What to Find on the Local Mountains This Summer

Aerial view of Grouse Mountain in summer

Grouse Mountain aerial view in summer. Photo: Destination Vancouver/Grouse Mountain

Summer is a great time to enjoy the fresh air on Vancouver’s local mountains. Located just outside the city, Grouse Mountain, Cypress Mountain, the Sea to Sky Gondola, and Mount Seymour all have options for sightseeing, hiking, biking, learning about nature, getting your heart pumping, grabbing lunch, and more.


Grouse Mountain

A grizzly bear on Grouse Mountain

One of the grizzly bears at Grouse Mountain. Photo: Destination Vancouver/Grouse Mountain

Grouse Mountain is the closest mountain to downtown Vancouver, just a short drive or bus trip across the Lion’s Gate Bridge.

Most visitors access the top of the mountain via the Skyride, a scenic 1-mile journey up to the peak. But there are two other ways to get to the top: Thrill-seekers can book the Skyride Surf Adventure and ride on the roof of the Skyride! Or you can hike to the top via the relentlessly steep and challenging Grouse Grind Trail.

Once you reach the Peak Chalet, you have lots of options to choose from. For breathtaking views, grab a seat on the patio at the Altitudes Bistro or ride the Peak Chairlift to the top of the mountain. If you want to sit back and enjoy a show, head to the Lumberjack show or the Birds in Motion show. (Both are usually offered several times a day.)

Don’t miss the Wildlife Refuge, home to Grinder and Coola, two orphaned grizzly bears since 2001. Learn more about the bears at the daily wildlife ranger talk on the deck next to their enclosure.

Adrenaline junkies also have lots of choices. Do you want to soar through the air on a tandem paraglide ride? Or zip through the treetops on the Mountain Ziplines? Or would you rather balance and wobble your way through the Mountain Ropes Adventure?

If you want to hike, sign up for a guided eco-walk to learn about the local plants and geology. Experienced hikers can follow trails into the backcountry of the nearby Lynn Headwaters Regional Park. These trails are rough and rugged so it’s best to start with the shorter trails like the routes to viewpoints at the top of Dam Mountain or Thunderbird Ridge. Use the park map to stay on track.


Cypress Mountain

People riding the Eagle Coaster at Cypress Mountain.

Riding the Eagle Coaster at Cypress Mountain. Photo: Destination Vancouver/Kindred & Scout

Summer at Cypress Mountain is all about the scenery. Located in West Vancouver, the views start at Cypress Lookout on the drive up the mountain into the park.

In 2024, Cypress Mountain’s chairlifts will be open in the summer for the first time ever. Both the Eagle Chair on Black Mountain and the Lions and Sky Chairs on Mount Strachan will be running. Just go for a ride to enjoy the mountain views, or take a short hike at the top.

If you want a thrill, ride the Eagle Coaster. It’s an exhilarating gravity-fueled ride as you drop 900 vertical feet (279 meters) over the twisting 1.1-mile (1.7 km) course. Go as fast or slow as you want since you control the handbrake.

Cypress is also a great spot for scenic hikes in Cypress Provincial Park. Popular options include the short hike to Bowen Lookout, which has a great view of Howe Sound, and the slightly longer trek to the top of Black Mountain. If you’re prepared for a longer hike, try St. Mark’s Summit, which has jaw-dropping cliff-top views.

Fuel up between activities at one of the mountain’s restaurants. Their huge summer patio is a great place to enjoy the mountain scenery while chowing down on burgers and beer from Crazy Raven Bar and Grill or tacos from Aguila Cantina.


Sea to Sky Gondola

A yoga class on the deck at the Sea to Sky gondola.

Yoga on the deck at the Sea to Sky Gondola. Photo: Jon Ross Films.

The Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish is just 45 minutes from Vancouver but it feels worlds apart thanks to the incredible views of glaciers and Howe Sound’s deep fjord.

Ride the gondola to the summit lodge, then head over to the viewing deck to drink in the panoramic view. If you’re brave, take on the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge. Be sure to walk the short and easy Spirit Trail and Panorama Trail, both of which have spectacular views. Or sign up for daily guided walking tours to learn about the alpine environment.

Experienced hikers can tackle the longer trails that snake out from the summit lodge. The difficult Al’s Habrich Trail winds its way up through forest and granite bluffs to some spectacular viewpoints. Or skip the gondola and hike to the summit lodge on the steep and scrambly Sea to Summit Trail.

If you want to do yoga in the most scenic spot you can imagine, register for the weekday morning Yoga With a View classes. You’ll flow through your poses with a mountain backdrop.


Mount Seymour

A person mountain biking on the North Shore in Vancouver

Mountain biking on the lower slopes of Mount Seymour. Photo: Vancouver’s North Shore

Located at the east end of North Vancouver, Mount Seymour is a great spot for hiking and mountain biking in the summer. If you’re looking for a short and easy hike, try the Goldie Lake Interpretive Trail that starts near the Guest Services building. Use the trail map to make several stops to learn about local plants and animals.

If you’re prepared for a longer hike, head up to the peaks of Mount Seymour or Dog Mountain in Mount Seymour Provincial Park.

Lower down the mountain, you’ll find Vancouver’s most popular mountain biking zone. With mostly blue and black trails, it’s a great spot for both intermediate and advanced riders. Two climb trails, Old Buck Trail and Good Sir Martin, allow you to put together lots of loop routes.

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