Vancouver, located in British Columbia on Canada’s west coast, is an amazing place for hiking. The area is home to many forests, mountains, and trails that offer hikers the chance to enjoy magnificent views and see wildlife up close. So whether you are in Vancouver for just 48 hours or longer, make sure to include hiking on your Vancouver itinerary (especially if visiting in the summer!).
The greatest thing about hiking in this city is that the best Vancouver hikes are within just 30 minutes to an hour of Downtown Vancouver. Whether you want an easy and gentle hike, a slightly challenging trail, or are an experienced hiker looking for something more rigorous, Vancouver has a hike for everyone.
You will need to keep some things in mind when hiking in Vancouver, though. Firstly, be sure to always check the weather before you go. Even in the summer, Vancouver is prone to sudden downfalls of rain. Also, make sure you wear appropriate hiking clothing and gear (sturdy shoes), even if doing an easier hike.
Thirdly, research your hiking trail beforehand, and make sure the difficulty level is not too much for your activity level. Some hikes are quite difficult and can be dangerous, so make sure others are aware of your location and when you should be returning.
Lastly, while the abundance of wildlife is one of the things that makes Vancouver hikes great, do be careful. Animals inhabiting the greater Vancouver area include bears, coyotes, and mountain lions. Read up on bear safety, follow signage recommendations, and do not attempt to get close to wild animals if you encounter them.
If you’re ready to explore Vancouver’s beautiful hiking trails, keep reading for the 21 best hikes in Vancouver to find your next hike location.
The hike at Rice Lake is a short and easy but scenic hike. It takes about 1 hour and is just 3 km round-trip with minimal elevation gain. The trail will take you around a calm and peaceful lake found at the edge of Lynn Headwaters Regional Park.
The trail is level around the lake, and you’ll pass through some tranquil forested areas too. You can additionally fish here and spot wildlife such as herons. There are benches around the lake that allow you to stop and enjoy the view. The path at Rice Lake is also a great running trail for those looking for a more intense workout.
The trail around the lake is accessible all year. You can reach it via public transport, or if driving, it’s approximately 40 minutes from Vancouver. Unfortunately, dogs aren’t allowed on the trail.
Grouse Mountain is a mountain peak located close to Downtown Vancouver. The trail up the mountain is called the Grouse Grind and is a popular activity in the city. The hike is a rather challenging trek uphill and takes about 1 to 2 hours to complete. It covers 2.9 km one-way and has an elevation gain of 853 m.
The Grouse Grind hike is often referred to as "Mother Nature's StairMaster", and for good reason! The path is a very popular fitness challenge, done by both locals and visitors to Vancouver.
The BCMC trail is an alternative hiking trail up the mountain, with some hikers taking the Grouse Grind up and descending on the BCMC afterwards. It is, however, a steep, narrow, and challenging descent. You can also take the Gondola back down the mountain at an additional cost.
There are many restaurants, easy hiking trails, and other entertainment once at the top of Grouse Mountain. In winter, the mountain is a very popular skiing and snowboarding destination. Grouse is also a great full-day date idea in Vancouver!
The Grouse Grind is open June through September. You can get to Grouse Mountain in 30 minutes by driving from Vancouver, or you can use public transport to get here. Unfortunately, Grouse Mountain is not dog friendly.
The Sendero Diez Vistas hike is found at the pretty Buntzen Lake. This is a slightly more difficult hiking trail in Vancouver, but it is worth it. It’s an intermediate hike that covers 15 km round trip and takes about 6 to 7 hours to complete. There is an elevation gain of 460 m.
Meaning ten views in Spanish, the Diez Vistas trail features lots of magnificent panoramic views! These include views of Sasamat Lake, Belcarra Regional Park, and Vancouver and Burnaby in the distance.
The hike also takes you through beautiful forests where you’re likely to spot wildlife. The hike will eventually take you back to Buntzen Lake where you can relax on the beach and cool off in the water.
Buntzen Lake and the Sendero Diez Vistas trail is a one hour drive from Vancouver, also accessible on public transport. Dogs are allowed to join you on the hike as well.
Mount Strachan is located close to Cypress Mountain in West Vancouver. It’s one of the three mountains that make up the Cypress Ski Resort. The Strachan Mountain hike is intermediate with an elevation gain of 550 m. The hike will take approximately five and a half hours and covers 10.5 km round trip.
The hike, while scenic, does feature some challenging terrain and difficult, steep climbs. On the way, however, you’ll get amazing views of the surrounding mountain ranges, Garibaldi Provincial Park, and the Howe Sound.
Keep a lookout as well for the crash wreckage of a Royal Canadian Navy T-33 Jet. Pieces of the jet can still be seen at the wreck site today.
The hike is best done between July and October. You can drive from Vancouver in 45 minutes to reach the start of the hike, but there is no access using public transport. Dogs can accompany you if kept on leash.
The Dog Mountain trail is one of the best hikes near Vancouver, BC. It’s also one of the most popular hikes in Mount Seymour Provincial Park. Part of the reason for it being so popular is that it’s an easy hike, suitable for all levels.
Dog Mountain is also aptly dog friendly if you like to hike with your pup! This hike takes about 2 hours and is a 5 km round-trip with minimal elevation gain.
This scenic hike will take you past lakes and nature with stunning metro Vancouver views along the way too. While this is an easy trail, do be careful of slippery tree roots. The entire trail can also become muddy and slippery if it has rained.
This trail is best between June and October with snow, rain, and slush likely to obstruct it throughout the rest of the year. You can snowshoe here though in the winter if it’s snowed sufficiently. It takes about 30 minutes if driving to reach the start of the hike from Vancouver.
Eagle Bluffs is a relatively gentle hike located in Cypress Provincial Park in West Vancouver. There are some steep areas of climbing, making this an intermediate level hike. In total, the hike will take around 4 hours, covers 8 km round-trip, and has an elevation gain of 350 m.
To get to Eagle Bluffs, access the start of the trail from the downhill ski area of Cypress Mountain. The hike begins with a steep climb up Cypress Mountain’s ski slopes. You’ll then reach Cabin Lake. Here, you can relax a little and even swim in the lake. The hike then gets easier from the lake to the summit of Eagle Bluffs.
At the summit, you can view Vancouver, Lighthouse Park, and Horseshoe Bay. This hike is also great for those that enjoy bird watching. You’ll be able to spot a range of species as you make your way to the top.
Eagle Bluffs is accessible July through October and is reached in 30 to 40 minutes when driving from Vancouver. The hike is also dog friendly.
Crown Mountain, located in Lynn Headwaters Regional Park, is part of the North Shore Mountains and can be seen from many areas around Vancouver. This hike is quite difficult, so don't attempt it unless you are used to more strenuous hikes.
The hiking trail covers a total of just under 10 km and takes about 5 to 7 hours to complete, round trip. Crown Mountain has an elevation gain of 385 m.
To access Crown Mountain, you have two options. You can start from the Lynn Headwaters Park entrance or at Grouse Mountain. To get to the summit at Grouse, take the gondola.
You can also reach the summit by doing the Grouse Grind. However, as this is a challenging climb, it's only recommended to do this in addition to the Crown Mountain hike if you're a very experienced and active hiker.
You'll find the entrance to the trail behind the Grouse bear enclosure (say hi to the resident bears Coola and Grinder before you start your hike!).
Along the hiking trail, you'll see many wildflowers and have fantastic panoramic views of the surrounding area. This includes being able to see the Capilano Watershed and the city of Vancouver in the distance.
The best time to try this hike is between July and October. The trail is quite snowed out for the rest of the year. The hike is accessible by public transport (to Grouse Mountain) and is about a 30 to 40-minute drive from Vancouver. Due to its difficulty level, dogs are not allowed on the trail.
The Whyte Lake trail is another easy hike near Vancouver that is located in West Vancouver. The walk takes 2 hours at most and covers 5 km. There is a small elevation gain of 160 m, and there is one slightly steeper section of the hike.
This scenic hike follows Nelson Creek through forests of Western Cedar and Douglas Fir trees. The trail has an old-world forest feel with bridges covered in moss and 100-year-old trees.
Once you reach the lake, you can swim for a relaxing cool off. Fishing is not allowed at the lake though. Once you’ve enjoyed the lake, retrace your steps back to the start of the hike.
This trail is open year-round and is dog friendly as long as dogs are kept on leash. Although not easily accessible by public transport, Whyte Lake trail is just a 30-minute drive from Downtown Vancouver.
The Elsay Lake Trail is a 15 km hike located in Mount Seymour Provincial Park. Although a hike around a lake may sound relatively easy, this one is quite difficult. The trail has a 420 m elevation gain and takes 8 to 9 hours to complete.
The best place to start is at Mt. Seymour Resort's summit. From here, the Mt. Seymour trail takes you up and past Brockton Point before you turn right onto the Elsay Lake Trail. There are eye-widening views back across Vancouver, but it's from here that things start to get tricky.
Amongst the many beautiful forested paths are several boulder fields. Huge, megalithic stones with crevasses in between that you could easily get lost in. Traversing down these treacherous slopes is an exercise in skill and determination.
You then arrive at the challenge of crossing Elsay Creek. Depending on the amount of rainfall in the previous 48 hours, this could be straightforward or virtually impossible.
To hike to the lake and back in a day is achievable, but you'd have to be an advanced hiker/climber and in excellent shape. It's best to take two days and spend the night at the hut on the lake's north bank. This hike is in the backcountry, so be prepared for all eventualities, including bears.
You can reach the start of the trail in 30 minutes when driving from Vancouver. It's recommended to try this hike between July and October. Dogs can accompany you if they too are experienced at tackling more challenging trails.
The Saint Mark’s Summit hike is part of the Howe Sound Crest Trail. This hike is intermediate and takes about 5 hours. It covers 11 km and has an elevation gain of 460 m.
You’ll start the hike from Cypress Mountain near the main ski lodge, simply follow the Howe Sound Crest Trail sign. This is a lovely hike with amazing views and lots of nature to see on the way, such as wildflowers and many bird species.
You’ll get views of Howe Sound as well as of the Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island in the distance (both of which are also great places for a weekend getaway from Vancouver and camping). Stop by the Bowen Lookout on the way to or from the summit for even more views.
The best time to try this hike is between July and October. It’s a 45-minute drive from Vancouver, but is not accessible on public transport. Dogs can join you on the hike as long as they are kept on a leash.
Pacific Spirit Regional Park offers some of the best and most popular hiking near Vancouver. The park covers over 750 hectares and is located on Point Grey. Specifically, in the west of the city of Vancouver near the University of British Columbia.
The hiking trails here are easy with minimal elevation gain. The main trail takes 3 hours and covers 10 km, but there are shorter trails if you want a quicker hike.
No matter which trails you follow, you’ll find lots of scenic forests filled with maple and cedar trees and a host of wildlife. You can additionally bike or horse ride in the park. If you feel like extending your trip, Wreck Beach is nearby at the west end of the park.
The park is open year-round, although trails can get quite muddy in the winter. To get here from Downtown Vancouver, it’s about a 10 to 20-minute drive, and you can also use public transport. Dogs are welcome at Pacific Spirit National Park.
This rugged backcountry hike isn’t very well-known, so you’ll benefit from fewer crowds here. The hike is intermediate and takes 5 hours to complete. It covers 10 km and has a minimal elevation gain of 150 m. There are a few jagged parts on the trail, and you may come across slippery and muddy areas.
One of the main features on this trail is the Big Cedar tree. This is a large Cedar Tree that’s over 600 years old. Be sure to admire the tree from afar due to erosion at the tree’s roots. Next, follow the trail to Kennedy Falls, a waterfall whose water cascades into Kennedy Lake and Lynn Creek.
Big Cedar and Kennedy Falls are a 30-minute drive from Vancouver. You can also access the trail using public transport, and dogs are allowed on leash.
This 126-hectare conversation area is made up of mudflats, salt marshes, and upland areas. Having no elevation gain, this trail is easy and short. It takes just 30 minutes to an hour and covers 2.5 km.
The conservation area is managed by the Wild Bird Trust of British Columbia. It’s a great bird watching location with over 200 species of birds inhabiting the Maplewood Flats. You may also see river otters and deer here too, among other animals.
This hike is also recommended for nature photographers. Be sure to stop at Osprey Point near the start of the trail to get scenic views of the Burrard Inlet and surrounding areas.
The trail is a 20-minute drive from Vancouver and can also be accessed using public transport. Dogs are not allowed on the Maplewood Flats Conservation Area Trail.
The Burnaby Lake Park Trail is an easy and scenic walk that takes you around Burnaby Lake. It will take about 2 hours to complete and covers 10 km with minimal elevation gain.
Burnaby Lake is the largest lake in the Lower Mainland and is home to lots of wildlife. You can see ducks, geese, and beavers among other creatures during your stroll. It’s a great Vancouver hike for those who like bird watching or are nature enthusiasts in general.
Be sure to stop and take a look at the Rowing Pavillion as you loop around the lake. Many rowing events, including the 1973 Canada Summer Games, have been hosted here.
Burnaby Lake is a 30-minute drive from Vancouver and is accessible using public transport. The trail can be used all year long, and dogs are allowed as long as they are kept on a leash.
If you’re looking for one of the best hikes to do in Vancouver, then you have to add Quarry Rock in Deep Cove to your list. Located a short drive away from Downtown Vancouver, it’s a very easily accessible hike.
The Quarry Rock hike takes around 2 hours and is a 3.8 km round trip. It’s considered an easy trail with minimal elevation of about 100 m.
Quarry Rock receives a lot of visitors every day, meaning the trail is well beaten and easy to walk on. The majority of the path is through woods, opening up towards an impressive viewpoint at the end of the trail.
Once you reach the end, you will get to enjoy a beautiful view of the water and the surrounding hills. It’s the perfect spot to just sit, enjoy the view, eat a snack, and recover from the first half of the hike before getting ready to head back.
You can get to Quarry Rock in 30 minutes when driving from Vancouver, or you can use the public transportation system. The hike is accessible all year long, but make sure to check the forecast and status of the terrain beforehand. Dogs are allowed on the trail too.
The Norvan Falls hike is an epic day hike. This trail takes you along Lynn Creek, through the forests of Lynn Headwater Regional Park, and ends up at the bottom of the beautiful Norvan Falls.
The hike is 14 km long and starts at the Lynn Headwaters Regional Park car park in North Vancouver. It is a moderately difficult hike that takes 4 – 5 hours to complete depending on your fitness level.
The trail starts as part of the Lynn Loop and then takes you along the banks of Lynn Creek. After walking for around 2 – 2.5 hours, you will arrive at Norvan Creek. On your left, there is a cool suspension bridge that takes you to Grouse Mountain. To continue to the falls, however, go right to arrive at Norvan Falls.
These beautiful falls cascade over a cliff edge and down into a pool below where you can swim. You can stop here as well to enjoy some lunch before making your return journey back.
Due to its proximity to the city center, this trail is usually quite busy. If you plan on coming here at the weekend, you will need to arrive before 9 am to beat the crowds and easily find parking. You can drive from Vancouver in 40 minutes, or use public transport. The Norvan Falls hike is open year-round and dogs are allowed on the trail.
The Capilano Pacific Trail is another popular hike in Vancouver. The trail is considered easy, gaining about 230 m of elevation and taking about 5 hours to complete. It covers 15 km round-trip.
The Capilano Pacific Trail begins at Ambleside Park and traces the Capilano River for 15 km until it reaches Capilano Lake and the Cleveland Dam. Throughout the trail, you’ll be treated to lush rainforest complete with towering trees and bright green mosses.
If the Capilano Pacific Trail is too long for you, there are two great alternative hikes in the area. First, there’s Capilano Canyon, which starts at the Cleveland Dam (where the Capilano Pacific Trail ends). This is an easy 2.6 km hike with just 100 m of elevation gain.
Second, there is the Capilano Suspension Bridge Loop, which starts at the Capilano Suspension Bridge parking lot. This covers 1.8 km with minimal elevation gain. There is a beautiful suspension bridge to cross and an observation deck, however, there is a fee to do this hike.
You can get to the Capilano Pacific Trail in just 15 minutes when driving from Vancouver. You can access the trail using public transport too. The path is open all year, and dogs are allowed to join you.
Goat Mountain is a less well-known option for hiking near Vancouver. However, this intermediate hike is worth a try. The hike takes 4 hours and is 8 km long, round trip. There are elevation gains of 300 m, with some small areas of steep terrain.
The hike begins at the top of Grouse Mountain Ski Resort. Take the Grouse Mountain Skyride to the top, and follow the signs for the Goat Mountain hike. This hike offers lovely views of Vancouver, the surrounding mountains, and Kennedy Lake. You can even see Mount Baker and Vancouver Island on clear days.
You can access the Goat Mountain hike July through October. It’s a 30-minute drive from Vancouver, or you can take public transport. Dogs are not allowed on the walk.
Lighthouse Park is a very popular hiking area on the shores of West Vancouver. The hiking trails here are easy, and there is minimal elevation gain. It will take you about 2 hours to go around the park, and the trails cover 6 km.
The park is an old-growth coastal forest and features large Douglas Firs that are hundreds of years old. You'll also get to experience great coastal views here, and of course, see the lighthouse which is a National Historic Site of Canada.
You can additionally get to the beach by going to Starboat Cove. Here, you can stop for a break and enjoy views of Lions Gate Bridge and Vancouver Island.
You can reach the park from Vancouver in 40 minutes if driving, and it's accessible by public transport. Dogs are welcome here as long as they're on a leash.
The Lions are a pair of mountains on the north shore of Vancouver. This hike is strenuous and has an elevation gain of 1280 m. Only seasoned hikers should tackle it as it takes 8 hours and covers 16 km.
This hike features a lot of steep, uphill sections. If you can handle the climb, you'll be rewarded with stunning panoramic views. You'll be able to see Capilano Watershed, the Howe Sound, and Bowen Island. There are also waterfalls along the way to enjoy and lots of forested areas full of Red Cedar and Douglas Fir trees.
This hike should be done between July and October. It takes 40 minutes to get to The Lions when driving from Vancouver. Unfortunately, you can not access this area using public transport, and dogs are not allowed.
Admiralty Point, in Belcarra Regional Park, is an excellent option for hiking near Vancouver. It's an easy trail with minimal elevation that's good for all activity levels. The hike takes just an hour and a half and covers 5 km.
Along with being an easy trail, you'll get to see lots of amazing views. You can see Burnaby Mountain and the Burrard Inlet from here. The hike also takes you through forested areas and along the shoreline. To extend the hike, keep walking past Admiralty Point to Burn's Point. Here, there's a beach and more views of the Burrard Inlet.
Admiralty Point can be accessed all year and is just a 1-hour drive from Vancouver. You can also reach the area on public transport, and dogs are welcome to join you as long as they're kept on a leash.
You can find a vast range of good hikes in Vancouver. From easy, minimal elevation trails to intense full or even two-day hikes, there's a hike for all activity levels.
No matter which hike you decide to try out, you'll get to enjoy amazing views and see Canadian wildlife like Canada geese and beavers. You may even see bears from afar!
This article was edited by Loredana Elena.
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