Suffering from Grouse Grind Withdrawal? 500 Reasons to set your sights on Burnaby Mountain

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Photo: R. Weiss

Every year, loyal “grinders” experience a sense of loss when Mother Nature’s Stairmaster closes for the season. Without question, the Grouse Grind is a test of strength and endurance and one of Vancouver’s most popular hikes. However, winter’s unpredictable and changing mountain conditions mean seasonal trail closures which leave outdoor fitness fans looking for their next work-out.

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Photo: R. Weiss

Never fear! Grab your hiking boots and set your sights on Burnaby Mountain. The Velodrome Trail is Burnaby’s version of the Grind. Although not quite as challenging, the hike remains a great workout. The trail begins near the Velodrome on Barnet Highway and climbs steeply through the forest on the north side of Burnaby Mountain. A series of 500 timber stairs welcome you and your hamstrings to the ascent. Peekaboo views of Indian Arm and the Burrard Inlet are a highlight during the climb, not to mention a great excuse to stop, grab your water and catch your breath.

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Photo: R. Weiss

Near the end of the climb I was delighted to arrive at an open meadow and discover the Kamui Mintara poles. The Playground of the Gods sculptures, created by Nuburi Toko and his son Shusei commemorate the goodwill between Kushiro Japan and the City of Burnaby. I must confess, they took my breath away. There was something almost magical about them and it seemed fitting that they were perched atop the mountain framing panoramic views of Indian Arm, Burrard Inlet, Burnaby, downtown Vancouver, Stanley Park and the Lion’s Gate Bridge.

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Photo: Flickr – Anna Badjura

Returning to the trailhead and parking area is as simple as retracing your steps, or for those wanting to add a few more clicks a longer 9.4 km return route can be completed by connecting the Trans Canada, Cougar Creek, Barnet and Mountain Air Trails. Happy hiking!

Trail Facts and Figures:

Grouse Grind

  •  2.9 km long
  •  853 metre elevation gain
  •  2,830 stairs

Velodrome Trail

  •  1.4 km long
  •  240 metre elevation gain
  •  500 stairs
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Photo: R. Weiss

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