Springboard Trail in Belcarra Park is only 8 km long, but it’s set in beautiful unspoiled forest, with a hardened surface so you can get some speed up if you want. I would call it the perfect place for a training ride, as there’s a very, very long uphill from the lake. On the other hand, coming back it’s all downhill, which is a lot of fun too.
Surfaces: all natural (soil!)
Distance: just under 8 km, one way
Difficulty level: very challenging, hill all the way (easier on the down lap!)
Safety level: very safe, almost all off road
Type of bike recommended: mountain bike, tricross or hybrid
Suitable for: adults and very fit children
Congestion: very quiet
Getting there from downtown: Travel east on Hastings Street through Vancouver and Burnaby. After Sperling Street stay in the left lane to join the Barnet Highway. Follow the Barnet to Port Moody and turn left at the lights at St. John’s Street. Follow St. John’s Street though Port Moody and veer left onto Ioco Road (There is good signage to help you navigate to the Park). Travel along Ioco Road and then turn right when you reach 1st Avenue and then veer left on Bedwell Bay Road. Turn left when you reach Tum Tumay Whueton Road. Tum Tumay Whueton Road leads you right into the Belcarra Park.
Average Joe Cyclist Rating: Springboard Trail in Belcarra Park rates a Gold Bike-Star for fitness training and peaceful forest!
For more guides to great bike rides in and around Vancouver, see our Vancouver Cycling page!
By the way, if you want to get really fit with cycling, check out my Average Joe Cyclist’s Beginner Cyclist Training Plan: Phase 1.
We stumbled on the Springboard cycling Trail in the beautiful Belcarra Regional Park largely by happy accident (Buntzen Lake was full, so we went to Belcarra).
It is not an easy ride – going up calls for serious cardio fitness, while coming back down calls for some technical skills as there are a lot of switchbacks.
However, the Springboard Trail is broad and firm, and of course there’s always the option of getting off the bike to walk for a while (which I have to admit, we did a couple of times going up). Also, the steepest part of the ascent is the half km or so just above the lake. After that, it’s more undulating, so most people should be able to manage it.
You can access the trail from the parking lot. (Driving directions to the parking lot are here.) It’s on the left hand side of the large recreational/barbecue area, just past the washrooms and concession (truly horrible food, only fit for those committing suicide via eating – take your own food!).
It’s tricky to find the Springboard Trail because the sign only mentions the Admiralty Point Trail, which is not accessible to cyclists.
However, if you just walk your bike a short distance along the Admiralty Point Trail you will come to a dirt road. Here you will find a sign indicating you have found Springboard trail. It follows the dirt road for a very short distance, then veers up the hill and into the deliciously cool forest. The trail stays in the forest most of the time, but does deviate onto the flamboyantly named Tum-Tumay-Whueton Drive for short sections. However, on those sections there is a broad shoulder to ride on, so it’s really not bad.
Once you’ve mastered Springboard Trail, and are ready to enjoy your well-earned picnic lunch, head back to the beach.
There are many spots just a little way away from the main recreational area where you can eat your lunch in relative peace, while enjoying the view of the Burrard Inlet and watching those who get their exercise in other ways.
The only downside to the Springboard Trail is that you pretty much have to use a car to get your bike there because it’s miles from anywhere. That said, it is possible by transit, but it would take a long time.
Bottom line: Beautiful wilderness trail, suitable for intermediate to advanced cyclists, and for those who seriously want to get fitter. Oh, and one of the coolest things about this trail is that not a lot of people actually use it – we saw a total of 2 hikers and 3 cyclists on the beautiful, sunny day we went there.
If you like cycling up hills, you will love the Barnet Highway bike path, reviewed here – although it is entirely on road, not off road.
For many more great bike trails, see Average Joe Cyclist – Great Bike Trails.
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Ryan Surface says
Hi Average Joe,
I live and cycle in Seattle and have been thinking about doing some riding in Vancouver. I will definitely do the Stanley Park trail after reading your right up but have a question about the the Trans Canada Trail in BC. The site http://www.bctrail.ca/maps.html gives many suggestions but completely ignores the greater Vancouver area. Are there any parts of the BC trail in the greater Vancouver area worth riding? Any suggestions? I love Vancouver Island and that would be an option but I envisioned hopping the train to BC with the bike and riding with Vancouver as my base so going on to the Island would be more time than I have for a weekend jaunt. Thanks in advance for any tips and thanks for your blog.
Average Joe Cyclist says
Hi Ryan. Honestly, I am totally confused about the Trans Canada trail. I find the web info about it hopeless and disjointed. Whenever I try to explore the trail in Vancouver and surrounding area, I invariably find it coming to a complete dead end in the middle of nowhere. Sometimes it picks up again after a block or two or ten – but you need to be Sherlock Holmes to find it. I think it’s a great idea, but pathetically executed. In effect, it seems to be a whole lot of individual trails, but they do NOT link up, and one expects them to, given the term “trans-Canada.”
I have in on my “to do” list to try and make sense of the trail in the Vancouver area, and write a post about it. But right now I am off my bike due to some health issues. In the meantime, the best I can say is do the Stanley Park trail, plus the Hornby and Dunsmuir bike routes, and the rest of the Seawall trail … and also of course do the Central Valley Greenway, which takes you from Vancouver to New Westminster via Burnaby.
Sorry not to be of more help …
Ryan Surface says
No problem glad to know I am not the only one who is confused by the website. Appreciate the info on the other trails -Stanley Park is on the “must do list” thanks for the great Blog
chris van cauwenbergh says
Hope you are doing well. We’re all missing you around here, and are dying for a sign of life from you! Take care of yourself and hope to see you soon…