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Summit seekers: What are the best hiking trails in Vancouver?

Summit seekers What are the best hiking trails in Vancouver

Craving the kind of adventure where lush forests, panoramic vistas, and hidden waterfalls are just a stone’s throw from the urban sprawl? Then you, my friend, are in luck! Vancouver is also known for its trails and rugged mountain paths that offer a paradise for hikers of all stripes.

But with an array of options that could rival the city’s coffee shop selections, the question isn’t whether there’s a trail for you – it’s where to start and which path to claim as your own. 

Don’t worry, though! We’ve done the legwork for you (so you can save yours for the climb) to curate a guide to Vancouver’s best hiking trails.

Lynn Canyon Loop

Media credit to ericoborgo

Location: 3663 Park Rd, North Vancouver, BC V7J 3K2, Canada

Distance: 2.3 kilometres


Lynn Canyon Loop is a microcosm of Pacific Northwest splendour that features lush forests, Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge, a serene 30-foot pool, and the cascading Twin Falls. 

Now, if you’re seeking more adventure, the trail offers a lookout with views stretching to Vancouver Island and the Strait of Georgia. It offers options to extend your hike for those wanting to immerse themselves in nature’s embrace further. 

Lynn Canyon Park is a treasure trove of trails, with the Loop being just the beginning. It connects to the Baden Powell trail, which is a well-marked path that offers a variety of terrains for all levels of hikers. 

Grouse Grind

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Location: North Vancouver, BC V7R 4K9, Canada

Distance: 2.5 kilometres


Often hailed as “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster’, this trail is a rite of passage for those looking to test their mettle against the mountain. With over 2,900 steps and an elevation gain of about 800 meters spread over 2.5 km, it’s like climbing the stairs to a 242-story building!

What’s great about this trail is that it’s meticulously marked, offering you quarter-milestone markers to gauge your progress or reconsider your life choices. The markers are a beacon of hope (or a reality check) as you navigate the endless staircase!

Upon conquering this Herculean effort, you are rewarded not just with a sense of accomplishment but with spectacular views of Vancouver from the Grouse Mountain. The prize? Bragging rights, of course!

Quarry Rock

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Location: 2400 Panorama Dr, North Vancouver, BC V7G 1V5, Canada

Distance: 3.8 kilometres


Quarry Rock is an accessible adventure that caters to a wide range of fitness levels. With a round-trip distance of about 3.8 km and a modest elevation gain of 100 meters, it’s a trail that promises the joys of the great outdoors without demeaning Herculean effort. 

Here, expect to navigate a series of stairs and rooty sections, but rest assured the path eventually levels out. Along the way, the presence of wooden stairs and bright orange emergency marks add a measure of safety and convenience to your journey. 

Bowen Lookout 

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Location: West Vancouver, BC V0N 1G0, Canada

Distance: 4 kilometres


Nestled near Cypress Mountain, Bowen Lookout offers a relatively easy and rewarding hike that features stunning vistas of Howe Sound and Bowen Island. Unlike some of its more strenuous counterparts, this trail is a concise adventure that can be finished in about an hour.

Your journey starts at the Cypress Mountain Lodge, winding through old-growth forests and Yew Lake Meadows before ascending a series of switchbacks. The real magic begins as you round the top of the last hill, which reveals the expansive Strait of Georgia.

Beyond the physical ease and visual feast, Bowen Lookout serves as a wildlife observatory at sunset, where blue jays, woodpeckers, whiskey jacks, and even friendly chipmunks make appearances! You may want to bring your birdwatching gear, honestly.

Dog Mountain

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Location: 1700 Mt Seymour Rd, North Vancouver, BC V7G 1L3, Canada

Distance: 5 kilometres


Dog Mountain sits like a quiet guardian over Vancouver, offering one of those “pinch-me” panoramas that dreams are made of. From its rocky summit, you’re treated to a breathtaking view that stretches from the city’s bustling heart to the serene expanse of the Strait of Georgia.

Despite its modest challenge, Dog Mountain doesn’t skip on rewards. The trail meanders through enchanting forests, across charming wooden bridges, and past serene lakes. 

The trail’s relatively flat terrain makes it accessible to a wide range of hikers, including families and beginners. However, don’t be fooled! The path can still be rooty, rocky and at times, muddy. 

Jug Island Beach Trail

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Location: Jug Island Trail, Belcarra, BC V3H 4N6, Canada

Distance: 5.5 kilometres


Don’t be fooled by the “moderate label” this trail advertises. The Jug Island Beach Trail throws in a bit of everything from shady forest paths to heart-pumping climbs, rewarding you with panoramic views of Indian Arm.

You can’t actually set foot on Jug Island, by the way… but trust me, the views are postcard-worthy. The dramatic rocky outcrop, framed by lush greenery, will have you feeling like you’ve stumbled onto a secret pirate cove. 

Just remember, the treasure here is the scenery, not hidden gold!

Lighthouse Park

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Location: 4902 Beacon Ln, West Vancouver, BC V7W 1K5, Canada

Distance: 6 kilometres


You’ve seen lighthouses in movies, but have you ever explored one that whispers tales of shipwrecks and rescues? Point Atkinson Lighthouse stands proudly at the park’s heart. It’s a beacon of history that beckons you to climb its stairs and soak in the panoramic vistas.

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a weekend warrior, Lighthouse Park has a trail for you. Gentle paths meander through the forest, while more challenging hikes offer heart-pumping climbs and breathtaking rewards. 

Keep your eyes peeled because you might just spot some furry (or feathery) friends. Bald eagles soar overhead, seals bask on the rock, and playful squirrels scamper through the trees. 

Mount Seymour Trail 

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Location: 4902 Beacon Ln, West Vancouver, BC V7W 1K5, Canada

Distance: 7.7 kilometres


This trail is like a choose-your-own-adventure book for your legs. Opt for the First Peak for a quick and scenic jaunt. Feeling ambitious? Tackle the Second Peak for steeper climbs and even more stunning views.

Unlike some trails that hibernate in winter, Mount Seymour Trail adapts to the seasons. Hike it in summer for sunshine and panoramic views, or embrace the challenge of snowshoeing through a winter wonderland. 

Lynn Peak 

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Location: 4900 Lynn Valley Rd, North Vancouver, BC V7K 3B2, Canada

Distance: 9 kilometres


With a roundtrip distance of 9 km and an elevation gain of 720 meters, Lynn Peak promises a solid workout that sometimes draws comparisons to the infamous Ground Grind (but without the crowd).

Once you’re here, expect to dedicate four to five hours to conquer this trail. It’s a journey that spans seasons and welcomes hikers all year round thanks to its relatively low summit elevation. 

Yet, it’s not merely the physical challenge that beckons, it’s the payoff. The viewpoint just before the true summit offers a breathtaking panorama. And guess what? On a clear day, your eye can roam from the cityscape to the distant USA!

Mount Strachan Trail

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Location: Mount Strachan, Greater Vancouver A, BC V7S, Canada.

Distance: 10.5 kilometres


Mount Strachan trail is a chameleon that offers different landscapes within each bend. Here, you can traverse peaceful forest paths, conquer heart-pumping scrambles, and even be surprised by a historical airplane crash site (yes, you read that right!).

So, you’ve huffed and puffed your way up, muscles screaming and lungs burning. And then, BAM! The summit unfolds before you like a breathtaking tapestry.

Just be reminded that you might encounter black bears, deer, and even the occasional marmot. Remember, these are wild animals, so observe them from a distance and respect their habitat.

Norvan Falls

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Location: North Vancouver, BC V7K 3B2, Canada

Distance: 14 kilometres


Don’t be fooled by the “waterfall” part – this trail is surprisingly accessible! Unlike some challenging waterfall treks, Norvan Falls offers a mostly flat and well-maintained path that’s ideal for anyone seeking a scenic stroll.

While the falls are the star attraction, the trail offers a glimpse into other natural wonders. It leads you through diverse ecosystems that’ll remind you of the beauty of Vancouver beyond the city lights. 

Now, we recommend packing for a picnic when you go here. There are designated picnic areas near the falls that are perfect for a post-hike snack while basking in the sound of cascading water. Remember to leave no trace and respect the environment!

Stawamus Chief 

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Location: Garibaldi Highlands, BC V0N 1T0, Canada

Distance: 16 kilometres


Stawamus Chief is no walk in the park. This trail throws everything at you: steep inclines, challenging scrambles, and even a ladder and chain section that’ll get your adrenaline pumping. But hey, where’s the glory without a little challenge, right?

Conquer the Chief, and the reward is sweeter than summit candy (though feel free to pack some!). It’s a 360 panorama that’ll make you gasp in awe and feel like you’re on top of the world. 

Fun fact: Did you know the Squamish Nation considers the Chief a sacred place? As you hike, respect the cultural significance and appreciate the beauty of the natural world around you. 

Garibaldi Lake Trail 

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Location: Garibaldi Park Rd, Squamish, BC V8B 0G1, Canada

Distance: 18 kilometres


This trail spans about 18 kilometres round trip which gives you a solid day hike or a memorable overnight adventure. And get this: Along the way, you’ll gain about 900 meters in elevation. That’s like climbing a stairway to heaven (minus the Led Zeppelin soundtrack, unfortunately).

But the pièce de résistance of this trail is none other than Garibaldi Lake itself. Picture turquoise waters surrounded by snow-capped peaks. It’s like nature’s postcard slapped right in front of your eyeballs. 

And hey, if you’re feeling brave (or just a little sweaty), you can even take a dip in the frigid waters. #YOLO, am I right?

Baden Powell Trail

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Location: Baden Powell Trail, Vancouver, BC V7R 4X4, Canada

Distance: 48 kilometres


This bad boy stretches for a whopping 48 kilometres from one end to the other, giving you plenty of ground to cover and endless opportunities for adventure.

And it isn’t just any old hiking trail – it’s a legendary route named after Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of the Boy Scouts movement. Talk about hiking with some serious history, right?

But here’s where it gets even better. Along the way, you’ll encounter some of the most jaw-dropping scenery Vancouver has to offer. And with over 12 sections to explore, you’ll never run out of new sights to see.

Pacific Spirit Regional Park

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Location: 5495 Chancellor Blvd, Vancouver, BC V6T 1E4, Canada

Distance: 54 kilometres


Forget a one-size-fits-all trail. Pacific Spirit boasts a mind-boggling 54 kilometres of pathway. Feeling mellow? Meander through sun-dappled forest paths. Craving a challenge? Tackle heart-pumping climbs that reward you with vistas of the mountains, ocean, and the city skyline.

Trade first paths for sandy shores! The park’s crown jewel is undoubtedly Wreck Beach, a clothing-optional haven (respect the zones!) lapped by gentle waves.

Come here if you think our furry friends deserve epic adventures too! Pacific Spirit welcomes leash-friendly pups to join the fun. Your dogs can frolic through the forest, sniff out new scents and maybe even chase a rogue squirrel or two.