8 Easy Ways to Experience the Wilderness Near Vancouver

Treetops Adventure at Capilano Suspension Bridge

Treetops Adventure at Capilano Suspension Bridge. Photo: Tourism Vancouver / Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

Experiencing nature in Vancouver is easy, and there are so many ways to do it. Walk across a suspension bridge, soar through the air in a floatplane, go for a laid-back hike, or get whisked into the mountains on a gondola. Use our list of easy ways to experience the wilderness near Vancouver to find even more options.

Go Flightseeing

One of the most unique ways to experience the beauty of Vancouver’s mountains is from the air on a flightseeing tour. Local floatplane and helicopter tour companies have lots of fun options to choose from. Book a scenic floatplane tour to alpine lakes and glaciers with Harbour Air or an epic helicopter flight over the mountains of the North Shore and the Sea to Sky region with Sky Helicopters. If blue ocean dotted with islands is more your style, sign up for Harbour Air’s Gulf Island’s Mail Run tour. You’ll hop from one picturesque island village to the next.

Helicopter tour near Vancouver

Helicopter tour in the North Shore Mountains. Photo: Tourism Vancouver / Sky Helicopters


Take an Easy Hike

While many of Vancouver’s hiking trails are steep and tough, there are lots of easy options too. Pick a trail from our list of easy hikes around Vancouver. They are all flat enough to push a wheelchair or stroller, so they’re great for those who use mobility aids too.

The wheelchair-accessible wharf at Rice Lake

Rice Lake in North Vancouver Photo: Taryn Eyton


Head to Grouse Mountain

Let the Skyride whisk you to the top of North Vancouver’s Grouse Mountain. Set high above Vancouver, it has great views of the city and the surrounding mountains. Don’t miss the many natural attractions including the grizzly bear sanctuary, owl talks, a ropes course, zip lines, and the famous lumberjack show.

Owl talk at Grouse Mountain

Owl talk at Grouse Mountain. Photo: Tourism Vancouver / Dave Delnea Images


Walk Across the Capilano Suspension Bridge

Gorgeously green temperate rain forest surrounds Vancouver. One of the easiest ways to immerse yourself in it is to visit the Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver. A network of catwalks takes you high into the tree canopy for a squirrel’s-eye view of your surroundings. The highlight is the the 130-year-old suspension bridge which hangs 230 feet above the rushing Capilano River.

Capilano Suspension Bridge

Capilano Suspension Bridge. Photo: Tourism Vancouver / Capilano Suspension Bridge Park


Ride the Eagle Coaster

New for 2021, the Eagle Coaster at Cypress Mountain in West Vancouver lets you strap into a cart, then fly like an eagle as you twist and turn down the mountain. Enjoy great views and beautiful forest as you hurtle downhill. Book tickets in advance.

Eagle Coaster cart

Photo: Cypress Mountain


Picnic in Nature

The Vancouver area has lots of stunning nature parks a short drive from the city. Pack a picnic basket, then head to one of our suggestions for the best places to picnic in nature near Vancouver. You can dine next to the ocean, at a lake, in the forest, or at the beach.

Family picnicking on the beach

Picnic on Third Beach in Stanley Park. Photo: Tourism Vancouver / Hubert Kang


Go Whale Watching

Vancouver is one of the best locations in the world for whale watching. Several pods of orcas live here year-round and you can also see humpback, grey, and minke whales as well as dolphins, seals, sea lions, river otters, porpoises, and eagles. Whale watching season runs from March to October, but you can go on a wildlife boat cruise all year long. Find whale watching tours.

Whale watching near Vancouver

Photo credit: Tourism Vancouver / Prince of Whales Whale Watching


Ride the Sea to Sky Gondola

Get high into the mountains above Howe Sound on the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish. You’ll travel from sea level to the summit while you enjoy jaw-dropping views of the ocean, mountains, and the granite peaks of the Stawamus Chief. At the top, explore the viewing platforms, go for a hike, walk across the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge, or grab a seat on the patio to enjoy a meal with a panoramic view.

Sea to Sky Gondola

Sea to Sky Gondola summit. Photo: Heath Moffat

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