Mahon Park is one of North Vancouver’s largest parks, spanning from near Marine Drive & West Keith Road to 21st Street West. It encompasses sports fields, grassy areas, a playground, and a forested area with two creeks and ravine trails that is a delight for young walkers and old ones alike.
ACCESS AND FACILITES
You can enter the forest in Mahon park from a number of entrances both east and west of the park (see photo below of a map of the trails). There is a parking lot on the northeast corner of 18th St W and Jones Ave in the north, and you can also find street parking near other entrances, including the one on W Keith Road or 14th St W in the south. You can also take transit for either the south or north entrance. Washrooms are near Jones Ave parking lot: closest one is in the building west side of the Fen Burdett stadium, and also at the north side of Kinsman Field South. The trails, while wide and well groomed, are not stroller friendly as they have a number of stairs. Cycling is not allowed.
For extra fun, there is easy access to Mahon Park Playground and Spray Park for a pre or post hike adventure.
THE PARK AND TRAILS
You can choose your own adventure, as there are three parallel ravine trails that run through the forested part of the park roughly north-south. Two of them follow Wagg Creek ravine, with an intermediate bridge connecting them as well as connections at trail ends, and the third one follows Mission Creek. All three trails directly connect with each other in the south, allowing you to make a nice loop. Each of the three trails is roughly 700-800 meters, so the suggested loop below will come to about 2km.
If your heart is set on following a particular trail, we suggest you consider consulting a map (see image below). However, the park does not connect to great wilderness, so if you get lost, follow the nearest exit trail out onto the city streets. Two notes of caution for those hiking with small tots: The ravine trail does drop off steeply at times, and while it has been fenced in several places, you will still need to hold on tight to any small people you are hiking with. The bridges in this park that cross Wagg and Mission Creeks have large gaps under the crossbars, so do watch out if your little ones are very intrigued by the flowing water or are not very sure footed.
While you can enter from any of the side entrances (see map), if you are commuting to the area we suggest you park at Jones Ave parking lot. The 18th Street West entrance is directly across the parking lot. Once you’ve entered the park, as you descend the trail, you’ll quickly hear the roar of Wagg Creek as it cascades down the rocky creek bed. Most of North Vancouver’s rainwater ends up in Wagg Creek, making Wagg Creek’s watershed the largest in North Vancouver. You’ll follow the creek southbound until you come to a fork where you have an option of crossing the creek to your right towards an impressive looking set of stairs or continuing straight.
If you continue straight at the fork, you’ll stay low near the creek - a stress free option with very young hikers - and after a pleasant amble you’ll cross another bridge to your right to meet up with the other two trails.
If you go right at the fork mentioned earlier, you’ll climb the stairs to a small open field, and then follow the creek high until descending and meeting up with the other two trails at another bridge crossing, this time over Mission Creek.
To get back to where you started, don’t cross the bridge (it will lead you to the west side entrance at 14th Street West or Keith Road) and instead get on the ravine trail that directly parallels the burbling Mission Creek and head back north. You’ll follow the creek and have several options of accessing the creek’s shore. Eventually the trail will start climbing upwards and lead you out to a path between the sports fields (ignore a descending trail to your left at a fork as it will take you to park entrance near Larson Road). Follow the trail to Jones Ave, and walk one block south to the parking lot.