Things to do in Vancouver

Unveiling Vancouver Hikes: A Guide to the Best Hiking Trails

Nature abounds in Vancouver’s hiking trails, from rugged, remote mountain peaks to gentle park walks.

For true daredevils and adventurers, Vancouver hikes are endless. The region offers some of the best hiking opportunities in the nation, all ripe with unique beauty and endless possibilities. Hikers of all skill levels can enjoy the fun of exploring the myriad of things to do in Vancouver outdoors.

Whether you’re looking for a gentle suburban park-style walk or a trail that puts your skills and dexterity to the test, you’ll find it here. It’s truly a hiker’s paradise.

Coastal Escapes

Part of Vancouver's appeal is its proximity to the sea. These coastal escapes provide the best views Vancouver beaches have to offer.

1. Lighthouse Park

You'll discover the Lighthouse Park trails about a 40-minute drive north of Downtown Vancouver. You’ll weave through what’s left of an old-growth forest at this free park.

Getting from the parking lot to the lighthouse takes about 25 minutes of steep hiking, but numerous other trails can keep you wandering for hours. You’ll find vantage points on cliffs overlooking the sea and dense forests that feel like you’ve left the city behind.

Photographer: jamesjamesjames1

2. Sendero Diez Vistas at Buntzen Lake

Venture an hour out of Downtown Vancouver, where excitement awaits at Sendero Diez Vista. It’s named for the ten views you’ll find along this 6-hour hike.

While you don’t have to pay to enter, you do have to pay for parking. The trail begins north of the Buntzen Lake parking lot. After you cross the floating bridge, the trail winds uphill at varying altitudes.

Along the way, you’ll be treated to stellar views of the surrounding mountains, Buntzen Lake, and its beach. This trail is best suited for intermediate hikers because it's such a long hike with a steep incline.

3. Tunnel Bluffs Trail

Catch some stunning vistas just 40 minutes away from Downtown Vancouver at the Tunnel Bluffs trail. On sunny days, you’ll be treated to spectacular views of Bowen Island. It’ll take about 4 hours to make your way from the parking lot to the cliffside, but you’ll be greatly rewarded for it.

The park is free to access, and parking costs $3 per hour—up to a maximum of $24 per day. Although the trail is long, it’s not very steep. Along the entire 11.5-kilometer round trip, you’ll only gain about 470 meters in elevation, and the inclines are gentle enough for most people to handle.

Mountain Majesty

Part of the fun of hiking up a mountain is reaching the summit and seeing the world go on for miles. It’s almost like looking at a different world when you’re that far above the city.

4. Hollyburn Mountain

Hollyburn Mountain is nestled in Cypress Hills Provincial Park, about 45 minutes from Downtown Vancouver. The trail has gentle elevation gains and takes about 3.5 hours to complete. Even better, it’s completely free to access.

Wander through meadows, up the mountain, and eventually, to the summit, where you’ll see the Gulf Islands, Georgia Strait, and the west side of the city. During the late summer and early fall, bushes fill with ripened berries. You might even catch sight of a bear gnashing away in preparation for the hibernation season.

5. Mount Seymour Park

Head to Mount Seymour Park, a 30-minute drive from Downtown Vancouver for wildlife sightings. Enjoying the trails here doesn’t cost anything, but during winter months, you’ll need to book a day-use parking pass in advance.

Explore numerous paths of varying lengths and difficulties across over 3,500 hectares. As you hike, you’ll uncover viewpoints of Mount Baker, Vancouver, and several lakes. Birds and other wildlife wander these wildlands, delighting viewers.

6. St. Mark’s Summit

St. Mark’s Summit is a hiker’s paradise, but it’s not for beginners. It’s part of the Howe Sound Crest Trail and takes an average of 5 hours in each direction.

Just 45 minutes north of Vancouver, it promises a free outdoor adventure for all who dare brave it. It’s especially stunning if you happen to pick a clear, sunny day for your hike. You’ll see views of Howe Sound and the Tantalus Range.

This trail is one of the most popular in the area, and if you go during peak times, such as weekends in the summer months, you’re bound to run into others. If you’re looking for solitude in the wilderness, this probably isn’t the best pick for you, but the views are spectacular.

Photographer: Vad D

Urban Retreats

You don’t have to go far to experience some of the Vancouver area's most enjoyable hikes. You’re never far from the city when you explore these urban retreats.

7. Grouse Grind at Grouse Mountain Regional Park

Grouse Mountain Regional Park is a local favorite thing to do in Vancouver. Just a 30-minute drive from Downtown Vancouver, the Grouse Grind offers a different sort of hiking experience.

You’ll climb 2.5 kilometers up Grouse Mountain along giant stairs winding through old-growth forests. It's a challenging hike — you'll walk up a steep slope with 2,830 stairs the entire time. Most people take between 2 and 2.5 hours to make it to the top.

You won’t have to pay to hike up the trail. But you can’t climb back down the way you got up, and there aren’t any other hiking trails from the summit back down. To get back down, you’ll need to buy a ticket for the Grouse Mountain Skyride, which costs CAD 20 per person.

8. Capilano Suspension Bridge Park Cliffwalk

The Cliffwalk attraction at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park takes you hundreds of feet in the air over the forest’s canopies. Wander narrow walkways and appreciate the cliffside views as you get a true bird's-eye view of the area, just 20 minutes from Downtown Vancouver.

You’ll have to pay to enter the greater park area to access the Cliffwalk. Prices start at $26.95 per person for children and range up to $69.95 for adults. This attraction is a great place to spend New Year's Eve in Vancouver when bright lights line the park and create even more stunning views.

Photographer: Jean Giroux

Family-Friendly Adventures

If you’re an avid hiker eager to share your love of the sport with your little ones, these family-friendly adventures are the prime opportunity to get started. Even young kids can usually keep up with gentle slopes and shorter trails.

9. Dog Mountain

If you’ve got little ones tagging along for a day of hiking, Dog Mountain is an easy 2-hour trip with minimal elevation gain and gorgeous views.

Driving from downtown Vancouver takes about 50 minutes, so it’s a bit out of the way for a day trip with children. But if your kids can tolerate the drive and the walk, they’ll surely snooze on the drive back.

Be mindful of tree roots, but don’t spend the whole trip looking at your feet. You’ll be able to spot bridges, streams, and, eventually, most of the city.

Photographer: Vincentas Liskauskas

10. Pacific Spirit Regional Park

For older children, the Pacific Spirit Regional Park hike is easy but still challenging. This three-hour hike doesn’t have much elevation gain, but it’s about twice as long as the Dog Mountain hike.

Depending on where you go, you’ll find cyclists and horseback riders enjoying the trail. It's only a 10-minute drive from Downtown Vancouver, and there’s no fee to access this trail.

11. Barnet Marine Park

Complete your nature walk by meandering along the shores at Barnet Marine Park. It’s about 30 minutes east of Downtown Vancouver by car, and you’ll get some incredible seaside views.

Many people follow the Drummond’s Walk trail, a gentle 45-minute stroll suitable for children of all ages. After wrapping up, you’ll be near the beach with swimming access, so pack some towels and take a refreshing dip. While the park doesn't charge for entry, you'll need to pay parking fees.

12. Tynehead Regional Park

Tynehead Regional Park offers a 1.5-hour hike with gentle slopes through forested lands. Driving here from Downtown Vancouver takes about 45 minutes, but many people make the trek out.

It’s popular for picnics and cycling, and you’ll often see people walking their leashed dogs here, as there’s an off-leash area within the park. Hiking here is free, which makes it incredibly popular among the locals. Along the way, you'll catch sight of the butterfly garden, fish hatchery, and Serpentine River.

Expert Expeditions

If you’re looking to sweat and push yourself to extreme limits, the rugged wilderness of British Columbia delivers. These trails are harsh, difficult, and steep, and you’ll want to prepare carefully and pack emergency supplies. Many of these locations are remote, so always exercise extreme caution.

13. Lynn Lake Trail

Lynn Lake Trail is 30 minutes from Downtown Vancouver. Despite its closeness to the city, it’s one of the most challenging, isolated areas to explore. This hike takes about 8 hours round trip, depending on how quickly you walk, and the steep elevation gains make it a difficult climb.

This route will take you around the Lynn Headwaters Regional Park backcountry trails and far into the wilderness.

14. Goat Mountain

Just 30 minutes away from Downtown Vancouver sits Goat Mountain, a four-hour trail in Lynn Headwaters Regional Park. This hike starts at the top of the Grouse Mountain Ski Resort and winds its way even higher through shady trees.

Parts of the trail are relatively flat, but the areas where the slope increases significantly require a rope and chain to help you traverse. The last 10 minutes of the hike are the steepest, but that only increases the chances you’ll get the 360-degree views from the summit all to yourself.

The hike itself is free, but you'll have to pay to take a gondola back down.

15. Elfin Lakes in Garibaldi Provincial Park

If your idea of a picturesque scene is a lake surrounded by mountains and sprawling expanses of evergreens, the trek to Elfin Lakes is worth it. It’s farther away than other options on the list, at an almost two-hour drive from Downtown Vancouver. But such remote lands also promise some of the best solitary hiking experiences.

The whole hike takes around 6 hours if you keep a moderate pace, and you’ll see moderate elevation gain throughout. Parking is free, but you must register for a free day-use pass to prevent overcrowding.

Photographer: Pranav Prashar

16. Norvan Falls

Catch one of the most breathtaking waterfalls in the area at Norvan Falls. The whole trip is 14 kilometers long, and it takes moderate hikers around 5 hours to complete.

Given that it’s just 40 minutes from Downtown Vancouver, it’s a prime location for a short day trip when you’re looking for incredible views along a popular trail. The trail here is completely open to the public and free to explore.

17. Eagle Bluffs at Cypress Provincial Park

Take a trip about 45 minutes west of Downtown Vancouver, and you’ll find yourself in Cypress Park. Eagle Bluffs is one of the park's most popular hiking trails for experts who want a challenge.

As you tackle this rugged terrain head-on, you'll pass through ski runs, woods, and backcountry among switchbacks. The whole hike is manageable for a day trip, averaging about 4 hours. And best of all, it's completely free.

Keep Exploring Vancouver’s Hiking Trails

Vancouver is home to many hiking trails, and it will take you a while to complete them all. Of course, you’ll need some time to rest between treks into the wilderness. When you want to go on an adventure just as heart-pounding as hiking rugged terrain, we have a solution for you.

Our shows in Vancouver will have you holding your breath and sitting on the edge of your seat as you wait to see what happens next. We’ll dazzle you as we soar through the air while our story unfolds, flowing with twists and turns to rival the trails you’ve conquered. Prepare to discover a world where dreams come true and limits don’t exist.

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