10 Hidden Gems Near Vancouver

Don't have time to hit the backcountry or local ski hills? Take a short trip and check out these Municipal Parks in the Lower Mainland to get your daily fix of the outdoors.

By: Tara Stamnes
December 15, 2016

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Perhaps due to the epic playgrounds of the Coast Mountains being so accessible in Vancouver, the municipal parks of the Lower Mainland are definitely underrated. Amongst these are some hidden gems you may have never heard of, but are definitely worth a visit at least once! Whether you need a new morning run spot, or just want to get a breath of fresh air after your 9-5, here are some of Vancouver's most underestimated local parks: 

1. Cypress Falls Park 

I'll bet you haven't heard of these waterfalls that are only a 20-minute drive from downtown Vancouver! A secret spot with an easy 3-km walk through beautiful old-growth cedar/fir forest will take you to some beautiful falls surrounded by canyons that will make you feel like you're in Jurassic Park! 

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2. Redwood Park 

A beautiful hidden spot in South Surrey. This short 0.25hr-1hr trail system will take you through some of only Giant Sequoia forest in British Columbia and has a fun treehouse for family friendly visits. Make sure to stop and take in the signage which delves into some of the area's history. 

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3. Rocky Point Park 

For anyone living outside of Port Moody, this unheard of park will provide a fresh view into the Burrard Inlet. The short shoreline trail is a perfect place to catch the sunset, and don't forget to stop for a post-walk snack at Rocky Point Ice Cream on a summer day. 

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4. Elgin Heritage Park/Crescent Park 

Right next to the more popular beach areas of Crescent Beach and White Rock lay two beautiful local gems where you'll rarely see more than a couple of people out with you on the trails. Elgin Heritage Park and Crescent Park are right next to each other, and both worth your time. Head down to Elgin for some waterfront views along with beautiful Lupine fields in the early summer (May-June). After, head across the road to Crescent Park for a nice wooded walk. 

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5.  Deer Lake Park

Deer Lake has been one of my favourite parks since I can remember. Though it may be fairly busy with Burnaby locals on any given day, that doesn't take away from the serenity of this urban oasis. A ~1hr walk will take you around the entire lake, going through meadows, marshes, and forest, all with lake views throughout its entirety. Check out the old heritage homes on the Eastern edge of the trail, or rent a kayak for a paddle on the lake from the shack near the parking lot. 

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6. Campbell Valley Regional Park

Another spot perfect for those living south of the Fraser. Campbell Valley Regional Park will take you through a variety of trails, where you can spot many plant and animal species alike. With up to 2 hours of walkable trail, this is a perfect after-work spot. 

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7. Widgeon Valley National Wildlife Area

A bit of a further drive, but this area has got to be one of the most beautiful in the Fraser Valley. Head out to Pitt Lake parking lot where you will find a canoe rental stand. You can rent a canoe for a charge (day/overnight charges vary), and head up Widgeon Creek for one of the easiest, but most beautiful paddles around. Stop at the Widgeon campsite and stay the night, visit Widgeon Falls, or explore the hikes in the area. 

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8.  Burns Bog Nature Reserve 

You may have heard about Burns Bog only from the various peat fires that have occurred over the years, but it is actually one of North America's largest undeveloped areas nearby an urban land mass. While of much of this 3,500 acre area is prohibited from use due to important conservation work (it is the home to several endangered species), there is one pristine 2km boardwalk trail where you can enjoy this unique area. It is an easy-to-reach spot, just off of the south end of the Alex Fraser Bridge. 

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9. Tynehead Regional Park 

Head over to North Surrey and check out one of the Lower Mainland's best places to spot the salmon spawn. This park is located at the headwaters of the Serpentine River and boasts beautiful wooded trails that run through meadows and are home to many critters. Head over to the fishery or butterfly garden for some extra fun. 

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10. Belcarra Regional Park 

While you have likely visited the beautiful Sasamat Lake within Belcarra Regional Park, this area is home to lots of other beautiful trails. From the Jug Island Beach trail, to Admirality Point, there are many beautiful places to explore in this small area. Drive towards the town of Belcarra and you can stop at the hidden frozen swamp pictured above on a cold winter's day. 

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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.