- Difficulty Easy
- Time 0.75 hours
- Round-Trip 2.5km
- Elevation Gain minimal
- Season year-round
- Camping No
- From Vancouver 20 minutes
- Public Transit Yes
- Dog Friendly No
Managed by the Wild Bird Trust of British Columbia, Maplewood Flats Conservation Area is a popular bird watching park and a great place for a family outing along Burrard Inlet. Located just east of the 2nd Narrows Bridge in North Vancouver off the old Dollarton Highway, there are more than 200 hundred species of birds that area spotted in the park annually.
From the parking area, walk south towards Burrard Inlet along the gravel trail passing the Nature House and picnic tables. Stay on the main trail and a few minutes later, you reach the wooden bridge that crosses over the old barge channel. There is a section of beach just left of the bridge, before walking onto the bridge, known as Osprey Point which offers scenic views of the harbour and your first glimpses of the wildlife nearby.
After crossing the bridge, go left and start the loop in a clock-wise direction. The trail heads south and wraps around the shore where it meets a short path that leads to a viewpoint of the harbour. Back on the main trail, the next path to the left leads to a viewing area of the Salt Marsh where the terrain is rocky and popular amongst the seagulls.
Continue along the loop until you reach a viewing area on the west side of the pond, where you may see several species of ducks, including the uniquely coloured wood duck. Beyond this viewing area, the trail continues through a wooded section, wrapping around the park until reaching the service road. Follow the service road and go left at the junction where to your immediate left there is a view of the Dragonfly Pond.
The trail continues to another junction, where the left route leads to the top of the hill where there are 2 viewing points, both fairly covered by the surrounded trees. Back at the junction, take the other route to the right and the trail rejoins the original route as you go left and cross back over the wooden bridge.
After returning to the east side of the park, watch for the trail to the mud flats on your right and follow this route where it branches to a viewpoint on the right. Back on the mudflat route, go right at the next junction and pass through the fence out onto the beach area with the mudflats on your left. Be sure to stay out of this area as the sensitive eco-system would be easily damaged by people walking through the protected bird habitat.
Walk back out of the mudflats along the trail and go right, continuing the small look as it quickly meets back up with the main trail a few meters from the entrance to the park.