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Hey guys! Today I went out and hiked the Iona Pipeline with Bailey. The pipeline? Isn’t that connected to the Richmond Wastewater Treatment Plant? Sounds fun, doesn’t it? Well actually, it’s better than it sounds. Iona Beach is a regional park that offers some great wild life viewing and a fantastic hike or bike ride if you’re up for it. If you’re not sure where it is, it’s located just north of Sea Island and the Vancouver International Airport. Yes, it’s close to the treatment plant, but keep an open mind and hear me out on this one!
Iona Beach / Pipeline Hike Googlemap:
It’s really not as bad as it sounds. The park is clean, well kept, and frankly looks like any other beach in the lower mainland. The treatment plant is located at the entrance to the park, but is so out of the way you barely even notice it. Iona is a great place for picnics and interestingly, stargazing too. It’s far away enough from the main parts of the city that you don’t get the light pollution and the entire sky is very easily visible. There are not too many other places around Vancouver where you can easily do this.
The really cool thing here though is the 4km man-made jetty that supports the huge outfall pipes that carry the treated water from the plant. At the end of this jetty, the treated water flows an additional 3 kms in submerged pipes to deep water in the Straight of Georgia, where tides and currents disperse it into the ocean. There is a great walking/jogging/biking trail that goes overtop of them with plenty of nice views and opportunities to see local wildlife. During my trek out there I saw all kinds of birds, eagles, and even a seal! Be warned! The trek is deceivingly long! At first glance it didn’t seem that much of a hike. I took Bailey out there and it was a haul- roughly 8km there and back! (Especially carrying 40lbs of camera gear! Yikes!) That being said, it was very rewarding reaching the end and watching the sunset with my puppy at the observation deck. There were plenty of other people around enjoying it too, and it was nice to laugh about how much fun a waste treatment plant could be.
The Iona Pipeline is a great hike if you’re looking for a new route around Richmond! Check it out and try something new!