The protected and studied forest extends north up the lower slopes of the Golden Ears Mountain to an elevation of 1000 metres. The western boundary butts up against the shores of Pitt Lake and the southern boundary neighbors the community of Maple Ridge.
The 5,157 hectares of forest is used for educational programs catering to local groups, schools and students attending the University of BC. To assist in research there is also the Loon Lake Research and Education Centre located on the shores of Loon Lake.
The research forest is also open to the public who wish to explore and hike the trails. The trails in the Malcolm Knapp Research Forest are color coded. From the parking lot there is a detailed map of the trails for all to study.
Loon Lake is the main focus of the hiking trails. The various wildlife species and the views of Golden Ears Mountain, Gwendoline and Loon Lakes are the highlights of hiking the trails.
Trails are divided into two sections - the South Trails and the Loon Lake Loop Trail. The South Trails are color coded red, yellow, green and blue. They all, pretty much, are loop trails which start and finish near the research forest entrance parking lot.
The Red Trail is the main trail starting from the forest research entrance. The other color coded trails start at some point along the Red Trail. The Red Trail is a small loop trail measuring 1.4 kilometres.
The Blue Trail (6.5 kms) is accessed from the southwest side of the Red Trail or from the northern tip of the Yellow Loop Trail. The Green Loop Trail (2.5 kms) is accessed from east side of Red Loop Trail. The Yellow Loop Trail (3.2 kms) is accessed from the north end of the Red Loop Trail. All these trails are hiking only. No dogs, bikes, horses or motorized vehicles are permitted.
The Loon Lake Loop Trail is for those wishing to embark on an energetic 6 km hike. The walking trail circles the lake and connects to roads on the southeast corner of the trail to complete the loop route.