Burnaby’s Deer Lake Park offers fun, safe cycling and hiking in a beautiful, lakeside environment – right in the heart of Burnaby. Read all about it here.
Route: Various trails in Deer Lake Park, Burnaby, BC
Surfaces: All off-road, hard soil, gravel, and some boardwalk
Difficulty level: very easy, completely flat, in parts; but on the perimeter of the park, there are some steep hills with slippery gravel
Type of bike required: any kind, but mountain bike or hybrid would be best
Safety level: very safe, completely off road
Suitable for: the whole family, including seniors, kids, dogs, trikes and balance bikes
Congestion: light at all times for hiking; can sometimes be a bit busy for cycling – go early!
Dogs allowed? Yes – on leash
Average Joe Cyclist Rating: Gold Bike-Star for a pleasant family bike ride or hike, with beautiful scenery
Recently I stumbled across the joys of cycling at Burnaby’s Deer Lake Park. Somehow it had never occurred to me that this vast expanse of greenery and water in the middle of Burnaby might be full of cycling trails.
But it is – and not only does Burnaby’s Deer Lake Park have beautiful vegetation and views – more importantly, it has plenty of trails, spanning a variety of terrains: paved, boardwalk (!) and single-track.
Plus, there are a variety of grades, due to the fact that the lake is in the middle of a valley, with sweeping hills above.
The grades in Burnaby’s Deer Lake Park range from mostly flat, to steep climbs and fast, gravelly descents. There’s a slight potential for wiping out at speed on those descents – but hey, that’s part of the fun!
The entire park is a nature reserve, so it’s essential to be gentle with the environment and to obey all the signs.
Deer Lake Park is a ton of fun, with many kilometers of safe, fun cycling trails.This video gives you an idea of how beautiful the park is, even in the middle of winter.
You do have to share the trails with pedestrians, but there’s not that many of them (unlike, say, the beautiful but crowded Stanley Park Seawall). The occasional unleashed dog poses a slight risk for the unwary cyclist. Mainly, though, it’s a quiet space for solitary hikes or bike rides.
If you really want a spectacular bike ride in this park, get there at dawn and enjoy the solitude and the sounds of nature.
All in all, though, I would highly recommend exploring the varied trails at Deer Lake Park. You can get a great workout by climbing the hills, or just take a gentle meander round the lake on the lower reaches. You could stop to admire the abundant bird life on the sandy shore.
You could teach your kids to ride a bike here, or just take them for a quiet ride – close to the city, but completely safe from cars! This would be a great way to encourage your kids to cycle. There are more ideas here about how to encourage your kids to cycle.
If you like, you can also rent a pedal boat and pedal your way out to look at the park and the wildlife from a different angle. We did this one day, and really enjoyed it. Or, you could be a bit more adventurous and rent a kayak.
There are maps in the park, but given the panoramic views, it is hard to get lost.
The map below gives an idea of how to access Burnaby’s Deer Lake Park. There is plenty of parking all around the park. In a car, get there from Highway 1, take the Kensington exit, turn left on Canada Way, take the first right, and then turn right into the park. On a bike, access from the bike route on Kensington (which you can get to from the Central Valley Greenway bike route, reviewed here.) Once you are there, just relax and ride in any direction, exploring the trails. I recorded this particular ride on my well-loved Garmin Edge 520 GPS bike computer, reviewed here.
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