pier at Rocky Point Park and ending at Old Orchard Park. You’ll see the remains of the old McNair Cedar Mill, which burned down in 1949, and Noons Creek Hatchery is a quick detour just past the Port Moody Recreation Centre. Old Orchard Park has picnic tables and a playground. To extend your stay in Port Moody, visit Brewery Row or the Port Moody Station Museum on Murray Street, just outside Rocky Point Park, for a quick drink or a dash of local history.
5. Blakeburn Lagoons Park, Port Coquitlam
This 11-hectare (27-acre) park, located in the 2900 block of Elbow Place, just opened to the public in April 2018, and has since become a popular bird-watching destination. Featuring 1.6 km of looped walking trails, seating, viewing platforms, educational signage, varied habitat zones, wildlife-only habitat islands and local plants, Blakeburn Lagoons is an easy walk for most people and a great way to enjoy nature in the city. The park was also designed to help manage storm water runoff in the Riverwood neighborhoods and recently won a 2018 Sustainability Communities Award.
6, Minnekhada Regional Park, Coquitlam
For a visit to tranquil forests and marsh trails, with plenty of viewing points, Minnekhada Regional Park is tops on the local trails list. There are two entrances, one at Minnekhada Lodge, off Oliver Road, and another off Quarry Road. Metro Vancouver offers a downloadable map of the trails on its website, featuring plenty of shorter and longer trails, depending on your time and fitness. The park is also home to Minnekhada Lodge, a 1930s country estate with views of the Pitt River. Regional Park hours until Jan. 21 are from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dogs are welcome (except for in the lodge), but must be leashed. Also, due to a slide, the northern portion of the Minnkehada Perimeter Trail has been closed for safety reasons.