Four festive hikes for the whole family, to get you outdoors, moving and grooving into the New Year. After a week or two of eating turkey, more turkey, Christmas pud, cake and mince pies many families in the Tri Cities will need to shake off the pounds, burn off the sugar rush or rediscover life outside the house.
Here are some easy hikes in the neighbourhood that you can get to quite easily right from your doorstep. Some are flat, suitable for toddlers under their own steam with very patients adults in attendance. Others are a bit more rugged, requiring a child carrier or backpack for the shortest legged hiker in your party.
Inlet Trail and Shoreline Park
Getting onto the trail is simple – park at Port Moody Rec Centre then walk towards the Burrard Inlet, around the back of the buildings and beyond the sports field. There’s a paved trail for bikes, inline skates and strollers, or closer to the inlet there’s a boardwalk for more adventurous walkers and runners. Both routes are worth following, although being beside the water is a big plus for watching wildlife. The boardwalks are entertaining for small children and mildly nerve-wracking for parents.
Follow the trail south to Rocky Point Park for swings, an adventure playground and refreshments (Rocky Point Ice Cream, The Boathouse), or turn north to wander along to Old Orchard Park. Here you will find a small playground with climbing equipment, a covered picnic shelter and a sandy beach. The route takes walkers past the sites of the old logging industry mills that are Port Moody’s history. At low tide, these are fun to explore.
West Noons Creek Trail
This trail runs all the way down to Newport Village from Heritage Woods, starting beside Aspenwood Elementary on Panorama Drive and eventually popping out near the bottom of Heritage Mountain Boulevard. With a small child or two, this trail will take an hour to hike. It’s a pleasant descent through the forest, not too steep though beware muddy patches and slippery steps. The trail follows West Noons Creek until it joins the main creek as it sinks into a minor ravine on its way to the inlet. The trail continues above the creek and along the backyard fences of Heritage Mountain homes. Once at the bottom, check out refreshments at Gallaghers or Starbucks in Newport Village, or swing by Casa Dolce for an ice cream. You’ll probably burn off enough energy skipping down the trails to indulge in a feast from Vera’s Burgers. When you’re ready to return either set off again back up the hill or take your pick of buses that run regularly from adjacent bus stops; the C27, C26 and C28 will take you back up to Forest Parkway. Don’t forget your tickets or carry the correct coins.
This is a nice, flat circular trail around the lake in Town Centre Park on paved or cinder surfaces. There is ample parking and an extensive playground for the kids. The lakeside trail is great for spotting signs of beavers at work. It’s also a beautiful evening stroll when the festive lighting is on display. A side detour at the southeast corner of the lake brings you to the Inspiration Garden – see who can spot the first green shoots poking through the soil from the crocus and snowdrop bulbs planted in the raised beds. If you’re feeling adventurous, why not bring the bikes to try out in the trials park?
The Coquitlam Crunch
This is probably the most strenuous and probably not suitable for toddler legs to manage or be carried down, unless you stick to one or two sections from the top. The main route starts from Panorama Drive, near Bramblewood Elementary, although there are access points from the housing developments further uphill. The trail heads straight down hill to join with Guildford Way before heading onwards across the Barnet Highway and up to Mundy Park. It criss-crosses Lansdowne Drive several times as the street winds its way downhill, the switchbacks neatly cutting the descent into individual sections. The Crunch follows the lines of the Hydro lines down the mountain. Occasionally there is a slight hum in the air, and a notice near the off-leash dog park warns owners to watch out for sparky pets. The third section is very steep; loose gravel underfoot makes it slippery in all weather but the views on the way down are worth the excitement. The final section before Guildford comes out near the lacrosse box. Catch your breath, turn and start the uphill return journey or walk along to the foot of Lansdowne to catch the C27 back home.