Summer is here and the North Shore mountains are calling.
One of the privileges of living in Vancouver is that mother nature is right on your doorstep. Old growth forests, rivers and waterfalls, and stunning mountaintop vistas are all within easy reach from downtown.
Of course, not everyone is up for an wild trek into the B.C. backcountry. For armchair adventurers out there – who like a little nature but want to be home in time for dinner – these five hikes should fit the bill. They all take less than three hours (roundtrip), follow well marked trails and – most importantly – reward with great views and natural features.
Lighthouse Park Trails: This seaside park in West Vancouver includes one of the last sections of old growth forest in the Lower Mainland. A network of easy trails winds from the parking lot to the rocky coastline, converging on a nearly century-old lighthouse. Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the great views of downtown Vancouver across the Burrard Inlet. Details
Cypress Falls Trail: Overlooked even by seasoned Vancouver hikers, this short trail starts in the posh Caufield neighbourhood of West Vancouver. Almost immediately, you’re greeted by an impressive set of waterfalls surrounded by Douglas Fir and Western Red Cedar. Hike a bit farther and there’s an even larger waterfall plunging into a deep canyon. Terrain is a bit steep and might not be suitable for young children. Details
Black Mountain Trail: This trail starts from the Cypress Mountain parking lot, offering a great taste of alpine hiking in Vancouver. It parallels the ski slope on Black Mountain, rising steeply through forested terrain and providing peekaboo views of Howe Sound. After a brisk, 45-minute hike, you reach sparkling Cabin Lake (a popular spot for a refreshing dip). Hardy hikers can opt to continue on another hour to Eagle Bluffs, for great views of Vancouver and as far as Mount Baker to the south. Details
Dog Mountain Trail: Mt. Seymour in North Vancouver is only a 30-45-minute drive from downtown but feels far more remote. The Dog Mountain trail starts at the ski resort parking lot and immediately forks to the left into thick alpine forest. The route is relatively flat, emerging after about an hour at a lookout with incredible views of the city and Vancouver Island. More energetic hikers can also opt to take the First Peak trail to the summit of Mt. Seymour, a considerably longer, harder trek. Details
Deep Cove Lookout Trail: Nestled on the shores of the Indian Arm inlet, bucolic Deep Cove feels totally removed from city living (even though it’s only 45 minutes from downtown). The Deep Cove Lookout Trail starts at the edge of town on Panorama Drive and climbs steeply through thick forest for about an hour, following a series of wooden staircases and bridges. It emerges at Quarry Rock, a popular lookout point high above Deep Cove offering clear views of Indian Arm and beyond. Details
These are just a few great day hikes around Vancouver. Do you have a favourite? Let us know below.
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