December’s Vancouver Hike of the Month: Velodrome Trail

The view of Vancouver from Burnaby Mountain.

The view of Vancouver from the top of the Velodrome Trail on Burnaby Mountain. Photo: Ann Badjura on the Inside Vancouver Flickr pool

When snow blankets Vancouver’s mountains, it can be tough to find a good workout hike. Enter the Velodrome Trail. This steep path is sometimes called Burnaby’s version of the Grouse Grind. It climbs steeply up the north side of Burnaby Mountain on a gravel trail and wooden stairs. At the top, you can enjoy views of downtown Vancouver from the Kamui Mintara (Playground of the Gods) sculpture.

Until December 7, in line with the public health order issued on November 20, non-essential travel into and out of BC is not recommended. BC residents let’s do our part by continuing to stay local and support local, with your immediate household or bubble, in accordance with the latest guidelines. 

If you have questions about the latest provincial health orders, please read the latest update.


Safety First: AdventureSmart recommends bringing a backpack with essential safety and first aid gear on every hike. Check the forecast and pack extra clothing for the weather. Leave a trip plan so someone knows where you are going and when you will be back. Hiking is a little different during the pandemic. Read our tips for getting outdoors during COVID-19.

Heads Up: While this trail is too low to see snow for most of the winter, it can get icy and slippery when the temperature dips. Avoid this trail in freezing weather or bring traction aids like microspikes and hiking poles.

Trail Stats: 5.5 km round trip, 260m elevation gain, 1.5-2 hours, moderate difficulty, dogs allowed on-leash

Getting There: This hike starts at the Mountain Air Bike Skills Park on Barnet Highway. To get there from Vancouver, take Hastings Street east into Burnaby and follow it as it turns into Barnet Highway. Turn right into the parking lot at the traffic lights at Takeda Drive. (Across the street from the entrance to Barnet Marine Park.)

You can also take transit to the trailhead. Take bus 160 from Kootenay Loop or Port Coquitlam Station. Get off at the stop at Barnet Highway and Barnet Marine Park, then walk along the driveway to the Mountain Air Bike Skills Park parking lot.

Mountain Air Trail on Burnaby Mountain

Hiking the Mountain Air Trail. Photo: Reid Holmes

The Trail: Traditionally, this trail started behind the Burnaby Velodrome. However, it’s much easier to park a little further away at the Mountain Air Bike Skills Park. The added distance also provides a great warm-up and cool down before and after the steep stuff. Use this park map to help you find your way.

Start your hike on the Mountain Air Trail at the back of the parking lot. Within the first few minutes, the trail heads uphill, before leveling out and meandering through thick forest. After about 1.5km, reach a junction with a trail heading downhill to the Velodrome. Your trail goes left.

A few minutes after the junction the trail starts to climb steeply. You’ll hike up 500 wooden stairs as you switchback up the slope. Pause in between flights to catch your breath and gaze down to Burrard Inlet through the trees.

Stairs on the Velodrome Trail at Burnaby Mountain

Stairs on the Velodrome Trail. Photo: Taryn Eyton

Shortly after the end of the stairs, reach a junction. Turn right onto the Pandora Trail. Ignore a junction with the Gnome’s Home Trail a few minutes later and continue uphill on the Pandora Trail. Eventually, you’ll emerge from the forest onto the manicured lawn of Burnaby Mountain Park.

Follow the path uphill to Kamui Mintara (Playground of the Gods) sculptures. There are incredible views of downtown Vancouver from here. The work of Japanese sculptors Nuburi Toko and his son, Shusei, the wood sculptures commemorate the goodwill between Burnaby and its sister city, Kushiro, Japan. After you’ve enjoyed the view, retrace your steps to the parking lot.

Playground of the Gods sculptures at Burnaby Mountain

Kamui Mintara (Playground of the Gods) sculptures. Photo: Mehranbab on Pixabay

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