Best bike paths in BC that don't include Vancouver's Stanley Park

Jan 23 2023, 7:20 pm

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BC has some incredible bike paths, but if you stay close to home and only throw elbows with the triathlon trainers at Stanley Park, you might miss out on some other stunning spots the province has to offer.

We’ve rounded up some of our favourites for all cyclists who love scenic rides with minimal stress.

1. Seymour Valley Trailway

Biking North Vancouver

The Seymour Valley Trailway is perfect for cyclists of all levels, plus rollerbladers and pedestrians too. (EB Adventure Photography/Shutterstock)

Check out the North Shore’s Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve (LSCR) with stunning forest views from the comfort of your bike seat. The Seymour Valley Trailway is 10 km of paved road, so it’s also perfect for biking beginners, but has plenty of options for more advanced trails throughout the massive reserve. Be sure to check out the Seymour Reservoir and Seymour River Hatchery on your trip. Expert advice: It’s great on a hot day because it has so many trees.

  • Parking: There are several free parking lots in the area and there are no reservations required.
  • Extra tips: During the winter months road access in some spots may be limited. Plus, there are no garbage cans along the path so pack it out and pack it in. Read more here.
  • Address: 2369 Lillooet Road, North Vancouver.

2. Central Valley Greenway

Science World

The Central Valley Parkway takes you through Vancouver’s Science World and False Creek area plus New Westminster and Burnaby. (Shutterstock/Shawn.ccf)

This path is a perfect way to explore several cities all in one afternoon as the 24 km route connects Vancouver to Burnaby and then downtown New Westminster. While it’s a longer route, it’s not overly hilly and has a great mix of different scenery. If you want to do a loop, connect to the BC Parkway path for a 50 km journey.  Some highlights: Hume Park in New Westminster, Burnaby Lake, and Telus World of Science in Vancouver.

  • Parking: It’s tough to suggest exactly where to start because it’s truly up to the rider’s original location, but many of the parks along the route have free parking. Or you can put your bike on the train (outside of peak hours) as the parkway connects to Millenium Line or Expo Line SkyTrain stations.
  • Extra tips: A part of the path in Vancouver is closed and there is a detour in place. 

3. Traboulay Poco Trail

Port Coquitlam biking

Port Coquitlam’s Traboulay Poco Trail. (Joanna Szypulska/Shutterstock)

Nature lovers, this one is a must-do. This trail can be up to 25 km long if you’re up for it or be broken up into shorter sections for a more casual ride. The mostly unpaved dirt route takes the rider along the North and South Pitt Rivers, historic Colony Farm, Minnekada Regional Park, plus rich floodplains with hundreds of birds, and downtown Coquitlam for the urban jungle experience. It’s so nature-focused that there can be black bears in the area so be sure to keep your wits about you.

  • Parking: Several free parking lots along the route including Hyde Creek, Gates Park, Pitt River Road at Argue Street.
  • Extra tips: There are a fair amount of public washrooms on this route.
  • Address: (To Lions Park Parking lot) 2300 Lions Way, Port Coquitlam, BC

4. Vedder Rotary Loop Trail

Vedder River Chilliwack

The Vedder Rotary Loop Trail in Chilliwack travels alongside the stunning Vedder River. (Matthew Collingwood/Shutterstock)

We love a loop! This 20+ kilometre route takes riders along the Vedder River in Chilliwack, a popular spot for fishing and nature lovers, and is just a few kilometres away from Cultus Lake. This route is well marked and easy to navigate, has lots to see and places to stop along the way. If you wanted to do a shorter bike ride, that’s possible too. Experts suggest starting at Vedder Park and heading in a counter-clockwise direction along the gravel trail towards the Keith Wilson Bridge before eventually crossing the water over the Vedder River Bridge before you end your adventure.

  • Parking: Easiest place to park is probably Vedder Park (free!) but there are a few more spots as well including Peach Park, Lickman Road, and Hopedale Road.
  • Extra tips: Bird lovers, be sure to stop at the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve Interpretive Centre along this route.
  • Address: 45450 Petawawa Road, Chilliwack.

5. Lochside Regional Trail

Lochside Regional Trail Vancouver Island

From Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal to Victoria, the Lochside Regional Trail is a treat for ocean lovers. (pr2is/Shutterstock)

Off the mainland, there are even more bike paths to check out, including the stunning oceanic Lochside Trail which travels between the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal to Victoria. It seems ambitious but this 29 km route is perfect for a fit cyclist who wants to see so much of Vancouver Island in just a few hours before resting in the province’s capital city. The route travels past the farmland of the Saanich Peninsula, plus plenty of stops by the beach. It intersects with the incredible Galloping Goose Regional Trail for the even more ambitious rider. If you take that branch you can check out the former railway line from Victoria to Sooke over the 55 km section. Be sure to plan a great spot to stay overnight in the area, you’re going to want to have a rest after that grind!

  • Parking: You can take your bike onto the ferry and pay the cheaper sailing rate but unfortunately parking at the terminal is not free. If you’re already on the Island there are spots at Lochside Park in Saanich, Cy Hampson Park in Central Saanich, and Tulista Park in Sidney.
  • Extra tips: Feeling too tired to go on? There’s a bus that stops along parts of the route. Learn more here. 
  • Address: 11300 Patricia Bay Highway, Sidney, BC.

6. Kettle Valley Rail Trail 

Kettle Valley Rail Trail, British Columbia

Kettle Valley Rail Trail, near Kelowna, is a trip to another time. (Destination BC/Grant Harder)

Named one of the most underrated spots in Canada, the Kettle Valley Rail Trail in the Okanagan is a celebrated spot for bike lovers of all levels as it has a very minor incline in most spots. Set along the decommissioned 1915 Kettle Valley Railway and boasting some 650 km of connected pathways it can be whatever you want it to be: an easy afternoon of historic exploration, or a serious multi-day trip for a group getaway as you can bike between Hope and south-central BC. Be sure to plan to visit the wineries when in the area, and book ahead when it comes to accommodation.

  • Extra tips: Make sure you visit the Myra Canyon stretch just south of the city of Kelowna which has 18 thrilling wooden trestle bridges and two tunnels.
  • Address: Myra Canyon parking is at 1N0, Kettle Valley Rail Trail, Naramata. Parking is free.

7. Arbutus Greenway

Arbutus Greenway

Karynf/Shutterstock

Staying closer to home? It’s a surprise that some cyclists still haven’t used the Arbutus Greenway to spend an afternoon in Vancouver. The route was started in 2016, and while there are some small construction detours in places, the nine km route is a paved paradise for the city biker who wants to explore from False Creek to the Fraser River with lots of opportunities to stop and get some food along the way. If you want a longer workout, you can continue across the bridge to Richmond.

  • Parking: This is a tricky one. Free street parking in the area is tough to come by. Granville Island (a few blocks away from the Kitsilano entrance) does have pay parking that can give riders piece of mind if they expect to be gone all day.
  • Extra tips: This route is very urban and serves as a commuting corridor, popular running spot, and training ground for some younger cyclists, so be sure to be respectful of other path users.
  • Address: Starts at Fir Street and West 5th, Vancouver and ends at West 75th and Milton Street.

8. Richmond’s West Dyke Trail

Biking richmond Steveston

Steveston Village in Richmond is a perfect spot along your bike adventure to fuel up. (DorotaPhotography/Shutterstock)

This area has practically no hills, lots of fish and chip stops, and incredible scenery. There are lots of trails in Richmond but one of the best is the West Dyck Trail because it offers spectacular mountain and ocean views, an estuary, migrating birds, and a stop in beautiful Steveston Village for a bite. 

  • Parking: Garry Point Park has free parking, and there’s still some free street parking in Steveston.
  • Extra tips: It’s about 6 km but you can go much further if you’re willing — the dyke system in Richmond connects to either Vancouver or Delta depending on your direction.
  • Address: 12011 Seventh Avenue, Richmond, BC

9. Fort-to-Fort Trail

Fort Langley Fort to Fort

The Fort to Fort Trail is beautiful anytime of year, but in the fall it’s even more photogenic. (karamysh/Shutterstock)

From Douglas Park in Langley City to Ridge Meadows Circle in Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge, there are a lot of very cool bike paths in the Fraser Valley, but we wanted to highlight one of the most user-friendly routes. The Fort-to-Fort Trail takes cyclists of all abilities along the Fraser River for a picturesque ride through nature as well as next to some pretty adorable local farms. The route is not only very pretty but has so much history to see as well as it connects the Fort Langley National Historical Museum to the site of the original fort at Derby Reach.

  • Parking: There are quite a few free parking spots in Fort Langley, or at Derby Reach Regional Park.
  • Extra tips: Depending on where you start the 10 km gravel path, you can end up having a quiet picnic by the river or exploring Fort Langley’s many restaurants and attractions, so plan your route (and lunch) ahead of time.
  • Address: 10748 Allard Crescent, Langley, BC

10. UBC

Vancouver UBC Endowment lands

Pacific Spirit Regional Park on UBC Endowment lands is great for an afternoon bike ride, or can be a stop on a longer route throughout the area near SW Marine Drive. (inEthos Design/Shutterstock)

It’s beautiful, beachy, but uphill in some places. However, sweating along your way on this route is rewarding because there are so many places you can explore, and on a summer day you can stop and cool off in the ocean. The UBC Loop takes you along NW Marine Drive, with gorgeous beach views, then up through the university’s endowment lands. Stop at Wreck Beach (the famous nude beach) or any of the other stunning beaches along the way, then continue along SW Marine Drive through Pacific Spirit Regional Park for some shade among the forest.

  • Extra tips: It’s about 30 km, but can be shorter or longer depending on your journey.
  • Address: Start at Jericho Beach Park (3941 Point Grey Road, Vancouver), or anywhere along NW Marine Drive on the west side where there are free parking spots. However, they can be tough to find on a hot day so head over early. If you park at UBC be ready to pay for parking or risk a ticket.

Where is your favourite place to bike? Let us know in the comments below.

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