Thursday, September 23, 2010

Trans Canada Trail, Burnaby

Also known as The Heights Trail, this route takes walkers from North Burnaby to the eastern edge of Vancouver. Because the trail is so well covered by trees, it’s not until the temperature drops and leaves have all fallen that you can truly appreciate the expansive views that this trail offers of the North Shore, Burrard Inlet and Capitol Hill. It’s one trail where the views may actually be better in winter than in other seasons.

Start at Confederation Park, located in North Burnaby near the north end of Willingdon Avenue. To access the trail, the parking lot nearest the lawn bowling green is most convenient, so head north on Willingdon until you reach Penzance Dr. and make a right turn. You’ll see the parking lot almost immediately on your right. The trail starts just across the street at the corner of Penzance and Willingdon. If driving is not your thing, the route is also easy to access on transit.

Wide, compact gravel paths with short paved sections. Expect a mix of sun and shade since the first half is exposed while the second half is almost completely shaded by trees. The trail gently slopes downward as it travels west gradually getting steeper as it enters Vancouver.

Umbrella, all-terrain or anything in between.

Departing from the lawn bowling green parking lot, the trail runs less than 2.5 km to take you all the way to the eastern edge of Vancouver just underneath the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge. To complete the entire trail at a leisurely pace in and out with play stops, plan for about 1.5 hours.

Confederation Park has just about any family-friendly amenity imaginable, including washrooms (with change tables), playgrounds, sports fields, a library, and more. Along the trail you’ll find benches, a playground (including toddler equipment), and picnic tables – because who doesn’t love a picnic?

Take in a few of the interpretive signs along the way highlighting area history and ecology.

The Heights neighbourhood offers great shopping along Hastings St. In the warmer months, the miniature train at the Burnaby Central Railway is a hit with kids (and parents too). Confederation Park itself is worth a visit even in the winter months since it’s home to so many kid-friendly indoor activities at the pool and library.

Just as the trail approaches the Ironworkers’ Memorial Bridge, you’ll come to a spot where trains enter and exit a tunnel that takes them under the northern part of Burnaby. Who knew!

IMPORTANT: Any adventure in the outdoors carries a certain level of risk. The route information and maps contained in this blog are provided as rough guidelines only and are based on just one person's experience. Baby Meets Trail and its authors are not responsible for any harm that may occur while attempting one of the posted walks. We will, however, take credit if you have an excellent time!