Walking Programs | UBC Recreation

Walking Programs

Whether you’re trying to build your overall sense of wellbeing, reduce stress, lose weight, make new friends, or reduce your risks of cancer or cardiovascular disease, walking can help you on your way. Our walking programs are free or inexpensive, and designed for all students, staff, faculty and community members.


UBC Walking Map

Use this map to discover walking routes and destinations on the UBC Vancouver Campus. It will help you easily estimate walking times to particular destinations and also discover routes that meet different interests and/or needs.

For a printable version with additional resources (and without routes) click here: UBC Walking Map [PDF]

Sites of interest and walking routes are organized into separate layers:

  • Gardens, Parks, and Farms
  • Arts and Culture
  • Beaches
  • Community Hubs
  • Great Stairs
  • Recreation Facilities
  • Wheelchair Accessible Nature Routes
  • Wreck Beach Trail – 30 Minute Walking Route in Nature
  • Tower Beach Trail – 30 Minute Walking Route in Nature
  • Main Mall Trail – 30 Minute Walking Route in Nature
  • Thunderbird Trail – 30 Minute Walking Route in Nature
  • Sword Fern Trail – 30 Minute Walking Route in Nature

This map will evolve as more information become available and as the university changes over time. Since this is a work in progress, we welcome feedback. Please send any comments or suggestions to physical.activity@ubc.ca.  Many thanks to Devon Harlos, a graduate student in SCARP (and a Sustainability Scholar) for her development of this project and to all the stakeholders who invested their time to help us create a useful tool.

Instructions for Using the Map

You can turn these layers on or off by clicking the layer icon located in the top left corner of the map window. To find out more about a destination, click on the map icons. These will lead you to more information and relevant links.

If using a mobile device, click on the box in the top right corner of the map window to open the map on the Google Maps app. By clicking on one of the destination icons the app will automatically calculate walking times from your current location and give you directions.

Tips for Having A Great Walk

  • Wear proper footwear and bring clothing appropriate to the changing weather
  • Bring a friend for a walk with you; research shows that walking with others makes you more likely to walk more often and it’s a better option for safety too!
  • Wheelchair accessible routes highlighted are routes that we’ve found enjoyable and are entirely paved pathways with curb ramps where necessary (and very small ranges in slope). There are more on campus-- we hope to expand these offerings!
  • Walk briskly for more benefits for your wellbeing.

Other Walking Opportunities

There are lots of ways to Step it Up this year:

  • Register for a free campus tour (for visitors, staff, faculty, alumni and current students, not prospective UBC students).
  • Sign up for the UBC Walkabout to count your steps for 9 weeks with 5 teammates;
  • Start considering a new way to get your family moving by participating in the Walk’n Roll to School Program that’s designed to help families choose active transportation to commute to school;
  • Join Jane’s Walk at UBC to learn about the UBC community and explore the campus.
  • Check out the UBC Outdoor Art Tour from the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery.
  • If you’re a prospective student, sign up for a walking tour designed for you.

UBC Walkabout

Registration is now open. Sign up before Monday, January 28, 2019.

Walkabout is an annual 9-week health and wellbeing challenge promoting regular exercise in social settings. It was designed and launched in 2005 by Dr. Joy Butler, Faculty of Education, UBC. This year, UBC Recreation is partnering with the Faculty of Education and UBC Human Resources to visit the communities affected by BC Wildfire. Everyone is welcome to create teams of five and compete in walking the distance of the virtual route.


Concerned about accessibility or health conditions?

Stay up to date about what we're doing at UBC REC to make our programs and facilities more inclusive by visiting the Inclusivity at UBC  Recreation webpage.

We understand that walking isn't an option for everyone, but we strongly believe in including everybody whenever possible.

People who have physical disabilities are more than welcome to participate in our programs - there are only a few exceptions with our programs (the Stair Challenge, for example) that are unfortunately inaccessible. For those who want to participate in the Walkabout or other step counting programs and are using wheelchairs, we recommend using this resource sheet to translate "steps" from distance.

While walking is generally recommended as a great activity for many who live with chronic health conditions, it's important to always check with your doctor in advance of starting any new physical activity program to ensure that it's a good fit for you. For the guided walks, we do our best to include details about the route, speed of the walk and distance so that you can assess if it's a good fit for you. Please see the below links of some good resources regarding some common chronic health conditions and the benefits of physical activity.


Cardiovascular Problems


Multiple Sclerosis

For those who have questions about accessibility or health conditions, we're happy to discuss the details of the programs with you. Please contact physical.activity@ubc.ca with questions.

Why Walk?

  • It is a low cost option to get moving, not requiring a lot of time, initial fitness level, or special clothes or equipment.
  • It is a way to explore our campus.
  • It is easily done between classes, on the way to/from work, or as part of a meeting.
  • You can do it with family members, colleagues or friends of all ages, without excluding anyone.
  • You can easily make friends while walking.
  • It is good for your mental health - either for preventing mental health concerns or reducing the symptoms of depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses.
  • Help improve your cognitive functioning, focus, and energy levels for school or work.