10 Tips for Safe Summer Hiking in Vancouver

Hiking above Grouse Mountain in Vancouver

A hiker explore Grouse Mountain in Vancouver. Photo: Destination Vancouver/Kindred & Scout

Summer is the best time of year to hike in Vancouver: the weather is great, the days are long, and the mountains are mostly snow-free. But you will be hiking in some serious wilderness, so follow these tips for safe summer hiking.


Pack the Essentials

AdventureSmart recommends bringing a backpack with essential safety and first aid gear on every hike. Read through the full list of gear on their site for a great run-down on the things you need to bring to have a safe and fun hike.


Leave a Trip Plan

If you get lost or hurt, will anyone know to look for you? Leave a trip plan so someone knows where you are going and when you will be back. Using the AdventureSmart Trip Plan App makes it easy.


Check the Weather Forecast

In general, Vancouver in summer is warm and dry, with temperatures typically between 18 and 23°C (64-72°F). However, it can be much colder up in the mountains and be rainier than in the city. If possible, use a weather forecast for a nearby ski resort to get a better idea of how cold and wet it will be at higher elevations. Pack warm clothing and a rain jacket, just in case.


Prepare for Snow

While it may be summer in the city, winter lasts a long time in the mountains. In most years, the high mountain trails still have snow until early July. The highest peaks stay snowy until mid-to-late July. Check park websites and apps like All Trails or Instagram to find the latest trail conditions. If you are a beginner, choose a different destination if the trails are still snowy. Hikers with snow travel experience should bring warm clothing and traction aids like hiking poles and microspikes.


Learn How to Leave No Trace

Vancouver’s wilderness areas are special places. Learn the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace to keep the wilderness wild. These simple tips can help you learn to respect wildlife, prevent trail erosion, go to the bathroom without contaminating water sources, and lots more.


Check If Day Passes are Needed

A few popular trails near Vancouver require free day passes in the summer months. BC Parks day pass reservations are required at Joffre Lake Provincial Park, Golden Ears Provincial Park, and some trailheads at Garibaldi Provincial Park. You also need to reserve a pass to visit Buntzen Lake Recreation Area. See park websites for details.


Go Early or Take Transit

Some hiking trails have small parking lots that can fill early. Plan to carpool and arrive early to ensure you get a parking spot. No car? No problem! Choose a trail from our list of Vancouver hikes you can get to on public transit. Or book a spot on Parkbus for a ride to several popular hiking destinations.


Stay Hydrated

It’s easy to get dehydrated in hot weather. Pack lots of water. While Vancouver’s mountain streams may look pristine, the water isn’t safe to drink without filtering or purifying. In general, most hikers drink about 0.5L of water for each hour of hiking.


Protect Yourself From the Sun

Don’t forget the sunscreen! A hat with a wide brim and sunglasses are also a must. Sunburns are painful and heat stroke can be fatal. Be especially vigilant about sun protection in snowy areas where the reflection off the snow intensifies the effect of the sun.


Vancouver Summer Hiking Ideas

Looking for the perfect summer hike? Choose one from our lists of the best summer hikes, wildflower hikes, and easy summer hikes. Or dig into our Vancouver hike of the month archives.

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