As Instagram-famous hiking trail re-opens, traffic chaos returns to Deep Cove
It’s been nearly three years since hikers could access the portion of the Baden Powell trail that leads to the scenic Quarry Rock viewpoint overlooking Deep Cove.
Made famous by countless posts on Instagram, Quarry Rock was closed early in the pandemic when social distancing became impossible.
North Vancouver district Coun. Lisa Muri said heavy damage from a storm in late 2021 kept the trailhead behind fencing until this weekend.
“The amount of work that we put into it was well over half a million dollars. The final tally still hasn’t come in, we had to helicopter equipment in and supplies, so it took a long time,” said Muri.
Regulars and rookies were thrilled to find the trail had quietly re-opened on Saturday.
“It was our first time doing the hike, so we were quite excited when we saw it was actually open,“ hiker Rita Baiks said after returning from the rock outcropping overlooking the mountains and the marina.
“It was fairly crowded, but we still had room to lay down and kind of enjoy the sunshine, it was very nice. Perfect temperature for that kind of thing. View is magnificent,” Baiks said.
But finding parking was another story.
“It was hard to park,” she said. “We waited I think 15 minutes or a little more than 15 minutes. We drove around and back and forth hoping to find street parking.”
LOCALS QUESTION TIMING
Ongoing road repairs in Deep Cove have made parking even harder than before the Quarry Rock closure in 2020. Alistair Knox, the owner of Arms Reach Bistro, watched as cars jockeyed for limited spots on a busy opening weekend.
“It has been a bit of a traffic nightmare. We knew this was coming,” said Knox, who questioned if Quarry Rock should have re-opened before the road work is complete.
“There are a lot of people down here wondering what’s going on, wondering about Quarry Rock and where the signage is, where the parking is, where the turnarounds are, how to access the businesses and things like that,” said Knox.
“Parks made the decision to open it, and I did question the decision to open it because we are going through yet another construction project,” added Muri. Her suggestion for hikers eager to return to Quarry Rock after the extended closure? Take the bus to Deep Cove.
“They will spend more time just driving around the neighborhood and impacting the local side streets, the local residents that live there, trying to find that spot, and most of the time they won’t find it,” Muri said.
She also suggests coming at non-peak times, and she’s asking hikers to consider residents who live in the tiny community that includes another big draw: Honey’s Donuts.
“Over the years and certainly with Instagram and social media and a donut that’s pretty famous, more and more people are coming by the thousands, and the area cannot sustain that kind of traffic. There are lots of people who can’t even get home,” said Muri.
To combat traffic gridlock, the district is looking at bringing in hourly pay parking beginning next summer. “We will give enough time for people go for a kayak, to hike the trail and have a coffee, but we do need to be able to turn over the parking more,” Muri said.
This year, parking remains free for Quarry Rock hikers and Honey’s Donuts lovers — if they can find a spot.
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