If you’re looking to experience jaw-dropping snow-peaked mountains and sparkling blue alpine lakes, you’ve come to the right place.
Hikers from across the continent come to Vancouver to experience its incredible natural landscapes. Vancouver is packed with versatile scenic hikes meandering through the old rainforests with lush greenery or passing through an outgrowth of steep alpines.
Here are recommendations for 10 Vancouver hiking trails for you to discover:
10 Incredible Hikes in Vancouver
Here are the best hikes in Vancouver for both novice and experienced hikers:
Length: 10 km
Joffre Lakes offer picturesque views and relatively less challenging hiking trails north of Vancouver. The looming presence of Matier Glacier and towering mountains makes the place even more beautiful.
The trail runs for 10 kilometers covering three parts of the pure turquoise lake, incredibly pure and pristine. The trail begins from the lower part of the lakes. As you continue your hike towards the middle and upper parts of Joffre Lake, the trail becomes steeper and a little challenging. But overall, Joffre Lakes is a hiker’s dream destination (except it does tend to be very busy!).
TWIN FALLS AND THE 30 FOOT POOL
Length: 5.3 km
Lying in the northern suburbs of Vancouver, Lynn Canyon is home to some beautiful hiking trails, including Twin Falls and the 30-Foot Pool. The East side of the Lynn suspension bridge leads you to the breathtaking Twin Falls, while the northern side of the bridge takes you towards the 30-Foot Pool for a refreshing (but cold) swim. The trails have a minimal elevation level and take around one hour to complete. You can always stop midway for picture breaks and capture the astounding nature scenes around.
EAGLE BLUFFS VIA BLACK MOUNTAIN TRAIL
Length: 8.9 km
Many hikers label Eagle Bluffs via Black Mountain as the best vantage point on the northern shore of Vancouver. The hiking spot is perched high on the rocky bluffs presenting fascinating views of Howe Sound, Eagle Harbor, Bowen Island, Mount Baker, Point Roberts, and beyond.
The hike also allows you to explore the pinnacles of the Black Mountain and witness the beauty of Cabin Lake. Hikers also experience a beautiful passage through serene and green forests along with numerous subalpine lakes the entire way. While the beginning part of the trail is steep and tiring, the level ground makes it easy to follow.
THE GROUSE GRIND
Length: 2.9 km
If you are ready to undertake a grueling fitness challenge, the grouse grind is an ideal destination for you. The legendary hiking trail is popular for its difficulty level and the nickname “Mother Nature’s StairMaster”.
The incredible hiking sport at Grouse Grind involves climbing up 3000 stairs with an extreme elevation gain of 800 m over only 3 km. The trail is extremely steep and takes around 2 hours to complete the hike for an average hiker. However, hiking up the Grouse Grind allows experienced hikers to discover and explore backcountry routes. Once at the top, you can either hike down the way you came or catch the gondola.
Length: 15.1 km
Difficulty: Very Difficult
Brunswick Mountain towers high above all the nearby peaks and the Howe Sound below. It is reputed as the highest peak in the Northern Shore mountains. The ascent to Brunswick Mountain is a physically demanding hike owing to its starting point near the sea and an extreme elevation.
Tip: This route should only be attempted by experienced hikers, and you should pack the hiking essentials with you in case something goes wrong.
However, the towering peak offers panoramic views of the Howe Sound and other iconic summits, including Mount Harvey and the Lions. In addition, the scenic sights of Hanover Lake, Coburg Peak, Deeks Lake, and Gotha peaks from Brunswick Mountain are a worthwhile experience.
Length: 5 km
Dog Mountain is one of the most renowned hiking trails in Mount Seymour Provincial Park. The hike is relatively shorter and easier, with minimal elevation gain than nearby hikes with comparable views. However, the rocky and rooty conditions of the trail make the hike experience moderate difficulty.
That said, the trek is definitely worth the visit. The most prominent views from Dog Mountain, including Stanley Park, Mount Baker, the Fraser Valley, the Lower Mainland, and the Strait of Georgia, offer a spectacular display. The trail is also open for your canine friends; dogs on leash.
Length: 10.3 km
Mount Fromme might not be the best trail by most hiker’s standards, but it does offer an excellent workout and alpine views with little to no other people. The peak sits on the eastern wing of Grouse Mountain and sees considerably less traffic than the surrounding peaks.
It’s a perfect, serene spot for hikers who avoid the rush. However, the hike is challenging with a lot of elevation gain, some tricky-to-navigate sections, and uneven footing.
But the effort is worth it, as Mount Fromme displays impressive views of Coliseum Mountain, Lynn Ridge, Mount Burwell, and Mount Seymour.
Length: 9 km
Crown Mountain sits behind Grouse Mountain in Lynn Headwaters Regional Park. Jagged peaks of the mountain have an uncanny resemblance with the Crowns. The overall trek experience is incredibly strenuous and demanding due to its steep passage into the Crown Pass before you can ascend upwards (for a slightly easier option, consider Goat Mountain nearby).
You also have to hike the elevation variations twice, but all your efforts are worth it. The towering peak offers spectacular views from any other North Shore Mountain peak. This is my absolute favorite Vancouver hike on the north shore!
HALF NOTE HIGH NOTE
Length: 9.2 km
The Half Note to High Note Trail consists of an intermediate hiking loop at Whistler Mountain. The hike begins from the High Note Trail. You can hike up the mountain itself or take the gondola and save yourself a lot of elevation gain.
From the top, hikers take the opportunity to hike on the mountain and experience the majestic beauty of surrounding mountain peaks and the pure turquoise waters of Cheakamus Lake. Then, the hikers turn towards the north along with the Half Note Trail and cut across the mountain on their return to the lodge. The hike is an extremely rewarding experience!
LOWER GOLD CREEK FALLS
Length: 5.5 km
Lower Gold Creek Falls fits the bill for every hiker ferreting around for a short and easy hike experience. It’s ideal for everyone looking for a picnic spot with scenic views without putting much energy and effort.
Lower Gold Creek offers an easy yet lovely vision of two different jaw-dropping views of waterfalls, sweeping mountains, and green forests throughout the journey. Seriously, the water of the falls is otherworldly! Overall, the Lower Creek is perfect for families and novice hikers alike.
Here is a basic list of what to take hiking for the easier hikes.
- Hiking boots or hiking shoes (for the easier hikes, running shoes are fine)
- Optional: wool socks (they’re better at preventing blisters)
- Quick-dry t-shirt
- Quick-dry pants
- Rain jacket
- Water bottle and snacks
- Sunscreen and a hat
Pack the ten essentials for difficult hikes if you’re out there for longer than you anticipate. This includes:
- Food (emergency meal, I usually bring a dehydrated one)
- First aid kit
- Water purification (I use aqua-tabs)
- Insulation (extra layers, included above)
- Firestarter (a lighter)
- Lumination (headlamp)
- Emergency shelter (an emergency bivy, for example)
- Navigation (offline or printed map, compass)
- A satellite communication device (I use an inReach mini)
- Sun protection (included above)
Tips for Hiking in Vancouver
Cars vs. Transit: Most of the hikes on this list require a car to access; however, some can be accessed by public transportation. At the time of writing, the Grouse Grind, Crown Mountain, Mount Fromme, Twin Falls, and the 30-Foot Pool can all be accessed by bus.
Right of Way – Vancouver hikers tend to be really friendly, so to extend that kindness to others, pay attention to the right of way. For example, if someone needs to pass, the hiker going uphill has the right of way. Likewise, if you encounter trail runners, step out of their way, so they don’t need to change their stride.
Tell Someone Where You’re Going: Leave your hiking details with someone not going on the hike. Tell them when you’re planning on returning and what they should do if you don’t check in on time.
Pack Extra Clothing + Rain Jacket: The weather in the mountains can change very quickly. Even if it’s all sunshine when you start the hike, you should still pack extra layers and a rain jacket in case the weather turns. Hypothermia is possible even in the summer months! If you need a refresher, check out this post on hiking clothing.
Best Hikes in Vancouver – Bottom Line
I hope you’ve found this post both helpful and inspiring – and are excited to come out to Vancouver for some hiking! If you need a little help to narrow down the list, my favorite easy hike is Dog Mountain, and my favorite challenging hike is Crown Mountain. High on the list is also Eagle Bluffs and Lower Creek Falls!
Mikaela is the voice behind Voyageur Tripper, a blog dedicated to outdoor adventure. Through her online resources, Mikaela enables others to take longer and more challenging trips in the wilderness. She is currently based on the west coast, splitting her time between California and British Columbia.