7 Things To Do at Iona Beach Regional Park

Birds at Iona Beach Regional Park

Photo: peter P/Unsplash

Did you know you can escape to nature right next to Vancouver International Airport? Check out Iona Beach Regional Park for biking, hiking, bird watching, incredible views of the ocean, and lots more. Use this guide to plan your trip to Iona Beach Regional Park in Richmond.

How to Get to Iona Beach Regional Park

From Vancouver, take the Arthur Laing Bridge into Richmond. Turn right at the first traffic light onto Templeton Street. Stay on Templeton as it turns into Ferguson Road and bends to the left. Ferguson becomes Iona Island Causeway and dead-ends at Iona Beach Regional Park.

 

Tips for Visiting

  • Use the park map to find your way around.
  • The park is closed at night. Check the sign at the park entrance for current gate closure hours so you don’t get locked in. The park is open between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. in winter with extended hours the rest of the year.
  • Dogs must be on leash in the park. To protect wildlife habitat, dogs are not allowed near the ponds on the east side of the park and the beach between Iona Jetty and North Jetty.
  • Smoking, vaping, cannabis, drones, alcohol, campfires, and collecting plants are not allowed.
  • There is a large washroom building at the main parking lot.
  • Be safe in the park. 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.

 

Run, Walk, or Bike the Iona Jetty

The four-kilometre-long Iona Jetty stretches straight out into the Strait of Georgia. (It’s actually built on top of a treated sewage outflow pipe.) Two trails (one upper and one lower) are both great for a walk, run, or bike ride. You’ll get great views of the ocean, North Shore Mountains, and Vancouver Island in the distance. Look closely to spot seals swimming nearby, herons hunting in the shallow water, and eagles soaring overhead. The jetty can be very windy, so there two are wind shelters located along the way.

Iona Jetty

Iona Jetty. Photo: Ricky Batallones/All Trails

 

Walk the Bridle Path

The quiet Bridle Path trail parallels Ferguson Road as it runs into the park. The two-kilometre-long trail is multi-use so you may share it with horses and cyclists. The southern part of the trail has great views of McDonald Slough to the east, while the northern part overlooks Iona Beach.

 

Go Bird Watching

Iona Beach Regional Park is an important stop-over for migrating birds in the spring and fall and is home to dozens of species year-round. The ponds on the east side of the park are one of the best places to bird-watch.

Bird on barbed wire at Iona Beach Regional Park

Photo: Pete Nuij/Unsplash

 

Arrive By Bike

Outside of the airport, the quiet roads of Sea Island are a great place for road cycling. A popular route starts in Vancouver and follows the Arthur Laing Bridge, Templeton Street, and Ferguson Road into the park where riders continue to the end of the Iona Jetty.

 

Wander Around the Ponds

The ponds on the east side of the park were built in the 1980s to compensate for bird habitat lost during the expansion of the Vancouver Airport. Today they attract dozens of bird species. A network of informal trails runs around the North and South Ponds for several kilometres. Note: To protect wildlife, dogs are not allowed in this area.

South pond at Iona Beach Park

Viewing platform at South Pond. Photo: Iona Beach Regional Park

 

Hike the North Arm Jetty at Low Tide

Iona Jetty isn’t the only jetty at Iona Beach Regional Park. The sand-bar-like North Arm jetty stretches away to the northwest, channeling water from the North Arm of the Fraser River in the Strait of Georgia. The interior of the jetty is closed to the public but you can walk three kilometres along the beach at low tide. (Check the Vancouver tide table before you go.) This is a rougher route and is best for intermediate hikers.

 

Watch the Sunset

Iona Beach Regional Park is one of the best places to watch the sunset in Vancouver. The sun sets directly in front of you in the Strait of Georgia. On clear days, you’ll be able to see Vancouver Island in the distance too.

Sunset at Iona Beach Regional Park

Photo: peter P/Unsplash

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