Pacific Spirit Regional Park: The Complete Guide

UBC Botanical Garden
••• UBC Botanical Garden in Pacific Spirit Regional Park.

 Getty Images/ Christopher Morris - Corbis

Forests, beaches, and wildlife can all be found in Pacific Spirit Regional Park. Free to visit, the expansive hub of outdoor adventure is ideal for visitors looking for a taste of the Pacific Northwest's temperate rainforest within easy reach of the city. Close to the University of British Columbia (UBC), Pacific Spirit Regional Park is a favorite place for students to escape the stresses of academic life with a run along the forested trails or a bike ride through the Park.

It's also close to major attractions such as the Museum of Anthropology, Beaty Biodiversity Museum, and UBC Botanical Garden, as well as stunning beaches such as Wreck Beach. 

Originally part of the UBC Endowment Lands, Pacific Spirit Regional Park was established in 1989 as a way to preserve the forested areas between UBC and the city of Vancouver.

Covering more than 1,800 acres and separating the university from the city, the Park stretches from the foreshore of Point Grey Peninsula (including the famous clothing-optional Wreck Beach) to the boundary of Vancouver where you'll find the beachside communities of Kitsilano, Jericho Beach, and Spanish Banks. 

What to Do

Forest trails cover 54 kilometers (34 miles) and are used by hikers, dog-walkers, runners, bikers, and even horse-riders. Hiking all of the forest trails in a loop will take around three hours. The park houses various ecosystems from beaches and forests to meadows, streams, and wetlands, so watch out for wildlife such as bald eagles, salamanders, snakes, and squirrels.

Most visitors come to the park for the secluded forested trails to ‘forest bathe’ and take in the evergreen trees from Douglas fir to cedar, hemlock, and Sitka spruce.

Many of the trails are dog-friendly and there are leash-optional areas, so it's a popular spot for dog walkers to bring their furry friends.

Watch out if you're cycling on leash-optional trails as you may encounter enthusiastic dogs running across your path. Dog owners should be aware that some sections of the park are dog-free on weekends and holidays, and Acadia Beach to Trail 6 is dog-free during the summer months (May to September). 

Facilities

There are a few portable washrooms located at the trailheads on 16th Avenue and on Wreck Beach (which is open from 8 a.m. until sunset). Trails are open from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. in the summer and from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. in the fall. Kitsilano's West 4th Avenue and Broadway streets are home to numerous places to eat and shop, so you can stock up on picnic supplies before your park adventure. 

What to Do Nearby

Close to UBC, Pacific Spirit Regional Park includes Wreck Beach and the Foreshore Trail, which stretches from Acadia Beach on the north side of Point Grey Peninsula to the marshes south of Wreck Beach. The entire trail is 5 kilometers one way with little elevation, but it is difficult terrain as you're walking on pebble beaches, so make sure you wear appropriate footwear. 

Nearby, at UBC, you’ll find attractions such as the fascinating Museum of AnthropologyBeaty Biodiversity Museum, and UBC Botanical Garden and its 310-meter-long Greenheart TreeWalk canopy course, and the University's peaceful Japanese-style tea and stroll garden, Nitobe Memorial Garden.

Combined tickets are available. Allow plenty of time to explore the park and visit some of the nearby attractions, as each one could easily take half a day to enjoy them properly. 

How to Get There

Free parking is available along 16th Avenue, but spaces fill up fast on a sunny day. Weekdays tend to be a bit quieter on the trails, so it's easier to find a parking spot. If you have an electric vehicle, there are two free charging stations available in the parking lot on 16th Avenue (west of Blanca Street) that have a two-hour time limit. 

The park has several access points, with the main forest trail entrances being on 16th Avenue between Westbrook Mall and Blanca Street, and at 16th Avenue and Sasamat Street.

Pacific Spirit Regional Park is accessible by transit with stops along Chancellor Blvd, University Boulevard, 16th Avenue and SW Marine Drive.