Burke Mountain is a broad 1270 m peak bordering northeast Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam, and is the southernmost mountain in the Coquitlam Range which runs along the east side of Coquitlam Lake. The actual feature with the name “Mount Burke” is a small hill near the southeast side of the feature that is commonly known as Burke Mountain.
The area is characterized by a vast network of mountain bike trails and old logging roads, and is heavily used year round by outdoor enthusiasts. The entire area is a part of the much larger Pinecone Burke Provincial Park, and also includes a group of cabins, and the site of a failed ski development.
Although most of this area is a park the trails are not officially marked, or maintained to any standard by BC Parks and the area is considered wilderness and unmanaged. An official park planning process is underway, so things may change.
In addition, the lower slopes of the mountain outside the park boundary are under intensive development, and trails in these areas can be blocked, or change entirely.
The trails on the mountain are too numerous to list here. Hiking trails for the area are well covered in the book Burke and Widgeon by Lyle Litzenberger. A very general description is below.
Harper Road is the name for the main logging road / access road that extends from the area near the top of Coast Meridian Road, and continues up the mountain to the site of the old ski chalet. The cleared ski runs are still visible, as are the remains of the chalet which burned down. Harper road is the main access for mountain bikes and hikers.
Woodland Walk / LakeView Trail
The upper and lower village trails access the cabins on Burke.
The Munro Lake trail is locally known as the Goat Trail and is used by many people as a training route. Very rough and not well maintained, it rises from Quarry Road on the south east side of the mountain through some very steep terrain, ending at Munroe Lake.
Munro Lake / Denett Lake
The area near Munro and Dennett lakes have a series of trails connecting to other areas and can be quite difficult to follow.
Types of Calls
Calls to the Burke Mountain area are usually for lost hikers as the trails are not well maintained or marked. We also respond to many mountain bike injuries, often in cooperation with Coquitlam Fire Rescue.
Several significant searches have occurred in the area near the Goat Trail. The terrain on this side of the mountain is extreme, and quite surprising considering the gentle rolling nature of the other parts of Burke. There are several creeks in this area that lead missing people into extremely steep, very high cliffs.
Also, Burke Mountain is the only place in the Lower Mainland where snowmobiles are allowed. People who own cabins in the park are allowed to access them via snowmobile. Because of this, Coquitlam SAR responds to snowmobile rescues from time to time.
Be careful when navigating on Burke Mountain, even though this is a park and there are some park signs, the trails are not maintained, or marked by any standard. Some volunteers have worked on certain trails, and there are many game routes, mountain bike trails, and old logging roads to lead people astray.
Also, most people underestimate the elevation of Burke Mountain which is almost the same height as the North Shore mountains, and if you can see snow on the North Shore, there is snow on Burke.