There’s no time like springtime to get out and explore the forests around you with curious kids in tow.
Slow down and investigate every slug, creek, and hollow tree. Look for the perfect magic wand or make it a scavenger hunt.
Here are three short and easy hikes in the Lower Mainland that are guaranteed to be fun for the whole family.
Reminders: Check trail reports, bring the 10 essentials, leave a trip plan with a responsible person, and pack out all trash.
Round trip: 2.4 km
Location: Crippen Regional Park, Bowen Island
Perfect for a mini adventure with the kids, the quick jaunt to Dorman Point pays off with potential sightings of bald eagles and turkey vultures. The hike is ideal for B.C. Ferries foot passengers and, conveniently, starts and finishes by an ice cream window.
At West Vancouver’s Horseshoe Bay terminal, catch a ferry to Bowen Island. From the Snug Cove dock, walk up Bowen Island Trunk Road to Cardena Road. Head left on a boardwalk known as the Lady Alexandra Promenade. Pass by shops and benches, take the bridge over Davies Creek, and arrive at a Crippen Regional Park kiosk.
Go straight across the field at the Snug Cove picnic area to start up the Dorman Point Trail. Follow the wide gravel path past a seemingly double-headed western red cedar. Quickly fork left, then right, in the mixed woods. Keep left at a wooden barrier. Zigzag up the slope, through Douglas-fir trees, lady ferns, Oregon grape, and salal. Ignore a right-hand path.
Emerge at the top of Robinson Road. Go left at the signpost and tackle the final steep push to the Dorman Point viewpoint. Take a seat on a bench and pull out the snacks. The rock in the outcrop dates back to the Jurassic Period and the age of the dinosaurs. Peer over the treetops at the North Shore mountains and Howe Sound. Head back to the trailhead—and ice cream.
Round trip: 3.2 km
Location: tәmtәmíxwtәn/Belcarra Regional Park, Port Moody
Here’s a no-fail place to introduce young kids to the joys of getting out in nature. No matter the season or weather, get thee to Sasamat Lake. Little ones will find trees to hug, bridges to cross, a waterfall to visit, and a lake to splash in.
From the parking lots, follow signs down to White Pine Beach. Find the start of the Sasamat Lake Loop Trail at the north end of the main beach, between the shoreline and the picnic tables. The wide gravel path features 12 bridges and 147 steps. Cross the first little bridge, bear left, go through a gate, and merge with the Beach By-Pass (for folks with dogs).
Breathe in the fresh scent of Douglas-fir and western red cedar trees. Ascend steps to a gravel road. Turn left, pass a yellow gate, and cross the driveway of the Sasamat Outdoor Centre. Pick up the trail on the other side. Take a larger bridge over Lower Windermere Creek.
Go left at the next junction, spurning the trail to Woodhaven Swamp. Follow the outdoor education centre’s tall wooden fence by a high ropes course. Pass a log bench. Earn a couple of viewpoints, offering a look back at White Pine Beach and the dam at the lake’s outlet.
An outhouse is off to the right, just before the floating bridge at the lakehead. Cross the “floatwalk,” which has swimming decks and offers a view of Mount Seymour. Look for bats at dusk. At the floating bridge’s east end, meet a trail from the park gate and turn left.
Tread on a boardwalk, stop to admire a cascade, and come to another boardwalk with cattails and more views. You might spot bald eagles in the trees. Finally, keep left at the Beach By-Pass, go through a gate, and pass the washrooms to return to the main beach and close the counterclockwise loop.
Round trip: 3.5 km
Location: Sxótsaqel/Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park, east of Chilliwack
The Greendrop-Lindeman Trail is a crowd-pleaser. B.C. Parks maintains backcountry campgrounds at bustling Lindeman Lake and quieter Greendrop Lake. For families, the first lake is a quick and easy destination and highly rewarding at that.
From the bustling trailhead, off Chilliwack Lake Road, set off on the gravel road. Quickly pass the turn-off for Flora Lake. Following Post Creek upstream, cross a log bridge to the opposite bank. Steadily gain elevation on the rocky, rooty trail in the shady forest. Go by a massive boulder.
Arrive at the Lindeman Lake campground. It’s worth continuing around the west shore, traversing sun-baked rockslides with pikas and tremendous views of the stunning lake. The brilliant blue-green water invites swimming—but at the risk of chattering teeth. Retrace your steps to the trailhead.