Tucked discreetly away in a residential neighborhood, Hastings Creek Park is a little-known local gem. A delightful, shaded route following a meandering creek, it is a dog friendly, off-leash trail with few people on it. It undergoes elevation changes up sloped terrain and then down again to creek-level several times, facilitated by wooden stairs.
Over the many years that I’ve walked this trail, I’ve glimpsed a variety of wildlife: herons standing regally in the creek, bats flitting over the water at dusk, and a baby black bear up a tree, bawling for its mother (I high-tailed it out of there with my dog on that day). For two years running, I witnessed a pair of great snowy owls make the creek their home for raising an owlet. Alas, I didn’t have a camera during that period, but I carry fond memories of the owlet’s round face when I and my dog watched it attempt flying; it flapped clumsily to a branch and stared, stunned and head bobbing, at the peculiar intruders watching it. Its large and very predatory looking mother swooped down to a branch only four feet above my head. I heeded the warning and briskly continued on my way.
As of 2017, there are no signs announcing the trailhead/park’s location, and the parking lot looks merely like a gravel pullover. It’s located at the junction of Arborlynn Drive and Hoskins Road, with the gravel pullover/parking spot on Hoskins Road itself. The trail wends its way up the creek with the terminus behind the Ross Road Elementary school. The round trip from start to finish at a vigorous clip takes about 40 minutes. It’s not a flat route by any means and impossible for strollers. The path is very rough in sections, with some of the older stairs decaying in a gentle cant toward the creek.
Coming to Vancouver? We’d love to hear from you!
Hastings Creek was named after Vice-Admiral George Fowler Hastings of the H.M.S. Zealous, a commander of the Pacific station from 1866 to 1869. Extensive mapping and exploration occurred during this period around the region, leading to his name being commemorated in numerous geographic features. One of the early settlers of North Vancouver, Mr. Walter MacKay Draycott, lamented that Lynn Valley was “wrongly named, [for it] lies in the valley of Hastings Creek!” Hastings Street, a main east-west corridor in Vancouver, is named for the Vice-Admiral Hastings, as well as Hastings Park and the adjacent neighborhood of Hastings-Sunrise.