I am an avid hiker with a focus on easy to moderate trails in natural settings. I occasionally do harder trails.
Iona Beach Regional Park Trailhead in Richmond, British Columbia
Getting out to Iona Beach Regional Park will require a car or bicycle. I've never seen a public transit bus heading out there on my many visits. The road to this park is kind of hidden in behind Vancouver International Airport (YVR) on roads that you probably won't use much so be sure to have this destination plugged into Google Maps before you hit the road.
A popular area for birdwatching, there are some simple trails in the greater area. However, I don't think most people will find Pirate's Cove, a hidden 'treasure' in Richmond, all that impressive. In fact, I would recommend skipping most trails out in this area if you are a nature enthusiast. I will recommend the Iona Jetty Trail as a bright light in the area and for all of Richmond, a city to the south of Vancouver that doesn't have much for trail hiking at all.
One thing that you have to watch for in this park is the park schedule. At different times of the year, it has different hours. A good rule of thumb is to go by sunlight. There are scary warnings that state that your car will be locked in if you don't pay attention and adhere to the park closure time. The following video will orient you to the trailhead area of the Iona Jetty Trail in Iona Beach Park.
Trailhead Area at Iona Beach Park
Richmond Is Not Great for Trail Hiking
Richmond, in all honesty, is not a destination for trail hikers. It might be a good place for trail walkers, however, if you are looking for the athletic form of walking known as hiking, then Richmond isn't for you.
This island city is flat and, accordingly, you just can't find any serious elevation in the city. If you are in Richmond and want decent hiking trails then head out to Pacific Spirit Regional Park in southwest Vancouver near UBC. There are some spots in the park where you will find large staircases (but watch out for the nude beach!).
Richmond trails, when I think of them, are typically on the perimeter of the city. There are views of the Fraser River and the Salish Sea. Iona Jetty is no different and, although I may sound critical of the trail, I actually do really like it.
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Iona Jetty Trail Is Very Easy
This is a great trail for someone that wants a trail that is a little bit long but not very difficult. The biggest difficulty with walking this trail is just dealing with the wind. On a sunny afternoon, you will not find any shade on this trail so be sure to slop on some sunscreen.
The trail is on a path the jets out into the Salish Sea between Richmond and Vancouver Island. It's flat almost the entire way except for a couple of staircases that have less than a dozen steps each.
What makes this trail unique is that you get to a decent viewpoint at the end of it. Usually, to get a nice viewpoint you have to hike a trail with serious elevation.
However, Iona Jetty Trail is situated in a location where you get a wide-open view of the area. Expect sunsets to be nice if the day is not cloudy. Additionally, you can also expect to see a lot of planes landing or taking off from YVR airport. That's something that kids should like.
There are also a lot of opportunities for birdwatching in this area. On one memorable viewing, I saw swarms of birds flying in unison over the water. The only other wildlife I've seen on Iona Jetty were seals at the very end of the trail.
The following video will show you the endpoint area of the trail. En route, you can expect what you see in the video: it's a very wide trail with grey gravel for gripping. There are rain shelters on the way there too.
You can also pay attention to the audio in this video. You can really hear the wind in this park and it's not a pleasant trail in the rain since you are generally completely exposed to the elements except for the shelters.
Iona Jetty Trail Endpoint and View
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Shane Lambert