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Pack a lunch, grab your bicycle and don't forget that transit pass!
This is an excerpt from the book Parks and Nature Places Around Vancouver by Nature Vancouver (Harbour Publishing, $24.95), edited by Alison Parkinson.
Click for more day trips ideas!
Grant Narrows Regional Park lies at the end of a 15.5 km flat cycle ride through wide expanses of diked farmlands and nature reserves.
The park, at the south end of Pitt Lake, is at the north end of a narrowing valley between rugged mountain peaks. The view of the surrounding mountains is spectacular, particularly when snow-capped.
The park is small. However, it is located within the Pitt-Addington Marsh Wildlife Management Area (PAMWMA), into which several trails lead from the park. Grant Narrows is the focal point of many kilometres of dike-top trails. Its boat launch facilities provide a jumping-off point for land and water adventures for boaters, kayakers and canoeists travelling up Pitt Lake and beyond. A favourite adventure is to rent a kayak or canoe at the park and enjoy a leisurely paddle through the meandering waterways of Widgeon Creek to a public campsite and a short hike to Widgeon Falls.
An attraction of the park is its completely natural location, surrounded by Pinecone Burke Provincial Park, Golden Ears Provincial Park, UBC Malcolm Knapp Research Forest and PAMWMA. The park is a stopover spot for many migrating birds such as warblers, thrushes and waterfowl in spring and fall. PAMWMA supports a breeding population of sandhill cranes that you can often see and hear while you are journeying to Grant Narrows.
At Grant Narrows Park, the big draw for many is the wooded Nature Dike Trail, which is a walking trail only. Turn right at the food concession; the trail leads southeast toward the mountains. It is home to many species of birds that are hard to find elsewhere in the Lower Mainland, for example, gray catbirds, eastern kingbirds and Bullock’s orioles. It has hosted rarities including American redstarts, Baltimore orioles, black-throated sparrows and veeries. There is a viewing platform 1.8 km along the trail.
On another dike, the Pitt River Dike Trail continues alongside Pitt Lake from the parking area. It allows excellent observation of nesting ospreys from May through August from a viewing platform that affords spectacular views of the Katzie Marsh, Pitt Lake and the surrounding mountains. Scanning the marsh provides an opportunity to see most of BC’s waterfowl species, with large concentrations of trumpeter swans in spring. The marsh has a small breeding population of mute swans and occasionally trumpeter swans in the summer.
Travel to Coquitlam Centre Station and board the #701 Haney Place/Maple Ridge East bus, alighting at the Dewdney Trunk Rd. and 203rd St. stop.
Then cycle north on 203rd St. for 2.1 km.
Turn right onto Old Dewdney Trunk Rd. and cycle east for 0.8 km.
Next turn left at Neaves Rd., which later becomes Rannie Rd. and cycle north for 12.6 km to the park entrance.
Your cycle ride back can be an adventure; dike-top trails provide an option to get off pavement for much of your return to the bus.
Click here for the Google Map with directions
Above map courtesy Greater Vancouver Parks.