8 Metro Vancouver running trails great for newbies

Apr 23 2021, 1:09 pm

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Fresh air and vitamin D are exactly what the doctor ordered, which is why it’s no surprise that the masses are venturing outdoors now more than ever.

However, if you’re a little bored of pounding the pavement, why not try something new and check out some beginner-friendly trails in your area? Here are a few good ones.

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Stanley Park

Stanley Park is more famous for its picturesque seawall but did you know it has an extensive trail network within it?

The gravel trails are mostly runnable but you can make your routes as easy or as difficult as you want. Run flat around Lost Lagoon or Beaver Lake or tack on a few hills like Bridle Path, Thompson, or the steep climb up to Prospect Point beside the Lions Gate Bridge.

Keep your eyes peeled for landmarks like the Hollow Tree and of course, watch for coyotes! Before venturing out, read and follow safety precautions as suggested by the Stanley Park Ecology Society

Pacific Spirit Park

 

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A popular destination for dog-walkers and runners alike, there’s lots to explore at Pacific Spirit Park.

The lush forests next to UBC are a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle while still staying within the city. It can be quite hilly but you’ll also be able to make your way to beautiful areas like Spanish Banks, which should be worth the effort.

Burnaby Lake

 

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The easily accessible Burnaby Lake is next on the list. You can take your car there and park at the sports complex on the west side or ride the Millennium Line to Lake City Way.

After a short jog, you’re in the trails. It’s a 10 kilometre loop around the lake with various viewpoints along the way including a viewing tower at the centre. You’ll definitely want to stop and take in the sights as the area is a wildlife sanctuary, home to blue herons, bald eagles and more.

Capilano River Regional Park

 

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On the way to Grouse Mountain, you’ll pass by Capilano River Regional Park. You’ll find a lot of locals, tourists and even film crews visiting as it’s such a beautiful area to explore.

There’s lots to see from lush forests, wooden bridges, raging water from the dam, and even a salmon hatchery. The terrain is mild but it’s not all flat so be prepared to hike back up to the parking lot.

Keep in mind that the Keith Road trail that leads you towards Ambleside Beach is not open at the moment so it’s best to access the park at the main entrance at Cleveland Dam.

Lynn Valley

 

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The North Shore has a vast trail network but one of the most popular spots is at Lynn Valley. There’s something for everyone of varying skill levels, but especially for novice trail runners. Go for a run around Rice Lake and take in the serene view of the water and forest.

Another option would be taking the Twin Bridges trail down towards the Seymour River Suspension Bridge and running alongside the river. You’ll just have to climb back up the hill to your car. For something more challenging, the Lynn Loop trail will introduce a bit of elevation to your run.

If you have some extra time, Norvan Falls is a beautiful destination. The journey is long but the reward is worth it. You may want to bring spikes and at least some of the 10 essentials as there could still be snow or ice depending on the time of year you go. There’s also no cell service that far out, but it’s a very popular trail so you’re bound to run into someone.

Watershed Park

 

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If you live outside of Vancouver proper, there’s no need to travel too far to get to a good trail. Delta’s Watershed Park is popular among cyclists and runners alike.

Explore the forested area, have fun on some mountain bike features and take a break at The Meadow at the heart of the park. It’s just a stone’s throw from the highway.

Mud Bay Park

 

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If you love birdwatching, Mud Bay Park is where you want to spend some time. It is actually a shorebirds and waterfowl habitat and considered one of Canada’s valued Important Bird Areas.

The gravel trails are popular with families and perfect for a short run or you can keep following the shoreline all the way to Boundary Bay Regional Park. It is definitely an unexpected sanctuary next to a busy highway.

Buntzen Lake

Buntzen Lake is a favourite in the Tri-cities because it is a solid 10 kilometre run around the lake. Its undulating route will keep you interested with pit stops to take in beautiful water views. Just keep in mind that it gets really busy in the summer and that the parking lots may be closed if you get there too late.

Enjoy exploring what our backyard has to offer. Just remember to leave a trip plan before you go and take along some water and nutrition.

Jeannine AvelinoJeannine Avelino

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