Hiking in Vancouver

Grouse Grind

Grouse Grind

Amongst the mountains and trees that make up the backdrop to Vancouver lies a wealth of hiking trails within some of the world’s most beautiful scenery. From short walks near pristine lakes and raging rivers to steep uphill hikes into alpine areas, Vancouver is a paradise for hikers and outdoor adventure seekers.

The most popular trails near Vancouver are in Stanley Park, on the edge of the downtown, and the Grouse Grind, a steep uphill climb that hundreds of people ascend everyday for both the challenge and exercise. However, there are many other less crowded hiking experiences near Vancouver that are accessible by both car and public buses. A few options include Capilano Canyon which is located between the Capilano Suspension Bridge and Grouse Mountain and offers a great hike through a western rain forest, passing over steep canyon views, crossing the Cleveland Dam and reservoir that provides some of Vancouver’s drinking water, and walking by the famous Capilano Salmon Hatchery. Lynn Loop in North Vancouver’s Lynn Valley area provides a nice forest loop with views of the surrounding mountains and rushing waters from the melting snowpacks of Lynn Creek. While Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver, near Horseshoe Bay, has a network of trails all ending at scenic views of Burrard Inlet and the famous lighthouse.

View of the Lions from Cleveland Dam

View of the Lions from Cleveland Dam

Visitors who have access to a car and will be driving north to the Squamish or Whistler areas may want to check out the Stawamus Chief, a well defined rock that towers over the town of Squamish and has some great views of the Howe Sound area from the top. Just south of Whistler, hikers can hike the 9km trail up to Garibaldi Lake to experience the glacier and turqouise coloured lake or stop for a short 500 meter stroll to the breath taking Brandywine Falls viewpoint. For those driving to the Okanagan region, there are many hiking options along the way in Chilliwack including a short hike up Tea Pot Hill near Cultus Lake or a more difficult hike to Elk Mountain, all of which offer scenic views of the Fraser Valley region.

Lynn Loop

Lynn Loop

Hiking in Vancouver can be challenging on some of the steep and rugged terrain. Here are a few tips before heading out:

  • Check the local weather forecast. Hiking in the rain can be enjoyable but hiking in a down pour is not.
  • Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back.

Things to bring:

  • Water. As fresh as the local rivers look, the water is not drinkable and you should bring adequate water for your hike.
  • Food and snacks. Depending on how long you plan to hike for, you should make sure to have enough to eat to keep you going.
  • Wear proper shoes and clothing. Comfortable and sturdy shoes are a must!
  • It is always a good idea to bring a map of the area. Do not rely on cell phones as many of the trails do not receive reception due to the surrounding mountains blocking the signals. Familiarizing yourself with the area and bringing a map of the area are your best bets.

What to watch out for on the trail:

  • Stay on the trail and follow the trail markings at all times. If there is a fenced area marked by signage that is closed, do not venture into this area as there could be steep cliffs or other dangers that may lead to severe injury or death.
  • Watch and avoid wild animals. Encounters with bears and coyotes are not uncommon on local trails and visitors should immediately distance themselves from such wild animals.

Being prepared and staying safe are important to ensuring an enjoyable hiking experience in Vancouver. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture all the scenery and natural beauty along the way.

View from Lighthouse Park

View from Lighthouse Park

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One Response to Hiking in Vancouver

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