Only 30 minutes from downtown Vancouver you’ll find Grouse Mountain, a 1200 meter mountain the overlooks the gorgeous city of Vancouver. Open year round, Grouse has activities to keep you busy all winter or to get you outside in the sunshine during the summer. This mountain is easily the most accessible and most popular mountain getaway for skiing, hiking, and breathtaking views of the city of Vancouver.
You can get to the top of Grouse Mountain through one of two ways. You can brave the 2,830 steps of the Grouse Grind, or you can hop onto the Skyride gondola and be swept up the mountainside in a matter of minutes. Mountain admission includes a round trip Skyride and it’s currently around $60 for adults, or less if you’re a resident of BC. If you’ve decided to hike the Grind to the peak you can just jump on the Skyride for a one way trip home for only $15.
Most of the mountain’s activities are free with the purchase of a Grouse Mountain admission ticket, such as the Theatre in the Sky, eco-walks, and the Lumberjack Show. There are also paid activities you can add to your visit for some extra excitement, such as the Eye of the Wind, helicopter tours, and the mountain ziplines. During the ski and snowboard season, lift tickets and equipment rentals are available for an additional fee. Many locals take advantage of the winter pass rates to enjoy a full winter season of skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, ice skating, and other winter activities happening around the mountain. Annual passes are available as well, which provide guests with 50% off mountain admission tickets as well as some other little perks and freebies.
The winter season on Grouse Mountain goes from around November until April. Your mountain admission tickets provides you with access to most of the awesome winter events and activities happening, but an additional lift ticket is required if you plan on hitting the slopes with your skis or snowboard.
Skiing and snowboarding aside, there are endless winter activities to check out that won’t cost you anything more than your admission to the mountain. There are 9km of snowshoe trails, an 8,000-square foot ice skating pond, and a stunning Light Walk that takes you through a glowing tunnel then leads you around Blue Grouse Lake to view the enchanting light installations. Kids always have a blast at the sliding zone, not to mention the many Christmas themed activities going on at the Peak of Christmas. There are Christmas movies, Santa’s reindeer, crafts in Elf Headquarters, and a bunch of other awesome activities that will get the whole family into the holiday spirit.
Skiing and Snowboarding
Skiing and snowboarding is one of Grouse Mountain’s main attractions during the winter season. With 33 ski and snowboard runs, 15 night runs, 4 chairlifts, and 6 terrain parks, Grouse Mountain is one of the best spots to go for fresh powder without even having to leave Metro Vancouver. The various runs and different terrain parks offer a wide enough range of difficulty levels to allow beginners to ease into the experience while still providing plenty of challenges for the more seasoned skiers and snowboarders.
Those looking for lessons can choose between single day lessons, multi day lessons, group lessons, private lessons, or even day camps for kids. Lessons are available for kids ages 3 and up and are offered in different age groups to keep the tots, teens, and in betweens amongst kids their own age. If you don’t have your own gear, rentals are available as well. They offer skis, boots, poles, and helmets for kids and adults of all ages and sizes.
The slopes don’t shut down for the summer, they just transform into a different type of mountain resort. One of the most popular summer attractions is the Grouse Grind. Hikers come from all over to challenge themselves on “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster”. The trail is 2.9 kms with an elevation gain of 853 meters. There are a total of 2,830 stairs and most people usually complete the trail in about 1.5 hours. While this trail is quite the workout, it can definitely be completed by novice hikers. Feel free to take your time on the trail and complete it at your own pace.
During the summer months, the Peak Chairlift is included with your mountain admission and it will transport you to the top of Grouse Mountain, 4,100 feet above sea level. From there you can take in the panoramic views of the city below as well as the vastness of the Pacific Ocean and the majestic mountain ranges in the distance. You can take your own self-guided walks through the hiking trails or go on a 45 minute Eco-Walk with one of the mountain’s knowledgeable guides.
There is plenty more to see throughout the summer, such as the Birds in Motion demonstrations, the grizzly bear habitat, and the World Famous Lumberjack Show. Kids can sign up for a day camp, or thrill seeking adults can ride the top of the gondola on the Skyride Surf Adventure. You can play mountain disc golf, attend a Ranger Talk, or visit the Pollinator’s Garden to see wild bees, flies, butterflies, wasps, hornets, moths, and hummingbirds at work.
Rain or shine, sun or snow, the Skyride gondola is always the first thrill of your Grouse Mountain adventure, unless you’ve decided to do it the hard way and climb up via the Grind. Once you’re on the mountain, many of the activities are included, but there are a few other exciting activities you can pay a little extra for and add to your experience. In the Eye of the Wind you can stand within a clear glass pod on a massive wind turbine to get an unforgettable, 360-degree view of Vancouver. Or if you want great views with a little more excitement, strap in for a two hour tour on the mountain ziplines.
There are plenty of thrills to be had for the little ones as well. The Kids Tree Canopy Adventure is a fully contained area with treehouses, slides, and ground games for kids 3-8. Older kids and adults, ages 8 and up, can explore the Mountain Ropes Adventure, a series of four aerial rope courses where you must balance, jump, climb, swing, and zip your way to the end. Animals lovers can come in the morning and have breakfast with the bears. Or for bigger thrills and chills, book a heli tour or a tandem paragliding experience.
There is no shortage of places to grab a bite on Grouse Mountain. You can hit up the Paradise Patio for a snack, head to the SkyDeck lounge to grab a cocktail and enjoy the views, or sit down at the Observatory for some sky high fine dining. On the mountain you’ll also find Altitudes Bistro, Lupins, Rusty Rail BBQ and Grill, and the Grizzly Lookout Cafe. Coffee lovers can grab their brews from Grouse Grind Coffee or the Starbucks at the base of the mountain.
There is something to do on Grouse Mountain during any time of the year and for people of all ages, interests, and fitness levels. You can head to the mountain just to grab some drinks and enjoy the view, or spend the day exploring the trails. You can hit the slopes with your friends or spend time with the family doing Christmas activities in Santa’s workshop. You can easily spend an entire day here, but because Grouse Mountain is so close to Vancouver, you can just as easily pop in and just check out the mountain for an hour or two.