Visitors to Vancouver often flock to famous spots like Stanley Park and the downtown area, but there’s a hidden gem just a short hop away – Burnaby Mountain Park.
This delightful mountain park offers stunning views and outdoor adventures galore. Join us on a journey to uncover all the wonders of this charming mountain retreat, from its location, history, attractions, down to the accommodations nearby.
What is Burnaby Mountain Park known for?
The Burnaby Mountain Park is known for offering panoramic views of the Burrard Inlet and the Strait of Georgia and for hosting a conservation area, which protects natural forests and wildlife and contains popular trails.
Perched on top of Burnaby Mountain, the park sits at an elevation of 370 metres.
One side of the park grants views of the Burrard Inlet and Indian Arm, framed by the North Shore mountains in the distance, while the other side overlooks the Strait of Georgia, which separates Lower Mainland from Vancouver Island.
Aside from the views, Burnaby Mountain Park encompasses a 576-hectare conservation area that serves as a sanctuary for deciduous and coniferous trees, as well as home to bald eagles, black-tailed deer, and various other species.
A network of trails winds through the conservation area. These trails are popular among those who want to take a leisurely stroll to observe the local flora and fauna, or ride their mountain bikes up the trails.
The conservation area is also home to the Simon Fraser University. Interestingly, it’s the SFU that donated 820 acres of its land to the City of Burnaby to create this conservation area in 1995 and incorporate it into the park established in 1957.
What to Expect, See and Do in the Area
The trails within the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area are a popular attraction year in, year out. The mountain boasts a network of 34 multi-use trails with a total distance of approximately 28 kilometers weaving their way through the lush forested terrain.
The lowest point along these trails hovers at around 25 meters above sea level, while the pinnacle of Burnaby Mountain’s summit reaches 366 meters. For the most part, the trails keep the biking paths separate from the walking routes.
These trails cater to individuals of varying skill levels. But the popular “Mini Grind” or Velodrome Trail, 1400 metre long and with a gradual 240 metre elevation climb, is best for intermediate level hikers.
The Velodrome Trail conveniently links up with the steep and challenging Pandora Trail. But should you choose to extend your hike, the trail can lead you to a loop that incorporates the Trans-Canada Trail.
This “Great Trail” is poised to be the world’s longest when it crosses 24,000 kilometres from east to west and extends all the way into the Arctic.
Cherry Blossoms in Spring
In the spring months, Burnaby Mountain Park stands out as one of the city’s premier destinations for admiring cherry blossoms.
While the precise spots where these cherry blossoms bloom may shift from year to year, you can typically encounter their beauty spread throughout the entire park.
For the most breathtaking experience, make sure to schedule your visit during the enchanting golden hour. Take advantage of the chance to capture some unique and stunning photos, too!
Centennial Rose Garden
The Centennial Rose Garden at Burnaby Mountain Park may not be immediately visible from the parking lot, but if you venture behind the washrooms, you’ll be treated to a lovely rose garden.
This rose garden features over 900 fragrant and colorful rose bushes, planted in 1992 to celebrate Burnaby’s centennial. It’s a great place to start your exploration of the park because of its convenient location.
You can also find benches here to sit and enjoy the flowers, which are especially beautiful in the fall when the whole area is ablaze with reds and oranges.
Additionally, you’ll spot a silver carriage adorned with flowers, a creation by Bruce Voyce. Feel free to take a photo in the carriage, but it goes without saying that you have to contribute to the conservation of the delicate plants in the area.
You can also rent the venue if you’re planning to have your wedding atop Burnaby Mountain. With a capacity of 100 people and a beautiful scenery, the Centennial Rose Garden will be an excellent choice for a ceremony.
Playground of the Gods
Kamui Mintara, also known as “Playground of the Gods,” is a striking and culturally significant art installation situated in Burnaby Mountain Park.
Crafted by Japanese sculptor Nuburi Toko and his son Shusei, it comprises a collection of massive cedar logs, meticulously carved into 10 awe-inspiring sculptures.
Each intricately carved sculpture represents a different creature from Ainu mythology, the indigenous people of Hokkaido, Japan. Among these majestic figures, you’ll find the Thunderbird, a legendary bird of prey, and the Sisam, a fearsome bear deity.
Kamui Mintara serves as a symbol of cultural exchange and friendship between Burnaby, and its sister city, Kushiro in Hokkaido. As you explore the park, the tranquil forest surroundings and the presence of these wooden giants can captivate you.
The eco-sculptures in Burnaby Mountain Park, designed by renowned Canadian artist Dan Correia, are a seasonal highlight, adorning the landscape during the summer months but absent during winter.
What sets these sculptures apart is their eco-conscious design, featuring sustainable materials and environmentally friendly building techniques.
These sculptures are crafted from metal mesh frames skillfully shaped to resemble animals. These frames are carefully filled with soil, covered with porous landscaping fabric, and punctuated with holes.
These openings serve as the homes for a variety of plants, which interestingly creates the illusion of feathers or fur.
Can you hike the Burnaby Mountain?
Absolutely, Burnaby Mountain is a fantastic location for hiking.
The Burnaby Mountain Park Loop is 10 kilometres long. It has an elevation gain of approximately 31 metres at its lowest point and 338 meters at its highest, which makes for a moderately challenging yet rewarding hike.
Typically, completing the loop takes around 2 to 2.5 hours, so hikers can have ample time to relish the breathtaking views.
For novice hikers, the most demanding sections may involve conquering the 500-step staircase. But hikers can create their own routes, so if you start from Trans Canada Trail West, you’ll be walking down instead of going up these steps.
For those seeking a strenuous challenge, going up the steps should offer their needed workout. Just expect to have a nice break at the Centennial Rose Gardens in the middle of your hike.
Things to Know
Fees: Accessing the park itself is free, but there might be associated fees if you plan to reserve a specific section of the park for an event.
Parking: Parking options around Burnaby Mountain Park include the Mountain Air Bike Skills parking lot, accessible from Takeda Drive on the south side of Barnet Highway.
Additionally, parking is available along Centennial Way and near the Harry Jerome Sports Centre off Barnet Rd. For those seeking alternatives, there is limited street parking available at Hastings St and Ridgeview Dr.
Dogs: While dogs are welcome on the trails of Burnaby Mountain, it’s essential to keep them on a leash at all times.
BBQ: Propane barbecues are permitted in all parks. However, open flame barbecues have been prohibited since 2021 due to elevated fire risk conditions.
Washrooms: Public toilets can be found at the mountain’s peak near Simon Fraser University and on the west side, situated behind Horizons Restaurant. There’s an outhouse positioned beneath the main powerline trail, roughly halfway to the trail’s summit.
Best Time to Go to Burnaby Mountain Park
Burnaby Mountain Park is a great place to visit at any time of year. If you are looking for warm weather, the best time to go may be during the summer months but if you prefer cooler temperatures, spring and fall may be better options.
In the winter, the slopes of Burnaby Mountain are snow-covered in winter a lot more often than the surrounding cities. It can be a good time to bring a camera on your visit.
If you want to see nice views without much effort, visiting in the evening is a good idea. Burnaby Mountain Park is a great place to watch the sunset and sunrise, especially in the evenings of spring and summer.
If you prefer to avoid crowds, it may be best to visit during weekdays or earlier in the day.
How to Get to Burnaby Mountain Park
Car: To reach Burnaby Mountain from Vancouver, take Highway #1 Eastbound, exit at Gaglardi Way (Exit 37), and continue straight past Lougheed Highway. Follow the signs to Centennial Way where the park is located.
Public transit: From Production Way – University Station (Millennium/Expo Line), follow signs for buses and take the #145 SFU from Bay 1 for a quick 12-minute bus ride up Burnaby Mountain.
If you’re at Metrotown Station (Expo Line), cross the pedestrian overpass, descend the escalator to the bus loop, and board the #144 SFU bus to the mountain’s summit.
Alternatively, if you’re in Downtown Vancouver at Burrard Station (Expo Line), cross Burrard Street and take the #135 SFU, the most direct route to the mountain, with a journey of approximately 50 minutes on the bus.
Tips for Visiting Burnaby Mountain Park
- Arrive Early for Daytime Photos: To capture the city bathed in sunlight, plan your visit to Burnaby Mountain in the early hours of the day, to ensure the best lighting conditions.
- Respect Noise Levels: Refrain from playing loud music, as not everyone shares the same taste in music.
- Dispose of Garbage Properly: Avoid littering; if garbage cans are full, take your trash with you.
- Stay on formal trails: The trails are typically made of asphalt, concrete, or gravel. When walking or running on trails, keep to the right and pass others on the left.
- Preserve Sensitive Areas: Avoid forested park areas to help protect ecologically sensitive regions within the park.
Where to Stay near Burnaby Mountain Park
Address: 3777 Henning Dr, Burnaby, BC V5C 6N5, Canada
Phone: +1 604-473-5000
Accent Inns has a unique charm in the way it boldly sets itself apart from downtown Vancouver accommodations. But in fairness, the hotel doesn’t disappoint with the spacious and spotless rooms, top-notch dining, and the warm, attentive service.
What’s even better is that the hotel comes with ample parking space and a cluster of restaurants just a leisurely walk away. Considering its location and the hotel’s character, the prices are a real steal.
Executive Suites Hotel and Conference Centre Metro Vancouver
Address: 4201 Lougheed Hwy., Burnaby, BC V5C 3Y6, Canada
Phone: +1 604-298-2010
Executive Suites Hotel and Conference Centre offers a comfortable stay in well-appointed rooms. While the hotel is a little dated, it maintains a spotless jacuzzi for relaxation, and the on-site restaurant, Acqua, offers delightful dining options.
The friendly and capable staff enhances the overall experience, and you’ll find excellent Japanese, Vietnamese, and bakery/coffee options nearby.
Executive Plaza Hotel Coquitlam
Address: 405 North Rd #1, Coquitlam, BC V3K 3V9, Canada
Phone: +1 604-936-9399
The hotel looks like it primarily caters to the high-end business crowd, but it’s equally suitable for family stays. It’s impeccably maintained and boasts amenities like an outdoor pool, jacuzzi, steam room, and fitness center.
One potential drawback is the noise from the SkyTrain, which can disrupt sleep.
Element Vancouver Metrotown
Address: 5988 Willingdon Ave, Burnaby, BC V5H 2A7, Canada
Phone: +1 604-568-3696
This hotel enjoys a convenient location near Metrotown and within a short walking distance from the SkyTrain station. The apartment itself stands out for its impeccable cleanliness and attentive service.
While the hotel offers a splendid view of the nearby mountains, the immediate vicinity comprises high-rise condos and apartments.
Just two blocks away, you’ll discover the second-largest mall in Canada, which provides ample shopping opportunities for your extended stay.
The mall’s diverse food court is also worth a visit, offering a wide range of dining choices, including Thai, Dimsum, Japanese, Chinese, and more.
Where to Eat near Burnaby Mountain Park
Address: 2900 Bainbridge Ave, Burnaby, BC V5A 2S8, Canada
Phone: +1 604-368-0086
Gaya Sushi is known for its delicious spicy salmon sashimi, tempura, and Korean sushi. Don’t forget to sample their Firecracker or Alaska Rolls. They come highly recommended!
If you can’t stop by to sample their offerings, you can have their food delivered as well.
Cockney Kings Fish & Chips
Address: 6574 Hastings St, Burnaby, BC V5B 1S1, Canada
Phone: +1 604-291-1323
Just a six minute ride away from Burnaby Mountain Park, Cockney Kings is one of the wonderful restaurants that you can drop by on your way. Their food, particularly the fried fish and calamari, are freshly prepared and generously portioned.
The waitstaff is known for their friendly and cheerful service, contributing to the warm and inviting atmosphere inside.
Address: 6785 Hastings St, Burnaby, BC V5B 1S6, Canada
Phone: +1 604-294-4460
Little Billy’s is a steakhouse that has stood the test of time since its establishment in 1975. Over the years, it has undergone changes in concept, appearance, and menu, but it has consistently delivered great food.
Their offerings include mouthwatering dishes like chicken parm, baklava, cheesecakes, and a delightful chocolate frappe that can rival even their fine wines. If you’re seeking a welcoming and cozy atmosphere, Little Billy’s is a place you should visit.