Great Inclinations: Starter hikes for the hiker just starting out

Photo by Analyn Cuarto

Photo by Analyn Cuarto

Conquer the beginner hikes before challenging yourself further

By Jacey Gibb, Distribution Manager


Great Inclinations is your go-to source for diving into the world of casual hiking in and around the Lower Mainland. Because hiking’s not just for assholes anymore.


The semester is coming to an end. Cherry blossoms are poppin’ off left and right, and pollen levels are uncomfortably high. It’s the perfect time of year to get outside for some hiking.

Whether you’re an experienced hiker who has just been taking the winter months off, or someone who is embarking on their first hike, the following trails are a great start to the season. It’s still April, though, so remember that hiking conditions can change quickly at higher elevations. It’s also a good idea to check websites like Vancouver Trails to see if anyone’s commented on the trail’s conditions recently—some hikes have snow on them right into summer.


High Knoll

Located in Coquitlam, the High Knoll is a fantastic casual hike that offers some pretty stellar views. Paths run alongside—and eventually cut through—a marshland, which offers some diversity from the heavily-forested terrain featured on most hikes. There are a couple variations you can take on the hike, including different lookouts, but the real money shot is from the High Knoll Lookout. Best of all, the High Knoll’s remoteness and expansiveness means you’ll get to hike in near-isolation from other hikers.


Mystery Lake

Mount Seymour offers plenty of trails to explore, but the hike up to Mystery Lake is ideal for beginners. The ascent is quick over a moderate incline, which ends at the aforementioned lake. Take some time to explore around the lake and find the least-crowded area to have a picnic, before heading back down. If you’re hiking Mystery Lake later in the summer, make sure to pack a bathing suit for a victory dip!


Dog Mountain

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but it has a brilliant hike-to-payoff ratio. Dog Mountain offers plenty of areas along the hike to stop, including shallow lakes and ponds, making the push to the top all the more fun. Your reward? A gorgeous view of Metro Vancouver, as well as a northern view over valleys and other mountains. Springtime hiking on Dog Mountain can be a slush-fest, though, so make sure you’re wearing water-proof boots before embarking.


Buntzen Lake

Less of a hike and more of a leisurely multi-hour stroll, Buntzen Lake is a great introduction to anyone interested in hiking, but still holding out. A loop around the lake takes between three to four hours and is fairly flat aside from some steep elevation changes on the northern side. For bonus enjoyment, research the countless movies and television shows that have filmed at Buntzen, so you can dazzle your co-hiker(s) with useless trivia.


The Other Press

The Other Press, Douglas College's student newspaper since 1976. Articles, insight and updates from the New West and Coquitlam campuses.

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