Hiking Mt. Burke: A Hidden Gem in Coquitlam, BC, Canada

Nestled within the lush forests and picturesque landscapes of Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada, the Mt. Burke trail is a hidden gem for those seeking an invigorating hike away from the hustle and bustle of city life. The trail stretches over 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) and offers a challenging yet rewarding experience for hikers of all skill levels. This blog post will explore the unique aspects of the Mt. Burke trail, its history, and why it should be on your hiking bucket list.

A Brief History of Mt. Burke

The mountain itself is named after Edmund Burke, an Irish statesman and philosopher who was a prominent figure in the late 18th century. While he never visited the area, the naming of the mountain is a testament to his enduring influence on the western world.

The Mt. Burke trail was constructed in the 1930s by the Royal Engineers as a means of accessing their lookout post at the summit. The trail was later used by the Canadian military for training purposes. Today, the trail is maintained by the local government and volunteer organizations, making it accessible to the public for recreational use.

What to Expect on the Mt. Burke Trail

The trailhead is located near the small community of Burke Mountain in Coquitlam. The journey to the summit can be broken down into three distinct sections:

1. Lower Switchbacks

The hike begins with a series of switchbacks that weave through a dense, mossy forest. The trail is well-maintained and moderately steep, providing a good warm-up for the rest of the journey. The lower switchbacks also offer respite from the sun, as the thick canopy of trees provides ample shade.

2. Upper Switchbacks

As you continue to ascend, the trail transitions into a series of upper switchbacks that are steeper and more challenging. The forest thins out, and you’ll begin to catch glimpses of the surrounding valleys and mountains. During this portion of the hike, you’ll also encounter the remnants of an old cabin that was once used by the Royal Engineers.

3. The Final Push to the Summit

The last section of the trail is the most challenging but also the most rewarding. As the trail narrows and becomes rockier, you’ll need to rely on your hands for balance and support. The final push to the summit is steep and strenuous but offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, including the Fraser Valley, Pitt Lake, and the North Shore Mountains.

Tips for Hiking Mt. Burke

Before embarking on your adventure, here are a few tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience:

  • Check the weather: The conditions on the mountain can change rapidly, so it’s essential to check the weather forecast before setting out. It’s also a good idea to carry layers and rain gear, as the temperature can drop significantly at higher elevations.
  • Pack plenty of water and snacks: The hike to the summit can take anywhere from 5 to 7 hours, depending on your pace. Make sure to pack enough water and snacks to keep you fueled throughout the journey.
  • Wear appropriate footwear: The trail can be slippery, particularly during wet conditions. Sturdy hiking boots with good traction are recommended.
  • Respect the environment: Practice Leave No Trace principles to minimize your impact on the environment. Pack out all trash, stay on designated trails, and avoid removing plants or disturbing wildlife.
  • Tell someone your plans: As with any outdoor adventure, it’s essential to let someone know your intended route and expected return time.

The Mt. Burke trail offers a challenging and rewarding hiking experience for those looking to explore the beautiful landscapes of Coquitlam, BC, Canada. With its rich history, diverse terrain, and stunning views, this hidden gem should be on every hiker’s bucket list. So, lace up your hiking boots, pack your essentials, and get ready to conquer Mt. Burke!

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