7 Stunning Trails You Need To Hike In Vancouver
Vancouver is known for its integration of city and nature. While Vancouver’s downtown core is filled with incredible cultural gems, you have to get into nature to fully understand the appeal of the city. One of the best ways to explore the nature-side of the city is to go on a hike in Vancouver! With the mountains and seaside within city limits, you have the pick of the lot when it comes to beautiful hikes.
This was my third time visiting Vancouver in October 2017. Unfortunately, it rained almost the entire time I was there. Sadly that meant I was unable to go for a
mud bath hike. But I still have the memories of my last time hiking in Vancouver– which I’ve included in this round-up list by top travel bloggers! Best of all, many of the trails mentioned were also recommended to me by locals!
Just a quick heads up before we jump into what trails you need to hike in Vancouver: Capilano Bridge is not included in this round-up. It’s definitely a great photo-op, but it’s also quite expensive. Although it is one of the major draws to the city, I thought I’d highlight some lesser-known trails instead. Plus, you’ll have a more local experience on these trails!
Now without further adieu, here are 7 stunning trails you need to hike in Vancouver!
For more posts about Vancouver, check out this gluten-free & vegan guide.
7 Stunning Trails You Need To Hike In Vancouver
Recommended by Jasmine Chen of My Suitcase Journeys.
Located along the shores of West Vancouver, Lighthouse Park offers a variety of beginner trails. Whether you’re heading on a family outing or if you simply don’t have much time to spend in the country, you can still get a taste of beautiful British Columbia!
The park is easily accessible by car. And the drive takes approximately 45 minutes from Downtown Vancouver via Trans-Canada Hwy/BC-1 W. Transit access is available as well with the #250 bus that travels along Georgia Street. The stop is one before Horseshoe Bay, but let the bus driver know your destination just in case.
For the shortest route, follow the main trail for 10 minutes. Once you see picnic tables, take the rocky path on the right. This will lead you directly to the lighthouse.
From the lighthouse, take another 15-minute walk east and follow signs for a steep path to Starboat Cove. This viewpoint here will have you in awe with spectacular sights of the Lions Gate Bridge as well as Vancouver Island. This hike in Vancouver is the perfect way to see the city! Definitely not to be missed!
Recommended by Greta Omoboni of Greta’s Travels.
Lynn Canyon Park
If you’re looking to get that iconic Capilano suspension bridge shot without spending the big bucks, Lynn Canyon Park is the way to go! With beautiful old forests and an incredible look-out as you cross over the canyon, it’s a trail not to be missed! I went with my mom, uncle and three cousins– the youngest under 2 years old. (He was carried in a back-pack baby-holding device. I’m not a child care professional, as you can gather.) We took the Twin Falls Loop Trail, which is a relatively easy hike in North Vancouver.
To hike the Twin Falls Loop Trail, keep left after the suspension bridge. This loop will take you through the forest, arriving at Twin Falls. Depending on the time of year, you can see salmon in the pool below the falls. This is the highest the salmon can swim up the Lynn Creek. From the waterfall, you can complete the loop to the parking lot. All in all, the hike should take you about 45 minutes.
Once you’ve completed your hike, you can easily make your way into North Vancouver for some delicious food and drinks! Or, hop in your car for a quick 25-minute drive into the heart of Vancouver!
Recommended by Sarah Hughes of Live Dream Discover.
Vancouver’s enviable location, sitting between the ocean and the mountains, makes it a haven for nature lovers and hikers. Having spent many years living in this beautiful city, I have done many a hike in Vancouver, from easy walks to challenging climbs. Each one has its own special reward. Sometimes though that reward is such a surprise that it instantly becomes a favourite. This is what happened for me when I hiked to Bowen Lookout on Cypress Mountain.
Cypress Mountain is a popular ski hill in the winter months and is just 20 minutes from downtown Vancouver. The rest of the year the trails are open to hikers and there are several options including a couple of wheelchair accessible paths. This particular hike is the start point for the challenging 28km Howe Sound Crest Trail which ends at Porteau Cove.
But, if you’re not looking for that much of a commitment, you can get a taste of it by hiking the first 1.3 km to Bowen Lookout. The trail is of moderate difficulty, suitable for most ages and levels, with a wide and well-kept path that weaves through a pine-scented forest that provides some welcome shade in the summer months. The reward at the end is a sweeping view of the Howe Sound and Sunshine Coast dotted with the dozens of Gulf Islands and of course the trail’s namesake, Bowen Island.
Brother’s Creek Trail
Recommended by Jennifer Riley of The Rainbow Route.
Brothers Creek Loop is a sentimental hike in Vancouver for me as it was my first completely solo hike. This 7-kilometre hike in North Vancouver is not overly strenuous and takes you through some pretty forest. Along the trail you can spot old logging equipment left behind from years ago. There was a beautiful bridge that crosses a stream, waterfalls, giant trees and – my favourite – small, peaceful lakes along the way. This trail is accessible most of the year depending on how much snowfall occurred over the winter.
Since there are several trails connecting with Brothers Creek Loo, it’s important to pay attention to signposts along the way. Unfortunately, the bridge has recently been washed out but there are plans to replace it at some point. In the meantime, this hike can still be done as a loop using alternate trails.
Recommended by Scott Hornberg of International Hot Dish.
The Admiralty Trail in Vancouver is an easy hike with a minimal elevation gain over its course. This makes it an attractive trail for beginners or folks who just want a casual day out in the luscious Pacific Northwest.
The trail head is about an hour out of Vancouver on a peninsula near Belcarra Regional Park. From the parking lot, walk toward the beach. As you approach the beach, you’ll see a sign on the left indicating the direction of Admiralty Trail. Camping is not allowed but dogs are, as long as they are leashed.
Overall, the trail is about 5km long, taking the average hiker about an hour and a half to complete a round trip. It’s easy enough to follow and has a generous helping of tree roots, rocks, and other natural elements to keep in mind. In the summer, spring, and fall the trail remains easy to traverse. When snowfall takes over, though, the trail becomes a little more difficult to navigate.
View on this trail are spectacular, so bring your camera. They aren’t to be missed and your friends and family will love seeing pictures of them. Along the trail you’ll meander along the coast and be able to feast your eyes on Mount Seymour, Burnaby Mountain, and Deep Cove. So pack a snack, grab your camera, and get ready to experience what hiking the Pacific Northwest is all about!
Recommended by Rachel Brown of Rachel On Route.
I discovered the Grouse Grind while looking for hikes to get my boyfriend and I out of the city and into some fresh air. From Downtown, the trail is accessible by taking the Seabus and then the 236 bus, which takes about 25 minutes to get to the bottom of the mountain. (Note the Grind is closed for Winter due to adverse weather.)
The Grouse Grind is a 2.9 kilometre hike up the side of Grouse Mountain, but don’t let the short distance fool you! The Grouse Grind Hiking Trail has an average gradient of 30 degrees, which means if you’re someone like me and not particularly fit, it’s a challenge! It’s been dubbed ‘Mother Nature’s Stairmaster’ due to it’s steepness, and is mostly stepped.
For a novice, it’ll take around 1.5-2 hours to complete it. Some locals run it regularly and the record is around 25 minutes! It’s a wonderful hike, steep as it is, as you trek through the wonderful greenery of the woodland around you.
And ultimately the effort is so worth it! Once you reach the top, not only are you greeted with a huge sense of achievement, but you are rewarded with spectacular views of Downtown and Greater Vancouver, and the surrounding mountains. And there are a few restaurants and cafes to refuel if you need it!
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