This weekend we biked the Spirit Trail from Shipbuilders’ Square in North Vancouver to John Lawson park in West Vancouver, a ride of about 8.5km in each direction. I’ve marked our start and end positions on the official Spirit Trail map, above. The Spirit Trail is almost entirely flat, except for a short incline section at the Harbourside West Overpass, which allows bikers and pedestrians to cross over the CN Rail lines.
We rode with another family, so we had 4 adults (2 with toddler seats) and 2 kids (age 5.5). We rode part of the Spirit Trail last year, ending at Whole Foods for lunch, but this year decided to push further, since our kids very obviously were both faster and had more stamina for a longer ride.
We made the trip there with a stop at a local playground about half way into the ride, to give the kids a chance to have a snack and take a break. On the return trip, the kids pushed through the entire ride with only a brief stop to chat with friends near the Kings Mill Walk Park section, which is a beautiful section of the ride.
The whole ride is very easy, paved, and with wide-paths for the majority of the time. The area near Park Royal requires some street riding (be careful on the bridge and at the intersection), and there can be a bit of pedestrian congestion on the trail in this area too, but generally speaking it’s a super fast ride. The only problematic part of the Spirit Trail is an “incomplete” section through the Mosquito Creek Marina / Squamish Nation, which is not marked well on all maps. It is hoped that an official passage through this area will be ready by 2016, but until then you either have to go around or hope someone at the Marina is generous enough to let you pass through the gated areas.
If you’re in North Vancouver, this a great introduction to longer bike rides for younger kids, with forgiving paths and trails that can help you teach them the rules of safe biking (which come in handy on busy biking trails like at Stanley Park).