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Get acquainted with a few of the trails around SFU’s Burnaby Campus

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A photo of the University Dr. trail divulging into two paths.
Your boots are going to be made for walking this winter on the University Dr. path. Photo: Jacob Mattie / The Peak

By: Jacob Mattie, Peak Associate

SFU’s Burnaby campus is set at the top of Burnaby Mountain. This is the source of much grief in the winter months for students who need to walk up or down if buses fail (if this is your first semester, prepare yourself). However, the hike itself is not entirely unpleasant, and whether walking to a specific destination, or taking a stroll to enjoy the breathtaking scenery, Burnaby Mountain has some terrific trails. 

Before we get started, keep in mind Burnaby Mountain is a conservation area, and is home to a variety of wildlife. Animals will avoid people in general, but it’s good to know how to deal with encounters: stay calm and confident. A slip or fall can also be the source of problems, so make sure to stay on the trail and have a way to contact help if you need. 

Among the most accessible trails are those that are paved. The walk down University High Street and up around University Dr. East makes for a great way to stretch out your legs after a long day studying. A longer paved trail, the recently-upgraded walkway along Burnaby Mountain Parkway, offers a chance to pit yourself against the incline of Burnaby Mountain. Expect this to take about an hour’s walk. Well-lit at night, and rarely frequented in general, you can take the R5 or 144 bus up or down again afterwards.

If you’re into longer hikes and being surrounded by a more rugged nature, the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area has you covered. The Trans-Canada Trail runs just a few steps North of West Mall Centre, and can be accessed by a handful of other tributary trails. While the Trans-Canada Trail does range from the Arctic Circle in the Yukon to the Easternmost tip of Newfoundland and Labrador, you’re not obligated to walk the whole thing. Take a stroll west to the city views of Burnaby Mountain Park, or hike east to see one of my favourite views in the Lower Mainland — a particular section of the trail opens up to the Burrard Inlet, offering a view that’s hard to rival.

The Trans-Canada Trail also serves as a great way to access the network of paths that cover the mountain. Test your mettle on the Velodrome trail — boasting over 500 stairs, it is known to some as the mini-grind, in reference to Grouse Mountain’s infamous tourist trap hike — or take the Power Line Trail and the Barnet Trail for an easy (if not a little monotonous) stroll. The Gear Jammer & Nicole’s Trail are steep and rocky, and openly declare their hostility for the knees of anyone descending them.

The other trails, well marked on the maps and signposts scattered around the mountain, are full of treasures of their own. While they’re certainly good to read about, the best way to experience them is to strap on a pair of hiking boots or runners, and get out there.

Maps of each trail can be found at the following website: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/canada/british-columbia/power-line-trail