You don’t need to embark on an expedition to the Great Bear Rainforest to gain a taste for trail blazing. Vancouver’s urban forests are the perfect place for families to connect, explore, unplug and play on the Family Day long weekend. Here are four of my favourite “green” urban treks.
Naturally when visiting Stanley Park you will be tempted to walk the iconic seawall. Consider extending your outing as winter is a perfect time to get off the beaten path and explore the inner trails. Did you know that there are 27 km of pathways in Stanley Park? Within minutes of leaving the seawall you will find yourself immersed in lush, green dense forest. Many of the towering trees in the park are hundreds of years old, some date back to the 1800’s. Watch for the “big tree” icon on the trail map and begin your quest to visit the giants.
Sunnyside Acres Urban Forest
Located in sunny, South Surrey, Sunnyside Acres Urban Forest is one of Surrey’s best kept secrets. This area was one of the first designated urban forests in Canada and is one of Surrey’s largest parks. Imagine an urban forest at your fingertips. Sunnyside Acres Urban Forest Park is a 130 hectare natural second growth forest. Douglas fir, Vine Maple and Huckleberry bushes line the trails which are home to banana slugs, spotted towhees and the occasional black tailed deer. Look closely and you will notice a few stumps, remnants of the logging that took place in the early 1900’s. These stumps are now nurse trees and support all kinds of new growth. A self-guided interpretive trail map is available to help you explore charming trails like Chickadee Loop and Salal.
Always a favourite summer outing, there is still much to see and do during the winter in Lynn Canyon. Winter rains mean the waterfalls and rivers in Lynn Canyon Park are raging, ideal backdrops for Family Day photos. Of course, a visit to the area is not complete without crossing the Lynn Canyon suspension bridge. Swaying 50 meters above the lower canyon floor, the bridge will challenge you to keep your balance while savouring the view.
Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area
Breathtaking city views and glimpses of Burrard Inlet are just two of the numerous reasons to head to Burnaby Mountain. I often find it difficult to choose a route as 26 multi-use trails, stretching out over 28 kilometres weave their way across 576 hectares of magnificent! Challenge the kids to race a slug or identify signs of deer, coyotes and eagles. They all call the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area home.
What are your plans for Family Day? I hope to see you outside.