Best Hikes Near Vancouver  by Chloë Ernst

Best Hikes Near Vancouver Guide Book

by Chloë Ernst (Falcon Guides)
Best Hikes Near Vancouver  by Chloë Ernst
Talking up Vancouver is a fairly easy job. Various publications and organizations have named the city as one of the world’s most liveable cities, and no small factor in that is Vancouver’s access to wilderness. Just a sip away from grabbing an Americano, there are parks and wild lands supporting bears, raccoons, and migratory birds. Hiking trails twist along shorelines and through expansive, mulitiuse parks.

© 2014 Chloand235; Ernst/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Best Hikes Near Vancouver" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 41.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 41.

On a sunny summer day, you’re likely to see hikers and sunbathers in the buff along this beach hike. The trail, which is mostly an undefined route along the rocky shore, starts on the north side of Point Grey at Acadia Beach. It passes two interesting WWII searchlight towers and ends with a steep climb: the 483 stairs at famous clothing-optional Wreck Beach. NOTE: Off-leash dogs October through February.
Vancouver, BC - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.2
There’s a family of four lakes in Alice Lake Provincial Park. This hike links them all and also stops at the debris-clogged banks of the Cheekye River. After you’ve made the quick, easy 6.4-kilometer (4.0-mile) circuit, you can swim on sandy beaches, kayak Alice Lake, fish for cutthroat or rainbow trout, or settle into the provincial park campground. It’s a summer playground that’s a favorite for families. Alice Lake became a provincial park in 1956, but locals loved it long before. Amid the intense outdoor activities that tend to define Squamish (like rock climbing on the face of the Stawamus Chief or mountain biking through forest trails), Alice Lake is a comparatively tranquil spot. Families huddle around campfires roasting marshmallows, kids swim out to lake rafts, Canada geese herd their goslings in the picnic area, and anglers in hip waders fi sh for trout.
Squamish, BC - Hiking - Trail Length: 4
Though best known for its seawall, Stanley Park holds other treasured trails—like this short woodland walk around Beaver Lake, where tourists, Douglas squirrels, and joggers give the park an eclectic life. A forest path weaves between long-ago-logged stumps, new growth, and some of the park’s remaining large cedars and Douglas firs. A pedestrian bridge crosses busy Stanley Park Causeway and connects to more options for easy walks.
Vancouver, BC - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.1
Boundary Bay has gone to the birds—snowy owls, hawks, plovers, and trumpeter swans to name a few. This is one of the Vancouver area’s most important habitats for migratory birds, and 1.5 million birds make a journey to the wide, sandy bay just north of the 49th parallel each year. A flat, gravel trail takes you on an easy shoreline hike and past protected areas before looping back to Centennial Beach. Boundary Bay is a 16-kilometer (10-mile) sweeping curve, just north of the 49th parallel north. While you’d expect huge Centennial Beach to be packed Bin summer and near desolate in winter, that’s not quite so. When it’s not beach season at Bounday Bay, it’s birding season. About 1.5 million birds, coming from a collection of 20 countries, feed in the bay’s tidal flats, wetlands, and grasslands each year. The park is fairly small with a varied mix of habitats.
Delta, BC - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.4
Though this 7.4-km (4.6-mile) hike atop flat, gravel dike trails isn’t a challenge, it’s big on rewards: especially the 360-degree view of snow-capped mountains. During winter, snow geese flock to the surrounding fields and other migratory birds feed on the mudflats of Roberts Bank. For serious bird watchers, there’s an island bird sanctuary nearby. This gently sloped dike is a line in the sand between the swells of ocean tides and the farmland of Brunswick Point peninsula. The trail affords an easy journey over a flat gravel surface with plenty of opportunities for bird watching. Indeed, birders have spotted more than 200 species in the area. As the south arm of the Fraser River empties into the ocean, it deposits nutrients in the wide mudflats.
Delta, BC - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.6
This moderate loop hike follows the undulating forest shoreline of Buntzen Lake—a BC Hydro–managed recreation area that’s a popular spot to cool off in summer. Along the route, you get a sense of the forces harnessed to create clean energy in the province. Dozens of small creeks drain into Buntzen Lake, along with a 3.6-kilometer (2.2-mile) tunnel from Coquitlam Lake. The suspension bridge at the lake’s north end is fun to cross.
Port Moody, BC - Hiking - Trail Length: 6.1
An intricate trail network surrounds the mountaintop campus of Simon Fraser University. While the woodland paths are a favorite with mountain bikers, they are open to hikers too. Explore the steep slopes of Burnaby Mountain to find quiet routes and simply enjoy the forest. Then, head up to see the Japanese totem poles and views from Centennial Way.
Burnaby, BC - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.2
A boardwalk amble guides you through the more-than-meets-the-eye terrain of Burns Bog. From spring skunk cabbage to late summer blackberries, the nature reserve is rich with plant life. The habitat is important to migratory birds like endangered greater sandhill cranes, which nest here, but it’s just as important to us humans—the peat bog absorbs carbon dioxide and Fraser River floodwaters. In fact, it’s the largest urban wilderness in North America.
Delta, BC - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.2
It’s mostly uphill, but the Capilano Pacific Trail has a gentle grade thanks to its beginnings as the Capilano Timber Company rail bed in the early twentieth century. From Ambleside Park, which sits near the Lions Gate Bridge and across First Narrows from Stanley Park, you follow the Capilano River toward its great concrete wall: the Cleveland Dam. Below the dam, a salmon hatchery seethes with activity during the fall spawning, and anglers cast a line at Cable Pool.
Vancouver, BC - Hiking - Trail Length: 8.2
When the snows on Black Mountain at Cypress Mountain ski area melt, they come rushing down Cypress Creek and over the two sets of falls in Cypress Falls Park. These tumultuous waterfalls are the highlight of this short and interesting route, but the silent costar is the forest with its old-growth trees, mossy beds, and endearingly hap-hazard network of trails. This is the British Columbia rain forest at its best and most accessible. A rushing creek feeds two impressive waterfalls, and misty airs nourish lichens and mosses that hang from 300-year-old trees—a thick forest canopy that shields you from wetter weather. But it wasn’t always accessible. Some historians, like Elspeth Bradbury in A View through the Trees, speculate that these old-growth trees only remain because loggers couldn’t access them.
Vancouver, BC - Hiking - Trail Length: 2
Waterfront parks, rocky viewpoints, river canyons, a suspension bridge—this point- to-point hike covers the best of the North Shore over a moderate route and a testing elevation gain. This leg is the easternmost section of the Baden Powell Trail, a 48-km (30-mile) route that crosses the North Shore Mountains all the way to Horseshoe Bay, West Vancouver.
Vancouver, BC - Hiking - Trail Length: 7.5
The mighty Fraser River is a quiet but ever-present force along this hike, which takes you from river’s edge to the historic site of a fur trading post and then around a woodland loop. Heritage apple trees, old farm buildings, and salmon anglers transport you from city to country life. About midway through this hike, a stone cairn with a plaque is the simple marker for an important site: where Hudson’s Bay Company established A fur trading post. It was the first European settlement in British Columbia. Men arrived from Fort Vancouver on the Columbia in 1827 to clear land and begin trading with First Nations people.
Maple Ridge, BC - Hiking,Walking - Trail Length: 5.8
After an initial steep climb alongside the ski slopes of Cypress Mountain resort, this hike turns into a lovely relaxing amble past subalpine lakes and out to Eagle Bluff. There, you sit at the corner of Vancouver, looking down on Lighthouse Park, Horseshoe Bay, and Point Grey. Bring a bathing suit and towel for a summer lake swim. Eagle Bluff , the turnaround point for this hike, overlooks a busy scene. The waters of Burrard Inlet and Howe Sound meet at Lighthouse Park; ferries steam out of Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo, the Sunshine Coast, and Bowen Island; motorboats churn up water; tankers hang on their anchors; sailboats cut slow, smooth paths. It’s the type of scenery that’s usually hard-won through a long climb.
Vancouver, BC - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.4
There’s so much attention on the Grouse Grind, you often don’t hear about Grouse Mountain’s other trails. But with its 360-degree views and interesting rocky route, Goat Mountain deserves the limelight. It affords a horizon-reaching vantage over southwestern BC. Peaks seem to surround Goat on all sides, including Mount Baker, Mount Judge Howay, Mount Cheam, and Mount Garibaldi. And who can argue with the availability of a celebratory beer at the finish line!
Vancouver, BC - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.7
Golden Ears Provincial Park has a wilderness feel you find in the national parks in the Rocky Mountains, with its evergreen forests, a wide lake, and a single parkway providing access. After nearly a century of being protected from logging, the park’s forest is thick and lush. This very easy hike’s end point—thunderous Gold Creek Falls—is a roaring, torrent of power and cold water in spring.
Maple Ridge, BC - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.4
Unrelenting. Painful. Steep. Slippery. Crowded. These are all thoughts you may have just in the first quarter of the difficult but short Grouse Grind. Nearing the end of the 2.9-km (1.8-mile) stair-climb, thoughts change to persevere and just finish. The Grouse Grind is perhaps Vancouver’s most famous and busiest trail. Mostly because it packs a fantastic training wallop and is ever-so-close to the city, but also because its reputation precedes it. “The Grind” is a hiker’s rite of passage.
Vancouver, BC - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.8
Hayward Lake Reservoir sits on the downstream side of Stave Falls and Blind Slough Dams, two of many BC hydroelectricity projects. As such, the landscape can vary from an apocalyptic lake bottom to tranquil recreation area, depending on the water levels. This moderate woodland hike leads to spectacular Steelhead Falls and then follows the lakeshore through a lesser-traveled tract of forest.
Mission, BC - Hiking - Trail Length: 8.6
Pocket lakes, off-grid cabins, and ski lodges, including the historic 1926 Hollyburn Ski Camp, provide interest and lots to look at along this 5.5-kilometer (3.4-mile) forest hike. The route follows a series of hiking trails in Cypress Provincial Park and snow-free Nordic skiing routes for a quiet summer walk. In summer, the trails are snow-free but quiet and lovely. Starting along the woodland trail from the parking lot, only a rope strung between trees hints at the height of the wintertime snowpack. Snowshoers use the cord as a hand railing on a brief but steep section. A fire access road leads uphill to Hollyburn Lodge, but be sure to look in the woods on the way.
Vancouver, BC - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.4
The 4.0-kilometer (2.5-mile) walk along this jetty that juts into the Strait of Georgia can be deceiving. When the gusts pick up and blast in from the west, it feels like you’re walking into a wind tunnel. But it’s worth battling this invisible force to spot harbor seals, catch a close-up glimpse of an eagle, and stand at this westerly point and take in a panorama of mainland, islands, and mountains.
Vancouver, BC - Hiking - Trail Length: 5
Tiny Jug Island sits just off the beach at the end of Belcarra Peninsula. Getting there requires hiking a forest trail through the peninsula’s center, and though it’s an easy hike, it feels like a secreted-away spot. The meditative journey gives time to consider the area’s original inhabitants—the Tsleil-Waututh, or the People of the Inlet, who had a large winter village where the park’s picnic area now stands.
Port Moody, BC - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.6