6 of the Best Hikes in Vancouver
Cosmopolitan as it is with its many great restaurants, busy shopping streets and trendy breweries, Vancouver is renowned worldwide as a green city with plenty of outdoor activities to entertain those craving a little adventure in their city breaks.
Whether it is cycling along the city’s 13-mile seawall from Coal Harbour to Kits Beach, kayaking or paddle boarding in False Creek or Deep Cove, or doing winter sports in the local mountains, Vancouver has something for everyone. My personal vice is hiking, and visitors might be surprised at the number of unique hikes within minutes from the city centre. Below are my top hikes to do in Vancouver’s North Shore:
Perhaps the best known hike in Vancouver, the Grouse Grind is a steep 1.8-mile climb up popular Grouse Mountain. Lovingly known as “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster”, the grind is probably the most challenging hike, an upwards trek that takes hikers up 2,830 steps, gaining over half a mile in height. The reward? Aside from feeling like you got a proper workout, you will be treated to stunning views from the summit of Grouse Mountain, perhaps over a celebratory beer from the Peak Chalet restaurant. The Grouse Grind is open from May until October only during daylight hours; this is a one-way trail and, while free to hike, visitors are required to pay CA$10 for the Skyride back down.
WHERE? 6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver, BC V7R 4K9
Lynn Canyon Park & Lynn Headwaters Regional Park
These side-by-side nature havens offer different experiences, suitable for any fitness level. Lynn Canyon Park is home to the scenic Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge, a small pedestrian overpass that crosses a waterfall and offers some unique photo opportunities. Once you cross the bridge, hike downwards towards the river to discover multiple riverside trails and the stunning 30-foot pool, a swimming hole perfect for a quick refreshing dip. Hike upwards from the bridge instead and you will reach Rice Lake and the Headwaters Regional Park, which offers more challenging hikes and over 33 miles of trails!
WHERE? 3663 Park Rd, North Vancouver, BC V7J 3G3
Capilano River Regional Park
This park has multiple paths that take you through verdant trails and the steep canyon walls along the Capilano River. Overall, there are around 16 miles worth of trails within Capilano, and although the hike is quite easy overall, you can make it more difficult by traveling uphill, north towards Cleveland Dam. Inside the park you can visit the Capilano Salmon Hatchery, have a picnic overlooking the man-made water reserve that is Capilano Lake, or witness the force of water as it rushes nearly 300 metres down the Dam. Capilano River Regional Park is open year-round, with limited hours in winter. You can easily combine a hike at the regional park with a visit to the nearby Capilano Suspension Bridge, one of Vancouver’s top attractions.
WHERE? 5077 Capilano Rd, North Vancouver, BC V7R 4K4
This moderate hike in Deep Cove is probably the most scenic of the bunch, a beautiful trek through heavily wooded forests, crossing over small creeks and rushing cascades. This hike has modest climbs and descents along the way but is an easy trek that requires little preparation. When you reach the end, you will reach the namesake Quarry Rock, a large rocky outcrop clear of trees with scenic views overlooking Indian Arm down below. This is a two-way hike which covers a 1.8-mile return trip and is open year-round. After your hike, you can replenish your energy with a treat from Honey Doughnuts & Goodies – a Vancouver institution – or double your workout with a kayak or paddleboard rental in the cove.
WHERE? 2505 Panorama Dr, North Vancouver, BC V7G 1V4
Located in West Vancouver on the way to Horseshoe Bay, Lighthouse Park is another great spot for an easy to moderate trek amidst the forest. Multiple trails will take you to scenic lookouts, hidden coves and even secluded rocky beaches. The highlight of a hike here is the park’s namesake lighthouse which, although small, is very photogenic against the ocean. This trail is open all year, and you can easily stop here for a leisurely hike on your way to Horseshoe Bay or the BC Ferry terminal to Vancouver Island.
WHERE? 4902 Beacon Ln, West Vancouver, BC V7W 1K5
Baden Powell Trail
This rugged hike crosses the entire North Shore from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver to Deep Cove in North Vancouver, and is formed in part by many of the trails above. Parts of the trail will be open year-round, but some higher areas will close due to snow and ice, as well as mudslides. If you’re looking for a truly challenging experience, the full 29-mile hike might just be what you are after!
WHERE? 6381 Marine Dr, West Vancouver, BC V7W 1X1 or 2505 Panorama Dr, North Vancouver, BC V7G 1V4