Exploring Nature in Burnaby, British Columbia via Urban Trails

Updated on November 8, 2017
AliciaC profile image

Linda Crampton is a writer and teacher who lives in Greater Vancouver. She enjoys walking and likes to take photographs of her discoveries.

Looking along the Burnaby Mountain Urban Trail to Burrard Inlet
Looking along the Burnaby Mountain Urban Trail to Burrard Inlet | Source

An Easy Way to Explore Nature

Burnaby is a city in British Columbia, Canada. It's a wonderful place for someone who needs to live in a city but also wants to stay in touch with nature. The city has a network of urban trails for walkers, runners, cyclists, inline skaters, and wheelchairs. To a large extent, these trails travel by natural areas, where there are lots of opportunities to observe nature. Some sections of the trails do travel through a city environment, but even in these areas the trail is usually bordered by cultivated plants that attract birds and insects.

There is an access point to the Burnaby Mountain Urban Trail near my home. I travel along the trail almost every day in order to give my dog and myself some exercise, to explore nature, or to visit nearby shopping centres which are close to the trail. In this article I'lł focus on the Burnaby Mountain Urban Trail and an extension that travels to the top of Burnaby Mountain and the Trans Canada Trail. The mountain offers beautiful views of Burrard Inlet and the surrounding areas. All of the photos in this article were taken by me on my trips along the trail.

A maple tree by an urban trail
A maple tree by an urban trail

What Is an Urban Trail?

As its name implies, an urban trail travels through a city. The ones in my area travel through suburban areas as well as urban areas and are paved with asphalt.

An urban trail isn't the same as a sidewalk. It's wider than a sidewalk in order to accommodate pedestrians, cyclists, and inline skaters at the same time. In addition, the designers try to make urban trails look attractive by adding items such as flower and plant borders, benches, and map displays. The trails may run parallel to a sidewalk, replace a sidewalk, or follow a different route from the sidewalks in the area.

Urban trails are enjoyable to explore. They're great for nervous cyclists or for a cycling family with young children who want to avoid vehicle traffic. In many parts of Burnaby they travel by useful places such as schools, libraries, recreation centres, and shopping centres. Urban trails also enable people to explore nature in a city. Two additional advantages of the trails are that they may encourage people to exercise and they may reduce travel by motorized vehicles.

Trees bordering the urban trail; the trail is on the right of the trees and a road is on the left
Trees bordering the urban trail; the trail is on the right of the trees and a road is on the left

Route Connections

Travelling along urban trails offers wonderful possibilities. The Burnaby trail network connects to other trails in Vancouver, so an enthusiastic walker or cyclist can travel a long distance and explore a lot of interesting scenery by following the trails. Connections to other trail systems in neighbouring communities are being created.

Travellers will eventually be able to explore the whole of the GVRD (Greater Vancouver Regional District) by urban trail. The GVRD is made of Vancouver and the cities that adjoin it, including Burnaby. People can also explore Canada by following the trail system. The Burnaby urban trail network connects to the Trans Canada Trail, which travels across the country.

A
Burnaby Mountain Urban Trail:
Burnaby Mountain Urban Trail, Burnaby, BC, Canada

get directions

The Burnaby Mountain Urban Trail travels around the base of Burnaby Mountain.

The Burnaby Mountain Urban Trail

The Burnaby Mountain Urban Trail travels around the base of Burnaby Mountain and is 6 km long. When it reaches Hastings Street it connects to a pedestrian bridge that takes people to the other side of the street. Here the trail slopes downwards along Cliff Avenue towards Burrard Inlet.

The Burnaby Mountain Trail also connects to the Trans Canada Trail on Hastings Street. This trail travels west into Vancouver and east up and over Burnaby Mountain. The Trans Canada Trail travels across Canada and is said to be the longest trail in the world.

I'm lucky to live near the most picturesque section of the Burnaby Mountain trail. Further to the east the trail passes though a light industrial area and the surroundings are not as attractive. The trail is still very useful, though. It travels by a school and ends near a library, recreation centre, and shopping mall. It also passes near three SkyTrain stations. Skytrain is a light rapid transit system that travels through Burnaby and Vancouver.

SkyTrain provides access to urban trails in both Burnaby and Vancouver, although sometimes a traveller needs to take a short walk from a train station to a trail. Bicycles are allowed on SkyTrain under certain conditions.

Nature Discoveries on the Trail

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A Northwestern crow beside the urban trailA bindweed flowerThe broadleaf arrowhead plant or duck potatoCultivated roses by the Hasting Street pedestrian overpassJapanese knotweed - invasive but beautifulHimalayan BalsamTrumpet flower vineAn insect visitor to a trumpet flower vineBlackberriesBittersweet nightshade
A Northwestern crow beside the urban trail
A Northwestern crow beside the urban trail
A bindweed flower
A bindweed flower
The broadleaf arrowhead plant or duck potato
The broadleaf arrowhead plant or duck potato
Cultivated roses by the Hasting Street pedestrian overpass
Cultivated roses by the Hasting Street pedestrian overpass
Japanese knotweed - invasive but beautiful
Japanese knotweed - invasive but beautiful
Himalayan Balsam
Himalayan Balsam
Trumpet flower vine
Trumpet flower vine
An insect visitor to a trumpet flower vine
An insect visitor to a trumpet flower vine
Blackberries
Blackberries
Bittersweet nightshade
Bittersweet nightshade

Urban Trail Photos

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A jogger runs along the Burnaby Mountain Urban TrailHere the trail leaves the treed area temporarily and travels beside houses.Heading along the trail in the opposite directionAnother section of the trailPart of the Burnaby Mountain Urban TrailAn official access point to the Burnaby Mountain Urban Trail; there are lots of other access pointsAnother view of the access pointLooking from the urban trail towards a small shopping centre (located on the right)This route leaves the urban trail and travels up Burnaby Mountain. It gets much steeper (and much wilder, depending on your choice of route) than this!
A jogger runs along the Burnaby Mountain Urban Trail
A jogger runs along the Burnaby Mountain Urban Trail
Here the trail leaves the treed area temporarily and travels beside houses.
Here the trail leaves the treed area temporarily and travels beside houses.
Heading along the trail in the opposite direction
Heading along the trail in the opposite direction
Another section of the trail
Another section of the trail
Part of the Burnaby Mountain Urban Trail
Part of the Burnaby Mountain Urban Trail
An official access point to the Burnaby Mountain Urban Trail; there are lots of other access points
An official access point to the Burnaby Mountain Urban Trail; there are lots of other access points
Another view of the access point
Another view of the access point
Looking from the urban trail towards a small shopping centre (located on the right)
Looking from the urban trail towards a small shopping centre (located on the right)
This route leaves the urban trail and travels up Burnaby Mountain. It gets much steeper (and much wilder, depending on your choice of route) than this!
This route leaves the urban trail and travels up Burnaby Mountain. It gets much steeper (and much wilder, depending on your choice of route) than this!

Burnaby Mountain

Burnaby Mountain can be reached from the Burnaby Mountain Urban Trail by walking or cycling along a connecting route or by joining the Trans Canada Trail on Hastings Street. Either route to the park and conservation area at the top of Burnaby Mountain is uphill, however. Some people might find it easier to take a bus to Simon Fraser University, which is next to the conservation area, or to drive up Centennial Way to the Burnaby Mountain Park parking lot.

Burnaby Mountain is 1214 feet high. This is low compared to the nearby North Shore Mountains, but Burnaby Mountain is high enough to collect snow in winter when there's no snow at its base. The mountain is forested, apart from an area set aside for Simon Fraser University and another area for Burnaby Mountain Park. Trails lead through the forest and are fun to explore.

The park is known for its wonderful views of Vancouver, Burnaby and the Burrard inlet. It also contains a beautiful rose garden and an impressive sculpture. The sculpture is known as Kamui Mintara, or Playground of the Gods. It was created by sculptors from Kushiro, which is Burnaby's sister city in Japan. Burnaby Mountain Park also contains a restaurant, a children's playground, and an open area covered in grass. People like to relax, admire the view, or eat a picnic on the grass. It's also a popular area for kite fliers.

Burnaby Mountain Park

A rose in the Burnaby Mountain Park rose garden
A rose in the Burnaby Mountain Park rose garden

Photos of the Park

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Burnaby Mountain Park with the Playground of the Gods sculpture and the North Shore Mountains in the backgroundThe Burnaby Mountain Park rose gardenAnother view of the rose gardenA closer view of some rosesLilies in the parkA connecting route to the Trans Canada Trail, which travels up Burnaby Mountain. The poles on the right indicate the direction of the Trans Canada Trail
Burnaby Mountain Park with the Playground of the Gods sculpture and the North Shore Mountains in the background
Burnaby Mountain Park with the Playground of the Gods sculpture and the North Shore Mountains in the background
The Burnaby Mountain Park rose garden
The Burnaby Mountain Park rose garden
Another view of the rose garden
Another view of the rose garden
A closer view of some roses
A closer view of some roses
Lilies in the park
Lilies in the park
A connecting route to the Trans Canada Trail, which travels up Burnaby Mountain. The poles on the right indicate the direction of the Trans Canada Trail
A connecting route to the Trans Canada Trail, which travels up Burnaby Mountain. The poles on the right indicate the direction of the Trans Canada Trail

Burrard Inlet

Burrard Inlet is a coastal fjord leading eastwards from the Strait of Georgia. The Strait of Georgia separates mainland British Columbia from Vancouver Island. British Columbia's capital city, Victoria, is located on Vancouver Island.

Burrard Inlet separates Vancouver and Burnaby (which is located to the east of Vancouver) from the North Shore Mountains and the cities of West Vancouver and North Vancouver. Bridges connect the two sides of the inlet. The inlet is a busy place. There's nearly always something interesting to see on the water. The Port of Vancouver is located beside Burrard Inlet.

A
Burrard Inlet, British Columbia:
Burrard Inlet, British Columbia, Canada

get directions

Photos of Burrard Inlet

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Looking down Cliff Avenue towards the inlet; the urban trail is on the leftBurrard Inlet Burrard Inlet viewed from a different  directionBurrard Inlet viewed from the top of Burnaby Mountain
Looking down Cliff Avenue towards the inlet; the urban trail is on the left
Looking down Cliff Avenue towards the inlet; the urban trail is on the left
Burrard Inlet
Burrard Inlet
Burrard Inlet viewed from a different  direction
Burrard Inlet viewed from a different direction
Burrard Inlet viewed from the top of Burnaby Mountain
Burrard Inlet viewed from the top of Burnaby Mountain

The Trans Canada Trail

The Burnaby Mountain Urban Trail provides access to the Trans Canada Trail. This trail was started in 1992—Canada's 125th birthday. It's about 24,000 kilometres long and stretches from the west coast of Canada to the east coast. In addition, a branch extends up into the Arctic.

Officially, the trail was completed in 2017, which was Canada's 150th birthday. Even the organizers admit that some sections need improvements, however. The connection between different parts of the country is complete, but not the trail itself. In some places, the "trail" is the shoulder of a road, for example. Some of the trail sections that have been truly finished are lovely based on what I've seen, but the potential dangers of the shoulder situation need to be solved.

A trikke is a three-wheeled vehicle that looks something like a non-motorized scooter. The rider propels the trikke by shifting their body weight. The video below shows the Burnaby Mountain Urban Trail as well as trikkes in action.

Trikking Along the Burnaby Mountain Urban Trail

Since walking, nature study, and photography are three of my favourite activities, I'm very lucky to live where I do. I can travel a short distance along my local urban trail, walk (or cycle) into other parts of Burnaby or into Vancouver along trails, or follow the Trans Canada Trail up Burnaby Mountain. I get exercise and see beautiful and interesting scenery at the same time. That's a great combination.

Questions & Answers

    © 2013 Linda Crampton

    Comments

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      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Thank you very much, Kristen. I appreciate your comment and vote!

      • Kristen Howe profile image

        Kristen Howe 

        3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Alicia, this was another beautiful hub about British Columbia. Lovely photos and nice travelogue descriptions about this bike trail. I never heard of Burrard Inlet and sounds lovely to visit someday. Voted up for beautiful!

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

        How wonderful to have a fifteen mile trail near your home, Patricia! Florida is one place that I've wanted to visit for a long time. I would love to see its wildlife and plants in person. Thank you very much for sending the angels!

      • pstraubie48 profile image

        Patricia Scott 

        3 years ago from sunny Florida

        What a treasure to have this accessible and to allow a walk in nature's beauty.

        We have many trails in Florida some of them considered urban. We have one that begins here in my little town and winds into a larger town about 15 miles beyond. I enjoy walking on it very much but it is so secluded that it is important to have a partner walk along with me I do enjoy it each time I go

        When I get to BC I will find this spot!!! That is one of my goals to travel there one day soon.

        Angels are on the way ps

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Thanks, DDE. It's fun to explore the trail. The walk provides lots of opportunities for taking interesting photos, too.

      • DDE profile image

        Devika Primić 

        4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

        An adventurous life indeed and such a wonderful experience to have

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Thank you, Dianna. I appreciate your visit and comment.

      • teaches12345 profile image

        Dianna Mendez 

        5 years ago

        I only wish I could take advantage of this trail. Very nicely done and written.

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Thank you very much, vespawoolf! I appreciate your visit and comment. Maybe one day I'll make it to Peru!

      • vespawoolf profile image

        vespawoolf 

        5 years ago from Peru, South America

        We paid a short visit to Vancouver a few years ago and hope to return someday soon! What a gorgeous city, and these photos testify to that fact. I'd love to ride a bike through Burnaby and then fly a kite. : ) Ah....I just wish I could be there right now. Thank you for sharing!

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Thank you very much for the offer, Deb!

      • aviannovice profile image

        Deb Hirt 

        5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

        Let me know when you want to come, and I will take you around my lake.

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Hi, Deb. I enjoy exploring the urban trails in my area, but I'd like to visit the Boomer Lake trail, too. Thanks for the visit.

      • aviannovice profile image

        Deb Hirt 

        5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

        This area isn't large enough for trails like you have, but there is a 5 km walkpath around Boomer Lake. Bus service runs 5 days a week, but not everywhere, which is better than nothing. You're in a much larger area than I am, but all things considered, it isn't too bad here.

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Hi, Elias. I do feel feel lucky that I live here! It's a lovely area. Thank you for the visit and the comment.

      • Elias Zanetti profile image

        Elias Zanetti 

        5 years ago from Athens, Greece

        Wonderful place and a beautiful tour to Burnaby. The combination of of urban lifestyle and nature is quite nice and you should fell really lucky you in such a nice city.

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Thank you very much for the comment, MPG Narratives. I appreciate the vote and the pin!

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Hi, Suhail. There are grocery stores and washrooms close to some parts of the trail, but people have to leave the trail to get to them. The photo of the shopping centre (which includes a grocery store) was taken from the trail. The access point shown in my photos has two water fountains, one for humans and one for dogs! Thank you very much for the votes. Suhail.

      • MPG Narratives profile image

        Marie Giunta 

        5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

        You certainly live in a beautiful part of Canada. This hub is beautiful, I've voted it up and pinned. Thanks for sharing your part of the world with us.

      • Suhail and my dog profile image

        Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 

        5 years ago from Mississauga, ON

        Now this is an ideal trail for K2 and us. Nicely covered with some excellent photography.

        I am guessing that since the trail passes through sub-urban areas, water, washroom, and groceries are available in the immediate vicinity.

        Voted up and awesome!

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Hi, Bill. Yes, I am lucky. I am so happy the Burnaby and the surrounding cities have decided to create these trails! Thank you for the vote and the shares.

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Thank you for the visit and the comment, drbj. Yes, the urban trail is a very nice place to walk!

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Hi, Vicki. Sechelt is a beautiful area! If I wasn't living in Burnaby I would love to live there. Thank you for the kind comment.

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Thanks for the comment, Eddy. I hope that you have a wonderful day as well!

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Hi, mylindaelliot. Yes, walking is a great way to see and appreciate places! Thanks for the visit.

      • drbj profile image

        drbj and sherry 

        5 years ago from south Florida

        An urban trail? What a pleasant place to walk. Thanks for the intro, Alicia, and you're always beautiful photos.

      • profile image

        Vickiw 

        5 years ago

        Hello Alicia, this is great showcasing of a lovely area. I live in Sechelt now - another amazing area! Love your pictures, and your description is accurate and lovely!

      • Eiddwen profile image

        Eiddwen 

        5 years ago from Wales

        A wonderful hub Alicia and thank you for sharing. Have a great day.

        Eddy.

      • mylindaelliott profile image

        mylindaelliott 

        5 years ago from Louisiana

        It sounds and looks gorgeous. I used to walk a lot but not any more. If you walk around you can see the most beautiful places.

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Thank you, Gail. I appreciate the votes. Yes, Canada is a beautiful country. I'm happy to live here!

      • Gail Meyers profile image

        Gail Meyers 

        5 years ago from Kansas City - United States

        Thanks for sharing so many beautiful pictures of Burnaby, BC. I have never been to Canada and I had no idea it is so beautiful.

        Voted up and beautiful!

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Thank you, Tom. The part of the trail near my house is certainly a beautiful place to walk. There are lots of photo opportunities along the trail, too!

      • kashmir56 profile image

        Thomas Silvia 

        5 years ago from Massachusetts

        Hi my friend sound like and looks like a very beautiful and peaceful place to walk or bike. Loved all the beautiful photos to .

        Vote up and more !!! Sharing !

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Hi, True Blue Tips. Thank you very much for the comment! The weather has been great lately. Blue skies look so much nicer in photographs than white or grey ones!

      • True Blue Tips profile image

        True Blue Tips 

        5 years ago

        I live in Vancouver so I was thrilled to see this post on our beautiful area. The pictures are great and since our weather is especially wonderful this summer I'm sure more people will be enjoying these trails.

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Thank you very much for the comment, the vote and the blessings, Faith. Thank you for coming back to share the hub, too! I appreciate it.

      • Faith Reaper profile image

        Faith Reaper 

        5 years ago from southern USA

        It went through now!

      • Faith Reaper profile image

        Faith Reaper 

        5 years ago from southern USA

        Thank you for taking us on a lovely tour here and sharing your wonderful photographs. Very beautiful area indeed!

        Voted up ++++ and sharing

        Well I am trying to share but it keeps saying "whoops" so I will return.

        Blessings,Faith Reaper

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Thank you, Martin. I appreciate your visit and comment!

      • Mhatter99 profile image

        Martin Kloess 

        5 years ago from San Francisco

        Thank you for this wonderful tour.

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Thank you very much for the comment, brenda12lynette!

      • brenda12lynette profile image

        brenda12lynette 

        5 years ago from Utah

        This trail looks amazing! Your pictures are beautiful!

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Thanks for the visit and for commenting, Bill. Yes, I'm happy to say that I do live in a beautiful area!

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 

        5 years ago from Olympia, WA

        You live in some beautiful country, Alicia. Thank goodness more people don't know about it. LOL

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