Coquitlam is a residential area at the head of Burrard Inlet. Immediately north is 38,000-hectare (93,900-acre) Pinecone Burke Provincial Park, which extends along the west shoreline of Pitt Lake and as far west as the Boise Valley, scene of a short-lived gold rush in the late 1800s.
Much of the park was logged more than 100 years ago, but a few sections of old-growth forest remain, including a 1,000-year-old stand of cedar in the Cedar Spirit Grove. To get to the park from Highway 7, take Coast Meridian Road north to Harper Road, which leads to Munro and Bennett Lakes.
An even bigger tract of wilderness is protected by Golden Ears Provincial Park, which encompasses 55,590 hectares (137,000 acres) of the North Shore Mountains east of Coquitlam. To reach the park, follow Highway 7 east from Coquitlam to Maple Ridge, then follow signs north along 232nd Street and 132nd Avenue.
The park access road ends at Alouette Lake, with fair fishing and lots of nearby hiking. Lower Falls Trail is an easy hike that everyone can enjoy. It begins at the end of the road and leads 2.7 kilometers (1.7 miles) to a picturesque waterfall; allow one hour each way.