9 Things to do in Pacific Spirit Regional Park

Looking up through the trees at Pacific Spirit Regional Park

Looking up through the trees at Pacific Spirit Regional Park. Photo: Mia Mackenzie/Unsplash

Located on the west side of Vancouver near UBC, Pacific Spirit Regional Park is a great place to get a nature fix without leaving the city. The park protects lush forests, babbling streams, unique wetlands, and quiet beaches. To help you plan your trip, here our picks for the best things to do in Pacific Spirit Regional Park.

Until further notice, in line with the public health order, non-essential travel into, within, and out of BC is not recommended. BC residents, let’s do our part by continuing to stay small and support local with your immediate household, in accordance with the latest guidelines.

 

How to Get to Pacific Spirit Regional Park

By Car: There are many different entrances to the park. To get there, head west on Southwest Marine Drive, 16th Avenue, 10th Avenue, 4th Avenue, or Northwest Marine Drive. There are several parking lots spread around the park, and some areas have street parking as well. See the park map for details.

By Bus: It’s very easy to get to Pacific Spirit Regional Park since several bus routes pass the park. You can take the 4, 14, 25, 33, 41, 49, 84, or 99.

 

Tips for Visiting

  • Use the park map to find your way around.
  • Different parts of the park have different rules for dogs are allowed. Check the park map before you go to find it if you can bring your dog to the part of the park you plan to visit and if you need a leash.
  • Fires, alcohol, camping, collecting plants, and smoking are not allowed.
  • There are toilets near most entrances to the park. See the map for details.
  • Be safe in the park. AdventureSmart recommends bringing a backpack with essential safety and first aid gear on every hike. Check the forecast and pack extra clothing for the weather. Leave a trip plan so someone knows where you are going and when you will be back. Hiking is a little different during the pandemic. Read our tips for getting outdoors during COVID-19.

 

Go for a Hike

With 55 kilometres of trails, Pacific Spirit Regional Park is a great place to go for a hike. A web of trails stretches out across the park, taking you through the forest and down to the beaches. Be sure to use the park map to plan your route as it is easy to get turned around.

 

Try Forest Bathing

Forest bathing is a Japanese form of nature therapy, which includes slow, meditative walking, or simply sitting in a serene spot. Pacific Spirit Regional Park is one of the best places to try forest bathing in Vancouver.

 

Ride Your Bike

Bikes are permitted on most of the trails in Pacific Spirit Regional Park. Many of the paths are wide gravel, suitable for most bikes, but some are rougher and muddier. Use the park map to see which trails are bikeable.

Biking the trails of Pacific Spirit Park

Biking the trails of Pacific Spirit Park. Photo: Taryn Eyton/HappiestOutdoors.ca

 

Hit the Beach

The ocean surrounds Pacific Spirit Regional Park on three sides, so there are several beaches to choose from. Acadia Beach is the easiest to access, as it’s a short walk from Spanish Banks. If you want solitude, hike down Trail 3 or Trail 4 to the cobbles of Tower Beach. Sandy Wreck Beach is a popular spot, accessed via Trail 6. (Heads up: Wreck Beach is clothing optional, so expect nudity.)

 

Walk Your Dog

Pacific Spirit Park is very dog-friendly. Many of the trails are leash-optional, so it’s a great place to hike with your pup. Doggos can also frolic on the beach off-leash in the winter. (Dogs aren’t permitted on the beaches between March 1 and September 30). Use the park map to find out which trails and areas allow dogs and whether a leash is required.

 

Explore WWII History

During World War II, the park was home to the Point Grey Battery. Giant guns were stationed atop the bluffs and tall searchlight towers were positioned along the beaches. Today you can visit the former gun emplacements behind the Museum of Anthropology. The graffiti-covered searchlight towers along Tower Beach are also worth checking out.

Graffiti-covered WWII era tower in Pacific Spirit Park

Graffiti-covered WWII era searchlight tower. Photo: Taryn Eyton/HappiestOutdoors.ca

 

Try Geocaching

Essentially, geocaching is a hobby where you use a GPS device or a phone app to find a treasure hidden at specific GPS coordinates. There are secret caches of small treasures (called geocaches) across the globe, and lots in Pacific Spirit Regional Park. Read our guide to geocaching in Vancouver to learn more.

 

Go Trail Running

With such an extensive trail network, Pacific Spirit Park is a great place for a trail run. Most of the trails are non-technical, so it’s a great place for beginner trail runners to ease into the sport. Use the park map to plan your run – there are tons of loop possibilities. To test your fitness, try adding in the steep East Canyon and West Canyon trails on the north side of the park.

Stairs down to Wreck Beach

The stairs on Trail 6 leading to Wreck Beach. Photo: Jae Park/Unsplash

 

Check out Camosun Bog

Camosun Bog at the northeast corner of the park was nearly destroyed through infill and draining, but the Camosun Bog Restoration Group has worked to reverse the damage. Today you can walk around the outside of the bog on a 300-metre-long boardwalk that protects the sensitive sphagnum moss. Pause to read the interpretive signs along the way to learn about bog plants like Labrador tea, bog laurel, salal, and sundews.

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