Recently, our InfoLine received a call asking about great places to go wheeling in and around Vancouver this winter. Our staff rang in with some of their favourite places and what they like about them.
Are you new to the Lower Mainland or looking for a great new place to go winter wheeling? Here’s a list of staff faves that boast some must-haves for a fantastic wintry day in the outdoors. Trails that are firm enough for wet west coast adventures, pathways with ocean, mountain and forest views, birds, rabbits and even float homes!
Remember that accessibility needs may differ based on the individual. Please make sure that whatever trail you explore is suited to your particular needs!
The Spirit Trail
This beautiful trail is a collaboration between First Nations, North Shore municipalities, and the provincial and federal governments. It’s a smooth, paved, urban path that runs from Lions Gate past the Lonsdale Quay and all the way to Deep Cove— if you’re okay with some time along Dollarton Hwy. Travelling between Lions Gate and the Quay, you’ll see the shipyards, an adorable houseboat community and beautiful beach fronts. Start from the parking lot at the west end of the trail at Welch St. and Ikwikws Rd. near the Lions Gate Bridge. Head towards the Lonsdale Quay for a tasty reward, shopping and entertainment. Enjoy!
The Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve
If you need some time surrounded by nature, head to the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve for a smooth, 10 km wheel, and weave into the soothing landscape of the forest. The path isn’t entirely flat so expect the occasional paved hill that’s considered manageable. The trail around Rice Lake has accessible sections, but wheeling the entire trail isn’t recommended as there are steeper pitches. You’ll find accessible washrooms at the Rice Lake parking lot, as well as accessible outhouses along the Seymour valley trail at the picnic sites. If it’s a cold day, the trail can be icy, so be sure to check the temperature before heading out.
This conservation area made up of low vegetation, rough grasslands and mudflats is home to more than 250 species of birds. Numerous lookouts along the trail provide wonderful vantage points to observe wildlife and offer amazing mountain and ocean views. The mostly flat, hard-packed gravel trails allow for stress-free wheeling around this 4 km loop trail. It can get quite busy here on sunny days, but if the weather is rainy, it can be more tranquil and may offer more chances to bird-watch! The entire trail network is wheelchair accessible, as are the washrooms.
Seaview Walk in West Vancouver
A relatively quiet and beautiful trail that runs from Gleneagles Golf Course to Eagle Harbour. Travel through the towering trees on hard-packed, gravel pathways and enjoy views of Thunderbird Marina, Eagle Harbour, and the ocean. There are no washrooms along the way, but Gleneagles Community Centre near the start of the trail has accessible facilities including push-button doors, accessible washrooms, an elevator and accessible parking. If you park at the community centre, you’ll have to cross Marine Drive, so it may be a good idea to check out the parking lot at the trailhead as an alternate place to get out of your vehicle. Enjoy this trail, it’s a beauty!
West Vancouver Seawall from Ambleside Park to Dundarave Pier
This fantastic path runs 5 km (one way!) from Ambleside Park along the coast, to Dundarave Pier. The wide, paved trail is very popular for its breathtaking views of the ocean, Lionsgate Bridge, Vancouver, Stanley Park, and the westside of Vancouver. If you go in the evening, it gets even better, as the sunsets here are stunning. If it’s stormy and the tide is high, waves can come crashing up on the sidewalk, so be sure to check your tide tables if the weather is blustery, and as always…when on the water, dress warmly!
Find the starting point at Ambleside Park here.
Jericho Beach to Spanish Banks
With its unobstructed views of the water and North Shore mountains, it’s nothing short of spectacular. Wide, hard-packed gravel and concrete trails provide for good wheeling. A profusion of rabbits live in warrens just east of the Jericho Sailing Club and are sure to put a smile on your face. There are three concession stands from Jericho park to Spanish Banks, however, accessible washrooms are located here, off the path between Jericho Beach and Locarno Beach. If you visit, it will be a scenic day for sure, but dress warmly, as the wind can really kick up here!
Find it here.
Trout Lake (John Hendry) Park
This oasis near the hip and happening Commercial Drive area in East Vancouver has a nice, flat-packed dirt trail and paved path that circles all around the lake. Grab a drink or snack at the concession stand located at the south end of the lake, and enjoy spontaneous music performances, the mountain view and the beautiful trees and vegetation throughout the park. Trout Lake Community Centre is a fully accessible facility with an elevator and accessible washrooms.
AllTrails Wheelchair friendly trails in BC
Vanloos lists accessible washrooms in Vancouver