Written by Tyler Ingram 23/07/18
There are lots of places to explore within the greater Vancouver area. We have beaches, we have mountains and we have things in between. There are many places you can take your family based on the type of activity you want to do as well. I personally like to find walks or hikes within a reasonable travel time. After all, kids do not like being stuck in their car seats for long periods of time.
I have been wanting to do something new with the kids. Something that I have not done nor have the kids. The requirements for such an outing are fairly simple: the area needs to be within a short driving distance; and the area could cater to the small legs of a 2 and a half year old but keep the interest of a 5 year old. I would also like an area that did not seem like it was part of the urban sprawl of our metropolitan area. This is where North Delta comes to mind, in particular Burns Bog.
What is Burns Bog? Well, Burns Bog is an area approximately 3,000 hectares in the Fraser River delta and is the largest undeveloped urban landmass in North America. Burns Bog is 8 times larger than Vancouver’s Stanley Park! It sits between the south portion of the Fraser River and Boundary Bay. Chances are you have driven past it or through it a few times in your life time.
If Burns Bog is so big, why is it good for visits with small children?
Burns Bog is big, but the portion you can visit is part of the Delta Nature Reserve and is approximately 2.5 km in size. It consists of a raise boardwalk that travels around the bog and through portions of it.
How does one get to Burns Bog?
Burns Bog, the part you can visit, is in an odd place you might not think of at first. You park at the parking lot of the Planet Ice building next to the Highway 91 and Nordel Way. Parking is free which is always a bonus. Once parked, you can head towards the eastern part of the Planet Ice building to where there is a brick pathway. This pathway will take you under the overpass of Nordel Way.
What to Bring?
Depending on how old your kids are, I would recommend bringing a stroller or a way to carry them comfortably should they find the walk too long. It may be a little harder on little legs. With about 2.5 km worth of trails, I would have thought my kids would have been able to handle it but both of them expressed their tiredness 3/4s of they way around. A dad fail on my part as I did not bring a stroller (in the car) or carrier (also in the car) with us. I had to carry my daughter on my hip and eventually on my shoulders later in the walk.
Bring snacks and of course bring water. There are benches along the boardwalk throughout. There are a few places you might enjoy a picnic too if you bring a blanket to sit upon.
The only washroom/toilet is at Planet Ice itself, though I am sure little kids will make use of the outdoors. Just make sure the littles, and yourself, go before you start the walk!
Welcome to Burns Bog
Allow yourself about 1.5 hours depending on how fast your little ones can walk. I cut our walk a bit short but you could easily spend another 30 to 40 minutes walking the entire outer section of boardwalk.
From the parking lot to the first sign (park entrance) that has the map of the park, the walk is approximately 8 minutes.
From there, the first entrance, which is also the first section of boardwalk, is only 5 minutes from that point. As I have not been to Burn’s Bog, I opted to take us down the first entrance which follows along the outside of the park.
Along the way you will walk among salal, a staple in the lives of west coast First Nations people, pine trees, evergreen trees and various other flora. You will also hear a variety of birds too. Burns Bog is known as a stopover for over 400 different species of birds.
Dotted along the boardwalk are also informational signage explaining the history of the area and the purpose of the bog.
The boardwalk starts off under the cover of the forest canopy and then meanders through the trees and various other vegetation.
You eventually come out into a clearing which you can see and hear the traffic but it is still off in the distance. Enough of a distance not to ruin the beauty of the area.
Perhaps a great spot for a picnic in the meadow.
The boardwalk will eventually go back into the forest, but the forest floor is different. There is very little salal or ferns and the trees are primarily the evergreen needle variety.
Another informational sign explains why Burn’s Bog is important to the surrounding Vancouver area.
The boardwalk continues on though on wetter days the peat bog surface can be bouncy like a sponge or quite muddy. Muddy enough to loose foot wear if one is not careful.
When we came up to the first fork in the boardwalk we took the left path as I wanted to try and find the sunken tractor that we read about in the first sign.
We went through the Skunk Cabbage Meadows or as other people might know them as Swamp Lantern. The kids wanted to know why they had the name Skunk but at this time of year the skunk cabbage was wilted and dried up so they did not produce any smells. Then again, their smell has never been too strong. Too bad they were in rough shape, the plants not the children, else I would have taken photos of them
Eventually, and thankfully, we came across the sunken tractor. The story is that the tractor was stolen from a nearby farm. The thief thought he could outrun and hide from the police by going through the bog. He was wrong, and got the tractor stuck. Attempts to pull the tractor out with another tractor failed when the rescue tractor got stuck in the bog too. It was saved by being lifted out with a helicopter, but the stolen tractor could not be rescued and has since been stuck in the bog since.
Here you can stop and rest. Take in the beauty of the surrounding area and listen to the sounds of the birds. From this point, the time to get back to the first entrance is approximately 8 minutes along a gravel path next to a small creek.
From the first boardwalk entrance it is about a 13 minute walk back to the parking lot at Planet Ice.
Overall I enjoyed visiting Burn’s Bog out in North Delta. The kids enjoyed most of it but were pretty tired after I got them back into the car. I should have brought our stroller so that the kids could have taken turns resting while still moving. The boardwalk is stroller-friendly which is great, especially when the bog could be wet during rainy days.
I would highly recommend checking out Burn’s Bog with the kids if you are looking for a different outdoor activity. I am sure we will go back and visit the bog again!
We were very excited to work with local blogger and photographer Tyler Ingram of A Dad’s Adventure. We love his photographic journeys with his two (soon-to-be-three!) kids and wife. Head on over to his blog for more photos, experiences and expert product reviews at adadsadventures.ca. Thanks Tyler for sharing your experience and photos from exploring in Burns Bog!
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