A great run in East Maple Ridge. There are lots of challenges on this one. Some great hills (some with steps cut into the side of the mountain - thanks to volunteers for those) and beauty everywhere you look. It's a hard one on the legs, and you have to watch for steep drop offs in places. Also, it is prone to wind fall, but it's pretty well-maintained (again thanks to volunteers).
Features: Birding — Fall Colors — River/Creek — Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife
Need to Know
There are a few small creeks along the way, but rocks have been built up so you can use them for crossing. Again, watch the steep terrain near the top. Watch for downed trees. No parking lot but there is lots of street parking on Jackson Road.
Keep an eye out for "trail snakes." There are lots of loose rocks, roots, etc. Also, wear a bear bell in season. I've run into a few bears up there.
First of all, I am lucky that I can just head out my front door, go less than a km on the streets until I'm in full trail mode. This was a route I saw on Google Maps and always wanted to do it. The first time I missed the entry to the backside trail. Obviously, it's been around for a long time but not sure when it was first carved out.
After that it climbs pretty quickly up the mountain and takes about 3 kms before it flattens out a bit (well not really flattens,but is less of a climb). After that, you have to go on a gravel road but only for a short bit before you're back on the trails.
You then have a couple more kilometers before it gets really tough. Going up the backside of the mountain is rough but the scenery is worth it. Volunteers have cut steps in the trail where its really steep and there are a few switchbacks on the way up. Watch as you near the top as the trail runs right along the edge, and it's a steep drop off.
The trail tops out at the cell phone tower and then you're on hiking/mountain bike trails all the way down. There are lots of ups and downs to have fun on. Just watch for bikers flying down the hill. I have never had a problem yet.
Then you pop out of the woods onto a bluff where you have a beautiful view of the Fraser River (on a non foggy day). After that it's pretty much basic trails all the way back down until you hit the street again.
I have been running this for a few years, and it never gets boring and it never gets easy. There is always something new to see. Also, there are not too many people out there (especially on the backside). If you're into geocaching, there are lots of spots up there to hunt for hidden stuff.
Flora & Fauna
Typical west coast trees. Lots of ferns as well.