Coquitlam Lake Viewpoint

July 1, 2008

If you don't live in Canada you should know that July 1st is Canada Day (formerly Dominion Day) and to celebrate I decided to do a low elevation hike to avoid the still present snowpack. Today I was accompanied by two special friends, Duane and Annie.

Duane and Annie

To get to the trailhead drive almost to the top of Coast Meridian Road on the northside of Port Coquitlam. Just before the top, you will see Harper Road on your right. Turn here and drive almost to the Port Coquitlam Hunting and Fishing Club. Just before the entrance you will see a yellow gate, this is the start of your hike, welcome to Pinecone Burke Provincial Park

Following the main road very soon you will arrive to a junction where you need to turn left.

The name Coquitlam comes from the Salish word 'Kwayhquitlum', meaning red fish in the river, referring to the river’s annual salmon spawning run.

Eventually you will pass under a set of power lines and then you will reach another junction. Go right, the left one is called Woodland Walk and is a good maintenance hike for winter.

After a while you will find Prichett Creek, a bit tricky creek to cross and a good test for your balance.

Prichett Creek

The creation of Pinecone Burke Provincial Park was a result of the work of conservationists in the Coquitlam area, who formed the Friends of Burke Mountain. These dedicated local citizens, spearheaded especially by John Cashore (who later became Minister of Parks in the 1990s) and Mark Haddock, had been proposing for decades the protection of this area.

On our way up we saw banana slugs (the second-largest species of land slug in the world) and one happy deer. The trail basically follows an old logging road

You will reach another junction, this time go left.

Junction, go left for the viewpoint

One hundred years ago, the Canadian Robert Dollar Company of Dollarton logged the lower slopes of Burke Mountain with a steam railway. Because of this the peak was called Dollar Mountain by the early residents. Rail lines snaked along the sidehill of Westwood slope, across the Coquitlam River on a trestle and up to the timber on Burke Mountain.

Back to our hike, eventually you will arrive to another creek where you can take a well deserved rest. You need it, there is a steep hill ahead of you.

Shortly after crossing the creek you will reach a junction, go right. The next part of the hike is mostly rocky with some wet and slippery slabs. After leaving the slabs you will reach subalpine meadows. At this point the road seems to divide, resist the temptation and keep going left.

In less than 300 meters the flags will show you to turn slightly left towards the viewpoint.

Coquitlam Lake is a reservoir and a major component of the Greater Vancouver Regional District's water supply system for the Vancouver metropolitan area, and also a part of BC Hydro's power generation system. A tunnel directs water from the lake to nearby Buntzen Lake, and from there into a pair of power stations.

Top - Eagle Rigde with Buntzen Lake on the other side
Middle - Coquitlam Lake

The first Coquitlam Dam, built to raise the water level by five feet (1.5 m), was begun in April 1904, and completed in 1905. It was built to protect the water supply to the powerhouses, and also supplied water to New Westminster. By 1906 the original dam was discovered to be leaking, and while repairs were made the leak continued through 1908, until the current dam was completed in 1914

Download Video of the Hike - 0:44 minutes
Windows - WMV File - 7.40 MB

1. N 49.3134 W 122.7493 Elev: 348m Trailhead
2. N 49.3508 W 122.7374 Elev: 902m Viewpoint

Roundtrip length: 10.60 km (6.63 miles)
Time: 5 hours
Elevation gain: 554 m (1817 ft)

Download route in GTM format available for free at
Download route in plain text

Driving distance from Vancouver: 29 kilometers / 18 miles (0.75 hours)

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