Barnet Marine Park Paddle

Not to let Port Moody and Vancouver have all the waterfront glory, Burnaby also has a great park on Burrard Inlet: Barnet Marine Park. This park can get extremely busy on a sunny weekend in the summer. We have come here around noon in July, and couldn’t even turn off the Barnet Highway because the parking lot was full and the entrance was closed.

In the shoulder seasons on a weekday, the traffic seems to be much calmer. We arrived around 11:30, and the parking lot was 80% empty. There are two parking lots (east and west), and beach access is from the far end of either lot. Both parking lot are about 300m away from the beach, and there was no option to drive closer to the beach even for unloading.

There are some pebble beaches and a stretch of sandy beach sandwiched in between. The sandy beach was blocked by what looked like swimming area dividers.

We had a picnic near the sandy beach after exploring the park and a nearby trail. When I got ready to start paddleboarding, the tide was slightly low and it was possible to hop over the divider to launch.

Right across the water was Admiralty Point in Belcarra Park, but crossing the water was somewhat challenging due to passing motorboats. The boat traffic was heavy. It reminded of crossing Pitt Lake. But at least I had good visibility on either side, and the channel was big enough for the boats to maneuver around me.

A very big ship was being tugged. You do not want to be caught in front of this guy.

After crossing the channel, I paddled along the shoreline and explored the rocky beaches. After about 40 minutes, I reached Belcarra Picnic Area. Last time I visited Belcarra, I headed north and had some close encounters with motorboats. This time, I found that the waters between Belcarra Pier and Admiralty Point were much more pleasant. The shoreline was more rugged and natural, and the boats tend to stay out of this area. If one were to practice ocean paddling for an hour or so, this area provides a good variety of gentle ocean movements and boat wakes of different sizes.

Belcarra Pier on the right.

I headed back and crossed the channel again. It was tempting to cross it early, but I would strongly recommend crossing from this green lighthouse for full visibility up and down the channel to time your crossing. And you don’t want to be caught in front of a monster boat that can neither stop nor turn.

Cross the channel back to Barnet from this lighthouse for better visibility.
When I got back to the sandy beach, the tide has come in and the divider made it impossible to take out from here. I went to a nearby pebble beach instead.
  • Difficulty – calm waters, lots of wakes from boats, and I don’t recommend crossing the channel for beginners.
  • Boat traffic – heavy commercial and recreational motorboat traffic
  • View – good view of forests and beaches
  • Facilities – well maintained flush toilet washrooms, sandy beach, playground, walking trail
  • Overall score – 6/10

Burrard Inlet/Indian Arm Series:

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