11 Things to Know Before Hiking the Grouse Grind

Hikers on the Grouse Grind

Hikers on the Grouse Grind. Photo: Mike Seehagel

Often called “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster”, the Grouse Grind is a bucket list hike. Here’s everything you need to know to tackle this challenging trail.


What is the Grouse Grind?

Visitors and locals alike love to challenge themselves on the Grouse Grind. It is essentially a 2.5 km staircase through the forest that ascends over 800 m up to the top of Grouse Mountain. The challenging trail is never flat so you need to be in good shape. While the record time for the Grouse Grind is 24 minutes, most hikers take 2 to 2.5 hours.


Get to the Trailhead

It is easy to get to the Grouse Grind Trailhead by car or bus. If you drive, there is lots of paid parking at the base of the mountain near the trailhead. You can also take the 236 bus from the Lonsdale Quay Seabus Terminal or the 232 from Phibbs Exchange.

Bus at the base of Grouse Mountain

Photo: Grouse Mountain

Plan Ahead

The Grouse Grind may be located in between a city and a mountain resort, but you will still be hiking in the wilderness. Plan ahead and prepare by bringing a backpack with essential safety and first aid gear. 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. Check out our tips for safe summer hiking in Vancouver for more advice.


Check Opening Hours and Seasons

To keep hikers safe, the Grouse Grind is closed between November and May, as well as at night. It may be closed at other times for maintenance or due to hazardous weather. Check the Grouse Mountain Regional Park website to make sure the trail is open when you want to hike.


Bring the Right Gear

This hike is a real workout so you will want to bring the right gear. Wear breathable workout clothing that wicks moisture because you are definitely going to work up a sweat. It can be much cooler at the top, so bring a warm layer or a rain jacket too.

The trail is a series of wood and rock stairs that are very uneven. Hiking boots or trail running shoes will help you keep your balance and provide ankle support. Avoid wearing sandals or street shoes.


Pack Snacks and Water

This hike is a real workout so you will need some fuel. Bring at least 1 litre of water per person. Snacks like granola bars, chocolate, or fruit are also a great idea. There are no garbage cans along the trail so be prepared to carry your trash with you to the top.


Assess Your Fitness

This is one of the toughest hikes in Vancouver since it climbs up 800 m of elevation in just 2.5 km. That is the equivalent of climbing to the top of a 242-story building! You need to be in good shape to complete this hike. Your fitness routine should include cardio as well as lower body strength training like lunges and squats to deal with all the stairs.

Hikers climb rock and wood stairs on the Grouse Grind.

Photo: Grouse Mountain


Hit the Washroom Before You Start

There are no toilets along the trail so make sure you go before you hike. There are washrooms at the base of Grouse Mountain as well as at the Peak Chalet at the end of the hike.


Pace Yourself

While experienced Grinders may sprint to the top, remember to pace yourself. It’s easy to overdo it if you start too fast. Go slow and steady. Take breaks to drink water. The trail is divided into quarters with signs. The first quarter is the least steep but can feel long. The second and third quarters are the steepest and most challenging. The final push through the fourth quarter is not as steep.


Make Room For Other Hikers

The Grouse Grind is a popular trail that sees over 100,000 hikers each year. However, the trail is quite narrow so make sure you make room for other hikers. Stick to the right side of the trail unless you are passing someone. Step off the trail to take breaks. The best place to take a break is the halfway point since it has benches.


Enjoy the Skyride Down

The Grouse Grind is steep, narrow, and often busy, so hiking downhill is prohibited for hiker safety and to prevent erosion. Instead, enjoy the views as the Grouse Mountain Skyride gondola whisks you back to the start. Tickets for the Skyride are $20 and can be purchased inside the Peak Chalet or online.

Grouse Mountain gondola

Grouse Mountain Skyride. Photo: Destination Vancouver/Grouse Mountain

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