The best Vancouver hikes combine exercise with gorgeous scenery and the great outdoors.
Hiking the Grouse Grind—a challenging 2.9km trail up the face of Grouse Mountain—is like running in the annual Vancouver Sun Run: It's practically a rite of passage for locals and one of the outdoor activities that epitomizes Vancouver athleticism. Hiking up is free, but after enjoying the top's spectacular view, you will have to pay for the gondola ride down, as the trail is one-way only. And the only way is up! Although you'll see some ill-prepared tourists trying to hike this trail in flip-flops or heels, it is a serious climb and should only be attempted by people who are at least moderately fit (and have appropriate footwear!).
Stanley Park Seawall
When it comes to urban Vancouver hikes, the Stanley Park Seawall is the most famous. Stretching 8.8km (5.5 miles), the Seawall loops around Stanley Park, running along the park's northern, western and southern coastlines. Fully-paved, the Seawall is an ideal pathway for hikers of all skill levels (including kids) and its route—with views of the city, northern mountains, and Lion's Gate Bridge—is undeniably beautiful. There are also hiking trails within the expansive park, which take in lily-covered lakes, forest pathways, and viewpoints such as Prospect Point (where you'll also find a restaurant and bar to reward yourself).
Lynn Canyon Park
Another favorite among locals, Lynn Canyon Park has its own, free suspension bridge, waterfalls, and an idyllic swimming hole—all connected by hiking trails. There are also longer trails that pass through Lynn Canyon, including the Baden Powell Trail, which crosses the entire North Shore mountain range. Trails have boardwalks and are dog-friendly so you can take your four-legged friend on a hike too.
Vanier Park to Spanish Banks
If you're looking for easy Vancouver hikes—hikes you can do with a stroller or young kids—a favorite is the hike along Vancouver's western coastline. Start at Vanier Park (home of the Museum of Vancouver) and walk along the water to Kits Beach, Jericho and Locarno beaches, and keep walking to Spanish Banks beach. There are paved walkways all along the shore, making this an easy hike for all skill levels. There are also numerous concession stands and washrooms along the way, which come in handy if you're walking with younger hikers who might need a couple of breaks to complete the waterside walk.
Top 3 Easy Vancouver Hikes
Just outside of the downtown core, there are swaths of forested areas and lakes that are easily reached by public transit (or by car if you have access to one). Designated trails range from a short stroll to a longer lakeside walk. For more easy Vancouver hikes in truly gorgeous settings, check out the hiking trails at these Metro Vancouver destinations:
Top 5 Scenic Hikes in Metro Vancouver
If you're looking for more of a challenge, then there are more intensive hikes to be found amongst the mountains surrounding the city. For intermediate hikers, these trails boast incredible scenery and make a perfect day trip from Downtown Vancouver:
- Al’s Habrich Ridge Trail - This 12km backcountry hiking trail starts at the top of the Sea To Sky Gondola then weaves through glacial formations, waterfalls, sub-alpine meadows, and the Neverland Lake. Always inform someone if you're planning on hiking in the backcountry or on more remote trails.
- Diez Vistas Trail - This scenic 15km trail wraps around Buntzen Lake, just north of Port Moody, BC and about an hour's drive from Downtown Vancouver. Check out Port Moody's craft brewery scene after your hike.
- Coliseum Mountain - Starting at Lynn Valley's Headwaters Regional Park (near Lynn Canyon Park, see above), this 12km trail has panoramic views of the valley.
- Eagle Bluffs - This three-hour, 8km hike on Cypress Mountain in West Vancouver has beautiful views of Eagle Harbour, Cabin Lake, and Black Mountain.
- Crown Mountain - Another local favorite, this 9.8km trail has some of the most spectacular views on the North Shore, including views of Vancouver and the peaks of Goat Mountain and Grouse Mountain.