Our Wild Backyard: 4 Daytrips for Nature Lovers

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Dwarfed by the nearby Coast Mountains and surrounded by the wild Pacific Ocean, Vancouver is the rare city readymade for nature lovers.  Within an hour’s drive of the downtown core, endless adventures await on land and sea.  Here are four daytrip ideas for people eager to get back to nature:

  • Paddle Indian Arm: A 12-mile glacial fjord carved through steep mountains, Indian Arm is just a 40-minute drive from downtown Vancouver.  From the community of Deep Cove, you can rent kayaks or strike out on hiking trails.

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Our Wild Backyard: 4 Daytrips for Nature Lovers

Exploring Urban Old Growth Forests: Vancouver’s Lighthouse Park

For a metropolis of 2.3 million people, Vancouver has some surprisingly wild and rugged terrain.   There’s Stanley Park – 1,000 forested acres, with a beaver pond, lagoon and stands of old growth trees, all right in the heart of downtown.  On the city’s western fringe, there’s Wreck Beach (wild in more ways than one) and the expanse of Pacific Spirit Regional Park.  And, of course, once you cross the Lion’s Gate Bridge, you’ve got instant access to the Coast Mountains and untouched backcountry.

Among the city’s most unique urban oases is the patch of rocky coastline in West Vancouver known as Lighthouse Park.  Covering 200 acres and crowned by 220-foot-tall Douglas Firs, the park offers a glimpse  into Vancouver’s wild past.  Soon after the namesake lighthouse was built in 1874, all of the land around it was set aside as a reserve. Since then, Lighthouse Park has remained nearly untouched, from old growth forests to rugged shoreline.

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Exploring Urban Old Growth Forests: Vancouver’s Lighthouse Park

A Hike through Lighthouse Park

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For anyone who appreciates nature and the natural world, living in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland is a dream come true. For busy families whose weekends are often spent driving between swimming lessons, soccer and hockey games all over town, the opportunities to appreciate and enjoy that natural world don’t come along as often as we might hope.

How fortunate then, that one of the best places to get away from the weekly – and weekend – routine is so close at hand. Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver offers easy access to the beauty of our own backyard, complete with old growth trees and an ocean playground.

Hiking in Lighthouse Park

A hiking trail in Lighthouse Park, West Vancouver, BC.

A hiking trail in Lighthouse Park, West Vancouver, BC.

A great park to explore with locals or tourists is Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver. The hiking trails loop all through the park within an amazing forest that has some of the largest Douglas Fir trees near Vancouver. The rocky beaches and viewpoints offer great views of Vancouver, Stanley Park and Georgia Strait. The trails are all fairly easy with only a few having a short hill to ascend or descend.

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Hiking in Lighthouse Park