The hiking trails around Vancouver are as breathtaking as they are plentiful. With endless trails to choose from you can head out for an easy stroll amongst the trees or you can embark on a full day or overnight wilderness excursion. Nature enthusiasts will appreciate any one of these hikes as they’re all filled with lush greenery, flowers, and wildlife. Many of these routes will also take you along rivers, waterfalls, lakes, and even along the Pacific coastline. You can go on a guided tour, in a group, or on your own, but be aware of wild animals because these trails can lead into pretty dense forest. Every trail is usually very well marked so it’s not too difficult to plan your route, estimate your hike time, and find your way if you veer off course. Lace up your hiking boots, strap on your gear, and go take a hike!
Located on the North Shore at Grouse Mountain, Grouse Grind is one of the most popular hiking trails in Vancouver. It takes you up a series of steep steps, all the way to the top of Grouse Mountain, and it can be quite the physical workout. It’s only 25 minutes away from downtown Vancouver and it’s easily accessible by car or public transit. This hike can be very exerting and it could take anywhere from an hour to two hours to complete, depending on your fitness level. There is an annual competition run every year up the Grouse Grind and people have done it in as little as 23 minutes.
Capilano Canyon Hike
Capilano Canyon is one of four canyons in the Vancouver area, making it an ideal hike for glorious views and fantastic photo opportunities. It’s about a 20 minute drive from Vancouver if you access the hike through the Cleveland Dam parking lot off of Capilano Road. You’ll see the Capilano Reservoir, one of Vancouver’s main sources of drinking water, and you can peer over the dam to watch the water falling to the depths below. Like many of the hikes around Vancouver, this is a dog-friendly trail so feel free to bring your furry friends along.
Cypress Provincial Park Trails
Visitors can find a variety of hiking trails from Cypress Provincial Park, located on the North Shore of Vancouver. This area has been a favorite of the Lower Mainland hikers for over 100 years. Hikers will see deer, bears, coyotes, squirrels, and different species of birds. The best time to hike these trails is from April to October. The park’s 2100 hectare southern section contains old-growth forests and subalpine wetlands while in the 900 hectare northern section you’ll find Deeks Lake and Brunswick Mountain.
Mount Seymour Provincial Park Trails
Located 15km north of Vancouver, Mount Seymour Provincial Park offers numerous hiking trails across its 3,509 hectares. Hikers can enjoy a variety of trails such as the Mount Seymour Trail, Elsay Lake Trail, and Mystery Lake Trail, as well as many others. Every trail comes with its own length and difficulty levels, making this park suitable for whatever hiking experience you may have. Located within the North Shore Mountains, you can get to this park in about 40 minutes from the downtown area.
Lighthouse Park Trail
The Lighthouse Park Trail, located around Burrard Inlet, is an easy hike which great for beginners. The entire trail should take about 2 hours to complete. This is a wonderful escape for a family outing, with picnic spots available and plenty of places to stop, rest, and enjoy the amazing views of English Bay and Stanley Park. Hikers will glimpse old growth Western Red Cedar and Douglas Fir trees as well as the old Point Atkinson Lighthouse, which was built in 1914.
Lynn Canyon Park Trails
Lynn Canyon Park offers easy to intermediate trails with multiple paths to venture along, including the popular Baden Powell Trail. You can hike down the stream to Twin Falls or upstream to the 30 Foot Pool. You will cross an amazing suspension bridge when you first get into the park that is 48 meters across and 50 meters high. This gorgeous park is located at the bottom of the North Shore Mountains. There are many rocks, weeds, and steep walkways, so be careful and wear the right footwear.
Pacific Spirit Regional Park Trail
Pacific Spirit Regional Park offers easy trails, 763 hectares of land, and is located within the University Endowment Lands. It is a great place to escape to for a hike and get away from the stress of the city. It has over 55 km of trails to explore and hikers will be able to experience both marshlands and forests. If you are a nature lover, you’ll definitely enjoy the many different types of trees and foliage. The trails are for everybody, including cyclists, joggers, and horseback riders, so be prepared to share the space.
Located just outside of Vancouver, in the Squamish area, is the Stawamus Chief Trail. Nicknamed The Chief, this trail is one of the most popular hiking spots for tourists and locals alike. Hikers can experience The Chief via three different routes by following along Oleson Creek and then choosing which peak they will climb. First Peak is a 1.5 km trail with an elevation gain of 540 metres, Second Peak is 1.7 km, rising up to an elevation of 590 metres, and Third Peak is 1.8 km long with an elevation of 630 metres.
Deer Lake Trail
Deer Lake Trail is an easy, hour long jaunt that stays nice and flat and circles around Deer Lake. It’s a dog friendly trail and it’s not too lengthy, making it the perfect spot to head to for your regular walks with the pooch. It’s also open all year round which means you won’t have to look for a new route when fall and winter roll around. There’s a beach area, a viewing tower, and a pier, so this is also a great destination if you want a dose of some relaxing scenery.
Many hikes around Vancouver are fairly easy and manageable but there are certainly a ton of options if you’re looking for a challenge. Crown Mountain Trail, located behind Grouse Mountain in North Van, is a more difficult hike that will take you somewhere around 7 hours to complete. You’ll be rewarded for your efforts with outstanding views of the Capilano Watershed and the backcountry coastal mountains.
Considering how urban and populated Metro Vancouver is, it’s incredible how many hiking trails are so easily accessible. The trails closest to the city are usually moderately busy but you’ll find that the longer trails on the outskirts are typically much more quiet and serene. Every one of these hikes offers its own unique qualities and appeal, such as breathtaking views, magnificent waterfalls, or slightly nerve wracking suspension bridges. Set aside a couple hours, pick a trail, and go explore Vancouver’s hidden wilderness.