When I’m abroad and someone asks where I’m from, I always say “Vancouver, Canada!” Most people know where Vancouver is and have heard something about it – Vancouver is the land of beaches and mountains, the 2010 winter Olympics, and lululemon.

But the truth is that I’m actually from Port Coquitlam, a small suburb city about 30km east of Vancouver. Port Coquitlam one part of the Tri-Cities, with the other two cities being Coquitlam and Port Moody. The Tri-Cities aren’t as well known as Vancouver, but are definitely worth a visit in their own right!

One of my favourite parts of the Tri-Cities are the many, many hiking opportunities! There is honestly so many different hiking options in this area. It’s full of gorgeous lakes, forests, and mountains – so beautiful. And, the best part is that they aren’t as busy as many of the popular Vancouver hikes!

So, without further rambling, here are my top five hikes in the Tri-Cities:

View of Buntzen Lake

1. Buntzen Lake Loop

This is one of my all-time favourite hikes. Buntzen Lake is located just outside of Port Moody, in the township of Anmore. It is a beautiful lake with cold, glacial-fed water (you can still go for a post-hike dip, though!).

The loop is very easy to follow – just start right on the beach at the trail-head and follow the well-marked path all the way around the lake. You’ll have beautiful views of the lake the entire way and will love walking through the dense west coast rainforest.

If you want to level up this hike, you can add-on the Diez Vistas trail. This section takes you up to a higher elevation and will add on about three hours to the hike.

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 10km roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 110 meters
  • Time to complete: 3 hours (you might also want to budget some time to visit Brewer’s Row – a series of 4 craft breweries near Buntzen Lake in Port Moody)

2. High Knoll

This hike is one of the best views for not too much work – totally my kind of hike! It is located in Minnekhada Regional Park in Port Coquitlam. There is a few walking, hiking, and biking trails throughout the park, but this one is my favourite.

You’ll start by parking in the Quarry Road parking lot and will see the trailhead right from the lot. Follow the signs towards the High Knoll trail (there is also a Low Knoll – also nice, but less impressive views). The trail is fairly easy, with some ups and downs, and a final ascent at the end to the viewpoint, which is simply stunning!

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 7km roundtrip (out-and-back trail)
  • Elevation Gain: 180 meters
  • Time to complete: 2 hours

3. Crystal Falls

Who doesn’t love a good waterfall? Crystal Falls offers a beautiful forest trail to an amazing waterfall. It’s the perfect hike if you just have a short time and want to immerse yourself in nature. Crystal Falls is in Coquitlam and follows alongside the Coquitlam River. There is no real elevation gain, so it’s a great hike for someone who is a new hiker or to bring the whole family along on!

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 7km roundtrip (out-and-back trail)
  • Elevation Gain: minimal
  • Time to complete: 2 hours
There it is! Jug Island.

4. Jug Island Beach Hike

One of the most popular hikes in Vancouver is Quarry Rock, located in Deep Cove, with gorgeous views over the Indian Arm inlet. Well, just on the other side of that inlet – with many of the same views – is Belcarra Park, home to the Jug Island Beach Hike! This is one of my favourite hikes because it’s also the perfect place to go for a mid-hike picnic and swim.

The trail starts in Belcarra Park, where you can start the hike right from the parking lot. The hike is well-marked and takes you through a beautiful forest. There is some elevation gain, but not too much. The hike ends at the beach with a view of Jug Island, a tiny little rocky island that is very picturesque. You should definitely bring a picnic lunch and maybe your swim suit to go for a swim!

  • Difficulty: Easy-moderate
  • Distance: 5.5km roundtrip (out-and-back trail)
  • Elevation Gain: 100 meters
  • Time to complete: 2.5 hours (plus more time to swim!)
Sunset over Sasamat Lake

5. Sasamat Lake Trail

Okay, I’m a sucker for a hike and swim combo, and this is another great option! Sasamat Lake is located in White Pine Beach near Port Moody and is one of the warmest lakes in the area, perfect for a sunny beach day after your hike. The hike is quite short, just one hour, and many people will use it for trail running. The hike is a beautiful jaunt through the forest with great views of the lake!

I definitely recommend you bring your beach gear to enjoy a day relaxing in the sun afterwards. There is also a concession stand at Sasamat Beach so you can get a little snack!

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 3.2km loop
  • Elevation Gain: minimal
  • Time to complete: 1 hour (plus another few hours to enjoy the beach)

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