Vancouver is famous for its extraordinary blend of urban city and areas of natural beauty; it is a vibrant, modern, multicultural city set between alpine mountains and the North Pacific. When it comes to getting out and exploring beautiful natural environments, you will never be short of choices in British Columbia. Below we list 5 of our favourite hikes in the Vancouver area. Note: If you’re visiting British Columbia during the winter months, be sure to check out our BC Winter Hiking Tours.
Lighthouse Park, West Vancouver
For walkers of all abilities, there are several trails to choose from in Lighthouse Park. The Valley Trail will take you directly to the Point Atkinson Lighthouse. Hikes range from a short 30-minute trek to the lighthouse and back to longer 6 km trails around the parkland. This is an area of great natural beauty and the lighthouse itself makes for excellent photographs, the white and red of the lighthouse buildings contrasting wonderfully with the surrounding blue sea. The first wooden lighthouse on the headland was erected in 1875, with the present concrete structure replacing the original in 1914. The lighthouse remains in service until this day.
Sendero Diez Vistas, Buntzen Lake, Greater Vancouver
The name Sendero Diez Vistas means “trail of ten views” in Spanish and it captures the great scope of scenic beauty you will discover on this hike. This is a long and fairly challenging hike, so you will need to wear appropriate attire and pack some food. The trail will take in the whole of the picturesque Buntzen Lake. This unspoiled area makes for a truly revitalising journey into nature and you will return to the city feeling like a new person. The hike will take around 6 to 8 hours in total but the lake lies only a 45-minute drive from downtown Vancouver, so this can be organised as a day trip or an overnight hike depending on your preference. Reserve time to appreciate the mesmeric panoramic views.
The Grouse Grind, Grouse Mountain, North Vancouver
A mere 15-minute drive from downtown Vancouver will bring you to Grouse Mountain in the North Shore Mountains. This is a perennial favourite for visitors to Vancouver as the mountain’s cable car offers tremendous views of the city below and the resort on the mountain’s summit has a range of attractions suitable for visitors of all age groups. However, the mountain also offers the challenging trail, The Grouse Grind. Known as ‘’Mother Nature’s Stairmaster’’, this trail is steep. It is the perfect way to exert yourself if you have been over-indulging during your holidays. The climb up the mountain face features an eye-watering 2,830 steps and climbs 853 m. The journey to the top takes around 90 minutes (although the record for fastest completion is an astounding 23.40 minutes). Members of your group who don’t fancy the challenge can relax at the Grouse Mountain resort while hikers complete the trail.
Quarry Rock, Deep Cove, North Vancouver
Part of the 48 km Baden-Powell Trail, this is a fairly easy hike which will take around 1.5 hours to complete. The traditional homeland of the Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations, Deep Cove is a peaceful community in North Vancouver, a mere 20-minute drive from downtown. The trail Quarry Rock begins along Panorama Drive. The trail will take you through thick evergreen forest, across charming wooden bridges, and up 100 m to Quarry Rock itself, a fabulous lookout point over the glacial fjord, Indian Arm. Surrounded by nature, take time to relax and watch the boats drift across the water below. And keep your eyes peeled for wildlife as the area is home to black bears, seals, and bald eagles.
Garibaldi Lake, Garibaldi Provincial Park, Squamish
The last hike on our list is Garibaldi Lake. Located between Squamish and Whistler, this magnificent turquoise lake should be on the must-see list of all visitors to British Columbia. Travelling out to Garibaldi Lake, you will get to enjoy the Sea-to-Sky Highway. Beginning at sea level, you will travel north into alpine ranges and through the dense rainforest –– the route is surely one of the most striking in all of North America. Pay attention to the roadsides in the Squamish First Nations languages as you move through the Squamish region. The trail around the lake is well maintained and provides plenty of idyllic spots to stop among the wildflowers and savour the views of the water. For those staying over, the location is excellent for stargazing. If you are hoping to do longer hikes while in the Garibaldi Provincial Park, the Elfin Lakes trail is also highly recommended.
We hope you have enjoyed our stroll through some of the best hikes in the Vancouver area. At BeWild! we believe getting back to nature and exploring our wild places is not only physically rewarding but also beneficial for our mental and spiritual wellbeing. If we’ve left you feeling inspired to go exploring, take a look at our Whistler Waterfall Tours. And if your dates are not available, remember we do offer private tours and are always happy to answer your questions.