Hike the Woodland Walk Trail, Burke Mountain, Coquitlam, BC

Trip date: February 27, 2016

My sister, Skeena (the family dog), and I recently checked out the Woodland Walk trail, located in Burke Mountain, Port Coquitlam. We were looking for a quick, mellow jaunt through the woods.

The Woodland Walk trail is a relatively flat hike; one of many trails created by the Burke Mountain Naturalists from abandoned logging roads in the Burke Mountain area. It includes some long, gradual ups and downs. The end destination is the Woodland Waterfall. From there you can either continue up to Saw Blade Falls or return via the upper/lower loops. The trail is accessible year round and does not encounter very much snow, though during winter months, I have seen snow at Saw Blade Falls – only a short distance and some elevation away. The best time of year to go is during spring melt, when the falls are at their best.

Stats
Distance: 8-10km round trip (with different loop options)
Elevation gain: ~180m
Trail type: Loop

Access

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From Vancouver:
  1. Head east on Highway 1 and take Exit 44 to Mary Hill Bypass.
  2. Continue up the Bypass and follow signs for Coquitlam.
  3. Turn left on Broadway street.
  4. Continue on to the Coast Meridian Overpass.
  5. Head uphill for a ways, then turn right onto Harper road.
  6. Continue as the paved road turns into gravel.
  7. Look for a metal gate on your right and park along the side of the road. (If you’ve reached the gun club, you’ve gone too far).

The Hike

We parked on Harper road, just outside the yellow gates. There are a number of trails that start past the gates; we immediately peeled off to the left and followed a mountain biking trail named ‘Garbage’.

We went up a few sets of switchbacks and connected to the road. We turned left on the road for just a few steps and entered back into the forest for the Woodland Walk trail (this junction is signed).

We continued on the trail through second growth forest and eventually came out to the hydro power lines. From here, we were back on the road again and we followed it until we reached the upper loop junction for the Woodland Walk. We took the upper loop trail and re-entered second growth forest. If you keep your eyes peeled during the walk, you’ll find massive stumps of old growth giants and some odd trees that survived the logging days. 

Throughout the walk we had some fog that didn’t seem to settle; it made for great lighting and some cool shots. On our way along the upper loop trail, the sun poked through and gave us even better lighting. I rarely get to see this perspective! The sun caused crepuscular rays to stream through the fog and create a false convergence.

We eventually reached the falls and stayed for a short while. There was an opportunity to scramble up the cascades a bit for different vantage points, but I only had trail runners on and they weren’t great for grip on the slippery rocks.

We looped back via the lower loop which felt more like an old logging road and less like a trail. We encountered more huge tree stumps and crepuscular rays. The lower loop will connect you to the hydro power lines road and you can follow your steps back to the parking lot.

I’d recommend completing this loop counter clock-wise, as we did. It’s easier on the feet to descend the old logging road than it is to ascend and the elevation gain levels out to be more or less the same. If you’re interested in other trails in the area, I highly recommend picking up Burke & Widgeon: A Hiker’s Guide by Lyle Litzenberger (heads up, I’ll probably recommend this on my posts throughout the summer).


There are two memories you will take with you from the Woodland Walk experience. The first is the incredible peace and solitude of the forest. The second is the image of what this mountainside would have looked like while its giant old growth trees were still standing.

– Lyle Litzenberger


Diabetes Management

There isn’t much to report re: diabetes management; this was a mellow hike, with a low average grade, and no serious ups and downs. We kept a moderate-fast pace and made frequent stops for pictures. I anticipated an easy day, I did not reduce my basal at all, but still kept an eye on blood sugar trends.

Pack List

The 10+6 Essentials (hey, you never know)
1L of water
Hiking shoes/trail runners
Camera
Snacks

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