Tracey Rayson – October 31 2020
Any intrepid explorer will tell you, a discovery, like a diamond in the rough, is an extra reward to the journey itself. It’s the pièce de résistance. The reward for elevating your heart rate as you trek along the Sawblade Falls hike—is the impressive namesake themselves—the Sawblade Falls, and the added bonus, the smaller Woodland Falls, about 4kms into the hike.
Location: Pinecone Burke Provincial Park, Coquitlam. Level: Easy with steep sections; Type: Partial loop; Distance: 7.2–9kms round-trip;
Time: 3.5–4 hours; Open: Year-round; Highest point: 583m;
Dog friendly: On-leash; Directions/Map
- Scenic & accessible year-round
Your access to the trailhead begins on foot from the gravel roadbed, followed by a hairpin turn to the dirt road, and onward to the Woodland Walk signpost. Trek along the Lower Loop trail to Sawblade Falls and return via the Upper Loop to complete the hike. Vistas like Mount Beautiful, Dilly Peak, and Eagle Ridge are strikingly picturesque.A dense tree canopy of towering cedars provide a good measure of shelter from most of the elements; whether light rain, wind or sun, you’ll be fairly protected on the forested trail to comfortably enjoy an all-season hike.
- Variety of Terrain
Just because it’s rated an easy hike, don’t be fooled. Boring it’s not! It’ll keep you on your toes—in some sections—literally. Prepare for a range of flat expanses, rocky and rugged forest floor, gradual grades and sharp climbs, wooden steps and bridges, lively streams, boulder-hoping creek crossings, zigzags aka switchbacks, and gnarly exposed roots.The entire trail, regardless of your skill level, requires reverence for safe exploration. Preparation is key to avoid unwanted surprises, including bear encounters. Know what to do if you face one. When hiking with companions, adhere to physical distancing as recommended by BC’s provincial health officials to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Wear weather-appropriate gear and supportive footwear; waterproof hiking boots particularly in winter months are recommended. Be mindful of loose and slippery rocks.
- Easy to Navigate
The Lower Loop is straightforward and well marked with ample signage, and the trees designated with orange tape and blue markers help guide you down the trail of the Upper Loop, thanks to the dedicated efforts of the Burke Mountain Naturalists. These visible trail markings throughout make the entire trek easy to traverse.
- Instagramable bonus: Woodland Falls
The massive red cedar stump, evidence of long ago logging, makes for a natural marker to indicate the short approach to the falls—and even better—a pedestal for posing. You’ll feel a world away ensconced in the natural splendor—although remarkably—you’re not far from Coquitlam’s thriving metropolis.
- Insta-worthy highlight: Sawblade Falls
What’s not to love about a hike that provides a big reward? Leading to the falls, the final stretch is the most difficult, rising sharply for generally a 15- to 20-minute climb. The upshot? Coho Creek gushes down to create the stunningly impressive 12-metre falls.If you’re lucky enough to witness the falls when temps drop below freezing, a whole new Instagram-worthy photo op unfolds. Icy formations suspended among the rocks make for a magical snapshot, maybe not quite a scene out of Frozen, but beautiful nonetheless.