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And brother, do we need some respite from this gloomy weather
Perhaps you made a New Year’s resolution to spend more time outside. Or, maybe you just need a few thousand breaths of fresh air to keep the seasonal blahs at bay. Either way, there’s no shortage of hiking trails close to southwestern B.C.’s urban areas to help get you outside this winter.
Stick to low-elevation areas to avoid deep snow (unless you plan on snowshoeing). In snowy or icy conditions, traction aids may be advisable.
Here are four easy hikes ideal for winter outings.
Reminders: Check trail reports, bring the essentials, leave a trip plan with a responsible person, and leave no trace.
Photo: Stephen Hui
Round trip: 6 km
Location: Whyte Lake Park (West Vancouver)
Whyte Lake Park is the largest park in West Vancouver. It preserves old-growth trees and links Nelson Canyon Park and Cypress Provincial Park.
From the busy Westport Road trailhead, take the service road west and under the Nelson Canyon Bridge to a water tank. Don’t cross the old Highway 1 bridge; go right on the Trans Canada Trail.
Go left on the Whyte Lake Trail, leaving the one-time Great Trail and bridging Nelson Creek and Whyte Creek on the way north to lovely Whyte Lake. Visit the swimming dock and take advantage of the inviting outhouse if needed. Head back the same way.
Round trip: 12 km
Location: Say Nuth Khaw Yum Provincial Park (Anmore)
Taking the Lakeview Trail adds some ups and downs to a Buntzen Lake loop and will make you break a sweat.
From the South Beach parking area, wander over to the boat launch. Go southwest on the Energy Trail and keep right to take the Buntzen Lake Trail over the floating bridge at the south end of the lake. Hang a right on Pumphouse Road and continue north to find the start of the Lakeview Trail on the left.
READ MORE: 4 PERFECT RAINY DAY HIKES
READ MORE: 4 PERFECT RAINY DAY HIKES
A viewpoint near the trail’s north end offers a look across the lake to Swan Falls. The suspension bridge to the North Beach is closed for replacement, so keep right to follow the Buntzen Lake Trail back to Pumphouse Road. Recross the floating bridge and return to the parking area.
Round trip: 7 km
Location: Minnekhada Regional Park (Coquitlam)
A loop around Minnekhada Marsh, a birding hot spot, is rewarding in any season. In winter, keep your eyes peeled for northern shovelers, green-winged teals, buffleheads, and other waterfowl.
Start at the Quarry Road entrance. Going counterclockwise around the marsh, take the Lodge Trail, Fern Trail, and Quarry Trail, then keep right to return to the entrance.
Addington Lookout and Low Knoll are worthy side quests, but High Knoll is a must. The day’s high point affords you an outstanding perch overlooking the Pitt River.
Round trip: 8 km
Location: Sargeant Bay Provincial Park (Sechelt)
Triangle Lake is a sphagnum bog that’s known as s-ch’ewk’ to the shíshálh Nation. Slow down — this is a hike for relaxed strolling and pleasant conversation.
From the parking lot at Sargeant Bay Provincial Park, walk back to Redrooffs Road to find the trailhead on the north shoulder. Go right on the Colvin Creek Trail, following signs for Triangle Lake. Stay right at a junction in 800 metres to strike off on the Triangle Lake Trail, keeping right until you arrive at a viewpoint with a bench overlooking the bog.
Head counterclockwise on the Triangle Lake Circle Trail to find a clifftop bench viewpoint on the bog’s east margin. When the circumnavigation is complete, retrace your steps to the trailhead.
Stephen Hui is the author of Destination Hikes In and Around Southwestern British Columbia, a new guide to 55 hiking trips. His first book, 105 Hikes In and Around Southwestern British Columbia, was a #1 B.C. bestseller. Learn more: 105hikes.com