You may have read about how I’m trying to work more trails into my day-to-day running. I’m beginning to see the uneven ground of the trails as a great strength and stabilizer exercise instead of just something to trip on. (I’m sure I’ll still have my fair share of trips and falls though!)
This weekend I got to have some fun on the North Shore trails with some good friends but living down by the border however, it’s not super convenient to get out to the north shore very often so I’ve been spending some of my weekday runs exploring our local and regional parks here in the Fraser Valley. I’ve been very pleasantly surprised and have started to look forward to these weekday runs so much more than I used to.
You might not live near enough to run in any of these places but I wanted to do share some of the awesome urban trails and pathways I’ve been running on during my training…
1. Redwood Park (Surrey, BC) I recently discovered this local park and it has a really cool history. Early pioneer David Brown lived in this area in 1878 and gifted the land to his sons when they turned 21. Lovers of trees, they imported and planted exotic trees from around the world and now this park is home to an amazing collection of towering evergreens. There is even a treehouse in the park similar to the one the brothers lived in themselves.
Redwood Park is located on a pretty steep hillside and has about 5.2 km of trails, mostly gravel and packed dirt but I found tons of additional trails that had been cut through the property. It seemed that every few steps there was a new one to explore and I think you could loop around and get in a fair distance. My run there included everything from pathways, logs, steep downhill, single track-type dirt trails to even some short sections of technical-ish downhill which was super fun. For a local park I feel like I got a really good workout here today.
2. Crescent Park (Surrey, BC) I remember passing this park as a kid on our way to my Aunt and Uncle’s house but in my 20 years living in South Surrey, I had never once been in the park until a couple weeks ago. I decided to work it into a 32 km run a little while ago and it made for the most breathtaking experience with the sun and the fog through the trees.
Crescent Park is small and pretty much flat with about 3.8 km of trails (round trip). I cut diagonally across the park so couldn’t explore too much but there were tons of side trails that would have allowed for a lot of looping if you had more time to run. The trails were all nice, wide packed dirt trails but twisty enough that it was still fun.
3. Campbell Valley Park (Langley, BC) Campbell Valley is one of the biggest parks down in my area and has so many trails to explore. The website says there are 29 km of trails, in fact. I’ve run here many times both on my own and for races (Campbell Valley Trail Race and Campbell Valley Wine Run). The park is huge and there are lots of different conditions from packed gravel pathways, horse trails, boardwalks, bridges and packed dirt trail. From what I’ve seen there is nothing terribly technical but Campbell Valley is a lovely place to get lost in the woods and being the size that it is, you can get in a nice long run here too.
4. Elgin Heritage Park (Surrey, BC) I’m including this small park because it was a really neat surprise when I ran there the first time. When I was mapping out my 32 km run a couple weeks ago, I thought I could see some dyke trails in this area so included it in my route.
When I got there I found it was an actual park with a nice little system of dirt and gravel paths. Pancake flat with just over 3.0 km of trails, Elgin Heritage Park certainly isn’t big or technical but it was a really lovely section of my run and I could see it easily being incorporated into a lot of other distances.
|This dyke trail along the Nicomekl River was pretty
even in the fog
5. White Rock Beach & Promenade (White Rock, BC) Okay, okay so this isn’t exactly a park nor is it a trail but the White Rock promenade is definitely worth a mention (and that’s why it’s a bonus to this Friday Five). We are pretty lucky to have such a nice beach so close to home and I try to incorporate it into my runs whenever I can.
The promenade is a paving stone pathway that runs the entire 2.2 km length of the beach. Throw in the 470m White Rock Pier and you can have a nice little 5.4 km run round trip. The beach itself is just under 4 km from home so altogether it would make a nice 12 km run, mostly along the beach.
|My son on the pier looking at this city’s
namesake, the White Rock
6. Sunnyside Acres Urban Forest (Surrey, BC) This 130 hectare park was declared an ‘urban forest’ in 1988 and includes a variety of trails, a nature reserve and even a mountain bike park. The website says that there are only 4km of trails but when I ran there I was able to loop around and follow all kinds of little trails and easily do a longer distance. The park is mostly flat and while the trails aren’t ‘technical’ there are some fun, twisty dirt ones that traverse the centre of the park where I found myself dodging trees, jumping logs and enjoying myself quite a bit. Other runners have told me that the mountain bike trails can be quite fun to run but I’m a bit nervous to try it out in case I get in the way of the bikers.
Anyhow, Sunnyside Acres is another nice local park to find a bit of dirt and run. It’s also conveniently located right near the track I use so I could see myself doing a combo of some trails to warm up and then a track workout.
Where do you like to run locally?