Burnaby Lake Regional Park

Quick Facts:

  • AllTrails link: Burnaby Lake.
  • Difficulty: easy, stroller friendly
  • Traffic: quite busy on weekends
  • Facilities: flush toilets at Nature House at Piper Ave Entrance and Burnaby Sport Complex.
  • View: peek-a-boo views of the lake through out.
  • Overall score: 5/10. Significant highway noise intrudes the South Shore Trail, and railway noise intrudes the Cottonwood Trail to the north.

Compared to its famous cousin Deer Lake, Burnaby Lake is larger but much less developed. It has a 10km loop trail around the lake, taking you through marshes and wild bird habitats.

The park was fairly big so we visited it on 2 separate occasions. Even then, we haven’t been able to finish the whole parameter yet.

Trip Report: February 2021 Piper Ave Entrance

If you just set up your GPS for directions to Burnaby Lake, chances are, you will be taken to the Piper Ave Entrance, tucked away in an industrial area of Burnaby.

This entrance is closest to the viewing tower and Piper Spit, which is very convenient for viewing birds. It is also where the Nature House is, with educational programs and washrooms. However, this also makes it the busiest entrance, and there are surprisingly few parking spots in this parking lot.

The small parking lot at Piper Ave was almost 100% full on when we visited on a Saturday.

We explored the Piper Spit like everyone does, but we didn’t linger because it was somewhat difficult to keep a physical distance on the small dock. We then headed west on Cottonwood Trail.

The trails on the north side of the lake (especially Cottonwood), follows closely along an active railway, and there was some construction noise when we visited. The path itself was very flat and stroller friendly, surfaced with loose gravel.

If you enjoy 1-2 km of flat, straight gravel road along a railway with no views of interest, the Cottonwood Trail is great for you. For us it got noisy and boring, and Junior didn’t even get off the stroller for a bike ride, so we called it a day.

Nature House. Pre-COVID, park visitors could use the flush toilets. But they were locked with a padlocks when we visited.

Trip Report: February 2021 Glencarin Trailhead Entrance

We came back to Burnaby Lake and explored the South Shore Trail from Glencarin Trailhead to the Cariboo Dam on the eastern edge of the lake. Whereas the northern trails follow the railway, the southern trail follows closely along Tran-Canada Highway, so we traded the train noise with highway noise.

The South Shore Trail had a rugged beauty, and the path is a mixture of boardwalk and loose gravel. There were also good views of the North Shore Mountains and Burnaby Mountain to the north across the lake, so we enjoyed the walking experience more than the north side of the lake. However, the constant highway noise does kill the nature vibe a little.

There were no toilets on this whole stretch, save for 1 Pitstop toilet at the Avalon Ave Entrance.

Soon after the Avalon Ave Entrance we arrived at the Cariboo Dam, where waters from Burnaby Lake rushes into Brunette River.

On the dam, we snapped an amazing photo of Burnaby Lake. From this angle, the lake looked amazing!

We turned around and headed back to our parking spot from here.

Some areas that we haven’t explored yet: the Rowing Pavilion to the west, and the north western corner from the Dam to Piper Ave. Of the two, I’m obviously more interested in checking out the Rowing Pavilion: I just found out, during research for this blog post, that the Rowing Pavilion has a public canoe (read: paddleboard) launch!

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