Vancouver is well-known to have some of the best hikes in Canada, and some would argue that in all of North America.
The amazing combinations of beautiful ocean views, pristine-blue glacier lakes, ancient forests, mushroom-covered greenwood, all-year-round pine trees, and more make Vancouver Area such a unique and wonderful place to visit, explore, and hike in.
I made a list of 7 of my favorite hikes in the Vancouver area, so if you’re planning on visiting soon, or just want to find another hike that you would like to do, keep reading!
- Grouse Grind Mountain
Elevation: 853 m
Length: 6 km roundtrip
The time needed: 2 hours on average
Grouse Mountain is situated in North Vancouver, about 30 minutes drive from Downtown Vancouver. It is one of the closest hikes from the city; you make a turn on the highway and are already surrounded by beautiful tall trees. The trail is situated in the proximity of The Grouse Mountain Gondola. The hike starts right from the parking lot, after crossing the bridge it begins the ascending trail.
It is a pretty challenging hike, the trails are marked pretty well, but in my opinion, it is not a hike for beginners. It is an almost continuous uphill climb from the bottom of the mountain. It is not suited for children or dogs. The sceneries are wonderful, you’re always surrounded by ancient trees.
Before reaching the peak, there is usually snow, so it’s better to be prepared with hiking shoes and warm clothes. At the top of the climb, there is the Grouse Mountain Chalet, where you can relax and enjoy the view, have a warm drink, or get a ticket for the gondola back to the parking lot, and enjoy the city skyline while descending.
We started the hike pretty late in the afternoon (not a good idea), and by the time we reached the peak it was already getting dark, our shoes were wet and we were exhausted, so we took the gondola back to the car. It’s a good idea to start the climb early.
- St. Mark’s Summit
Elevation: 460 m
Length: 11 km roundtrip
The time needed: 5 hours
St. Marks Summit was definitely one of my favorite hikes. The trail is situated in Cypress Provincial Park, along the Howe Sound Crest Trail which spreads over 3 km. It is a very popular hike, so expect to see a lot of people along the way, especially on a sunny and clear day. The hike starts progressively, not too hard in the first 15 minutes or so. We started the hike in the morning, at 10-11 am; the parking lot was already almost fully occupied, so is good to arrive pretty early.
The difficulty level was intermediate, but you definitely have moments when you need to catch your breath. We arrived at the peak in about 2 and a half hours, and I must confess I was in complete awe. It was some of the best hike views I have seen around Vancouver, overlooking Vancouver Island and Gulf Island in the distance. It is indeed one of the best climbs around Vancouver.
- Garibaldi Panorama Ridge
Elevation: 1520 m
Length: 30 km roundtrip
The time needed: 10-12 hours on average
Garibaldi Panorama Ridge is one of the most iconic hikes in British Columbia. The view is spectacular, and the trails are showcasing all the mountain vegetation. From pine trees, meadows, plants, and flowers, to rivers and waterfalls, during this 30 kilometers hike roundtrip you’ll see a lot of beautiful things.
The hike starts with 6 km of continuous uphill climb until the Garibaldi Lake. There is a campsite and a lot of hikers choose to camp there overnight. At the junction, you can turn left and continue to the Panorama Ridge. The trail is not very challenging itself, but the length of it is.
The sceneries along the way are stunning, looking like something out of a movie. While you climb higher, the snow starts to appear, so make sure you have hiking shoes. Once at the foot of the mountain, it begins the actual climb. It is a very steep climb, and the snow and ice make it even more difficult, so you need to use your hands as well.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more beautiful view. It is a completely mesmerizing view, with crystal clear turquoise glacier water, contrasting the snow on the peaks.
It is definitely worth it!
Tip: When hiking always use sunscreen and head protection, as the sun in higher altitudes hits harder and you might burn your skin, or get a headache.
- Coquitlam Lake View
Elevation: 610 m
Length: 10.8 km roundtrip
The time needed: 4 hours on average
Coquitlam Lake View is a 45 minutes drive from Vancouver, in Pinecone Burke Provincial Park. It is beautiful on a clear summer day, but in the wintertime, it’s a view from a fairytale. The first portion of the hike is not that demanding, but as the ascending goes, it becomes more challenging, especially in the last part of it.
Along the climb, the paths are marked well, and they are shared with bikers as well. It is a nice and cool hike, the tracks are always covered by trees, so there is weather protection, such as sun or rain. It is good to wear hiking shoes.
Even though the last part was the most challenging, I really enjoyed this hike. We found a waterfall as well along the route, which was pretty dry due to the summer heat, but still very worth watching, and drank water straight from the waterfall. The view at the top is amazing, overlooking Coquitlam Lake and the surroundings.
- Stawamus Chief
Elevation: 702 m
Length: 11 km roundtrip
The time needed: 6 hours on average
The Stawamus Chief hike consists of three peaks, that can be climbed on the same day. It begins with a section of wooden stairs that can be a leg burner if you’re not used to hiking in general. It is a very popular hike, so expect to meet a lot of people while climbing the peaks. There is a waterfall beside the first part of the trail, which brings freshness and cool air, plus a beautiful sound.
You can expect challenging elements, such as a ladder and chains that will assist your climb. At the peak, there are solid mass rock formations, so there isn’t any shade, and very hot on a summer day. It is best to have your head covered and sunscreen protection, because you will need it. The view overlooks the city of Squamish and the surroundings.
When we were climbing back, we stopped by the waterfall to drink some water and cool ourselves. It was a very nice experience overall, and a good workout.
- Murrin Provincial Park- Jurassic Ridge Trail
Length: 3.1 km roundtrip
The time needed: 2 hours on average
Murrin Loop Trail is located in Murrin Provincial Park, along the Sea to Sky Highway. It is not a very challenging hike, but there are parts where it gets steep and slippery. At the beginning of the trails, you can find Browning Lake, a very popular lake for swimming and barbeque in the summer.
It felt like a very short hike, with not too much physical struggle, and amazing views as a reward. It’s perfect for a weekend when you want to enjoy nature and sunshine, and also do a little bit of workout. Definitely recommend going.
- Mike Lake Hiking Trail
Length: 10.3 km roundtrip
The time needed: 3 hours on average
Mike Lake is located in Golden Ears Provincial Park. It is mostly a forest walk, with gorgeous green vegetation, ancient trees, and a steady incline. Is better to have hiking shoes, because it can get pretty muddy and slippery after rain.
Throughout the whole hike, I was in awe of the beautiful views, breathing in the clean and fresh air. We arrived at the lake in about 1.5 hours, spent some time on the wooden deck on the lake, and then returned to the parking lot.
It is a very enjoyable trail, which you can do with your family or even pets. Beautiful experience nevertheless.
Happy traveling, friends!
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