The natural beauty of Vancouver is arguably its most well-known feature. The downtown buildings are framed by mountains. Parks and green areas, both small and large, are strewn around the city, ensuring that fresh air and lush trees are never far away. Nine beaches provide a variety of vantage locations for viewing the Pacific Ocean sunset.
Vancouver, it’s reasonable to say, combines the best of both worlds: urban life with easy access to nature. Whether you’re a long-time resident, a newbie, or just passing through, you’ll never be short of outdoor adventure options in Vancouver.
All that’s left is to select the proper hiking path, with strong boots on your feet and a bag filled with the necessary supplies and safety equipment. In and around Vancouver, there’s a hike for everyone, from simple and accessible paths right in the city to hard exercises easily accessible by transit and full-day adventures just a short drive away. See our list of the top hikes around Vancouver for suggestions on where to go.
Now Coming to Top Hikes, Here are the Must Visit Hikes in and around Vancouver
1. St. Mark’s Summit, West Vancouver
St. Mark’s Summit at Cypress Mountain in West Vancouver is the place to go if you’re looking for the kind of satisfaction that can only be found by standing atop a mountain’s peak. The path begins off simple, but don’t get too comfortable: as you make your approach to the peak through a steep, technical trail, the challenge climbs considerably.
This trek has a total height of 460 metres, but the trailhead is considerably higher, so you’ll surely feel like you’re on top of the world. The route is typically well-kept; just expect to get a little muddy and hot along the way, but the views from the summit will make it worthwhile.
St. Mark’s Summit, at around 11 kilometres in length, is best walked during the summer months on a clear and bright day. Start early because you won’t be alone in pursuing the top in excellent weather. Weekends are usually less busy than weekdays.
2. Diez Vistas, Anmore
“Diez Vistas” translates to “Ten Views” in Spanish, and that’s how many you’ll see on this lovely trek around Buntzen Lake. In reality, it’s widely agreed that Diez Vistas has far more than ten spectacular lookouts with views of Deep Cove, the Indian Arm, Burrard Inlet, and even Vancouver Island. You’ll want to bring your camera with you for this one. Though only an hour or so from Vancouver, this 15-kilometer circle route will soon transport you away from the rush and bustle of city life.
Diez Vistas is a great climb for intermediate hikers who want a tough yet rewarding hike. Expect a steep ascent, since you’ll gain 440 metres of height during the trek. Although the route is well-marked, keep your eyes on the path ahead of you since there are some difficult root and rock parts that need you to be light on your feet.
3. Dog Mountain, North Vancouver
Make your way to Mount Seymour Provincial Park to tackle Dog Mountain if you don’t have time for a full day walk but still want a bit of a challenge and some five-star vistas. This walk is near to town and simple to access, which means it’s popular during peak season. While the views are spectacular, be prepared for crowds.
This trek isn’t especially lengthy, nor is it extremely steep, at five kilometres round trip (it climbs less than 50 metres in elevation). However, there are plenty of roots, rocks, and slick mud on this tricky path to keep your mind—and feet—occupied. On Dog Mountain, it’s a good idea to wear appropriate hiking footwear. On a clear day, views stretch from Vancouver and Howe Sound all the way to Mount Baker in Washington State. That’s not terrible for a brief trek after work!
4. Mount Cheam, Fraser Valley
Mount Cheam in Chilliwack is the ideal intermediate hike: 10 kilometres round-trip, 700 metres of total elevation gain, and the totally wonderful sensation that comes with summiting a mountain, along with gorgeous vistas of the Fraser Valley below. When you get a little farther out of Vancouver, the crowds of other hikers start to thin away. Choose a trek that needs four-wheel drive to reach the trailhead, and you’ll have a better chance of finding the peaceful isolation you’re looking for.
To get to the trailhead, you’ll need a solid car, and because we’re talking about mountain peaks, you’ll want to do this walk in the summer or early fall before it gets snowed over. Fortunately, that time of year tends to have the most beautiful scenery: Consider wildflowers and lush green pastures.
5. The Chief, Squamish
If you’re a glutton for torture, the Stawamus Chief should be on your hiking bucket list in the Vancouver region. It takes around an hour to drive from Vancouver to the publicly accessible Chief trailhead, but you’ll want to get there early on weekends, especially during the summer months, when parking can be scarce due to rock climbers competing for places. Rock climbers do exist on the towering granite face seen from the Sea to Sky Highway. Keep a watch out for them, but they’ll probably seem like little ants from below.
There is a well-maintained—though challenging—path that leads to the summit of the Chief for those who want to climb up via route rather than rock. In reality, there are three summits that may be climbed separately or all at once. Start early and make a point of visiting each one if you’re up for a challenge. The first peak is a four-kilometer round trek, but the distance, like the Grouse Grind, is misleading. The two-kilometer ascent results in a 500-meter rise in height. When you include the second and third summits, the total distance and height gain is around three kilometres and more over 100 metres.
6. Grouse Grind, North Vancouver
The Grouse Grind is exactly that: a grind. You put your head down and face the steep, unforgiving route, periodically looking up to take in the views and scents of the forest before continuing ahead. The Grouse Grind is just 2.9 kilometres long, but it rises 850 metres, making it a tough trail. The Grind brings you to the summit of Grouse Mountain, which offers a variety of attractions, including wildlife refuges and lumberjack performances. It is necessary to download by gondola, therefore have money for the return journey.
Despite the fact that the Grouse Grind is almost a rite of passage for Vancouverites, make no mistake: this is a difficult, technical path that should only be undertaken by well-prepared hikers in decent physical condition. It’s still the wilderness, despite the fact that many people trek it every day. Prepare ahead of time, dress appropriately, and follow all written regulations and seasonal closures.
7. Pacific Spirit Park, Vancouver
The paths of Pacific Spirit Park are ideal for all levels of skill and for those who don’t have time to get out of town but still want to enjoy the enchantment of the West Coast’s iconic woods, however they are more of a walk than a trek.
Stanley Park isn’t the only large green space available in Vancouver. Pacific Spirit Park is nearly twice the size of Stanley Park, with 1,885 acres of forest and pathways that separate the University of British Columbia campus from the rest of the city. Over 50 kilometres of paths go through towering evergreens that are lush at all times of the year. The trails may be reached from a variety of locations; a good place to start is between 29th Avenue and Imperial Road, which leads to largely flat, non-technical paths with names like Huckleberry, Hemlock, and Deer Fern that represent local flora and animals.
8. Norvan Falls, North Vancouver
The trek to Norvan Falls in North Vancouver’s Lynn Headwaters Regional Park is ideal for hikers seeking for a lengthier experience with a lot of bang for their dollars. The 14-kilometer round-trip path gives you plenty of opportunities to take in the breathtaking scenery, which includes cedar trees reaching to the sky, streams winding their way alongside the trail, and riverside views, to mention a few. The thundering Norvan Falls cascade, falling down into the creek below and surrounded by lush, unbelievably green woods, is the main draw.
Despite the hike’s length, the total elevation increase is less than 200 metres, making it a fairly tough choice in comparison to many other treks in the region, which frequently involve ascending a mountain. Norvan Falls is a wonderful option if you’re searching for a day walk with a lot of potential that doesn’t need you to summit a mountain.
9. Burnaby Mountain, Burnaby
Burnaby Mountain is a popular destination for locals and students from neighbouring Simon Fraser University who want a fast adventure close to home. The 1,423-acre conversation area has 26 distinct routes for mountain bikers and hikers to enjoy. The peak top, at 366 metres, is just high enough to get your heart racing, although the routes on Burnaby Mountain are mostly appropriate for beginning hikers.
A popular loop connects seven trails: The SFU campus, which links to Mel’s Trail, is where you’ll find Gear Jammer. Continue on to Dead Moped and Power Line Trail, then follow the simple Pipeline Trail to Nicole’s Trail, which is a little more difficult. After finishing the Poplar path, it’s only a short walk back to Gear Jammer. This loop has a variety of terrain, rises around 250 metres, and is slightly over five kilometres long, making it ideal for hikers looking to see the best of Burnaby Mountain.
10. Lighthouse Park, West Vancouver
The majestic Point Atkinson Lighthouse, which gives magnificent views of the Vancouver metropolitan skyline across the Burrard Inlet, is located in West Van’s Lighthouse Park, which has a number of groomed paths leading to it. Lighthouse Park’s paths meander through a grove of majestic Douglas fir trees and give great reward for relatively little work, with non-technical tracks and minimal gain or loss in height. You may get to the lighthouse in as little as 10 minutes if you follow the straight Beacon Lane Trail, or you can take your time exploring the park’s many other paths.
We’re confident you’ll find one to add to your list among the over ten hike excursions near Vancouver on our list. What is your go-to hiking destination near Vancouver? Let us know in the comments section.