Natural Wonders: Exploring The Pacific Spirit Park Rainforest Ecology

Pacific Spirit Regional Park is an 874 hectares (2,160 acres) park on the west side of Vancouver surrounding the campus of the University of British Columbia (UBC). The park contains over 73 km of walking/hiking trails, 50 km of which are designated multi-use and available for cycling and horseback riding.

To the north of Pacific Spirit, you will find the Spanish Banks tidal flats that extend for miles out into English Bay. To the south of Pacific Spirit, you find rich estuarine marshes, the salmon-bearing Booming Ground Creek within the Musqueam Marsh and the upper reaches of the Fraser River delta.

1. The Evergreen Forest

The Pacific Spirit rainforest has many varieties of evergreen trees, including Western Red Cedar, Western Hemlock, Douglas Fir and Sitka Spruce.


2. The Deciduous Forest

The area around the Spanish Banks is the best for deciduous trees with bright leaves that change colour in the fall such as the Vine Maple, Big Leaf Maple, Red Alder trees.


4. The Gun Turrets

At the end of the Spanish Banks begins a spectacular 1-hour hike around the rugged peninsula seashore to Wreck Beach. The first part of the trail overs glorious views of Howe Sound and the city of Vancouver and the second part goes past World War II gun turrets and offers sweeping views of Vancouver Island in the distance.


5. Wreck Beach

There are rainforested canyons all around the Point Grey peninsula. At Trail 6 on the edge of UBC's campus, you will find Wreck Beach, Canada's most famous clothing-optional. Follow a trail with over 400 steps down the canyon to a beach paradise with tidal flats, a breakwater, meadows and spots to relax along the trees.


6. Wildlife

Birds and small animals are commonly heard or seen along the trails: Barred Owls, Bald Eagles, Chickadees, Warblers, Wrens, Woodpeckers and seabirds. You may also see smaller mammals, like Douglas Squirrels, Voles, Mice and larger mammals, like Coyote, Skunk and Raccoon. You will also find amphibians such as Salamanders, Newts, Garter Snakes and Tree Frogs in the wet areas of the Park.