Vancouver offers a fantastic balance of city life and wild outdoors. The natural surroundings are what draws many visitors to the destination.
While there are plenty of things to do in Downtown Vancouver, if you’re visiting the city you just have to get outdoors.
Hiking in Vancouver was one of the highlights of my trip, and I highly recommend it for anyone planning a trip to the city to do at least one hike.
During my Canadian road trip, I discovered just how awesome the hikes near Vancouver could get, and had to share my favourites with you all.
We managed to get to a good number of the nearby Vancouver trails, but there were still so many we didn’t see! This list incorporates both hikes we did and those we would have done with more time.
The hikes are separated into parks and areas, so you can plan to do a few in one go – if you’re energetic enough.
- 1 Deep Cove’s Vancouver Hikes
- 2 Lynn Headwaters Regional Park Vancouver Trails
- 3 West Vancouver Hiking Trails
- 4 Cypress National Park Hiking Trails, Vancouver
- 5 Mount Seymour Provincial Park Hikes Around Vancouver
- 6 Hiking In Vancouver’s Grouse Mountain Regional Park
- 7 Hiking in Stawamus Chief Provincial Park
- 8 Where to stay in Vancouver
Deep Cove’s Vancouver Hikes
Deep Cove is located around 20 minutes from Downtown and is home to a small community.
The Cove, as locals call it, consists of the bay, a small area with houses, restaurants, and shops, and some of the most scenic trail entries.
Quarry Rock Hike
The first hiking trail in Vancouver that we decided to brave was Quarry Rock. Despite the rainy weather and muddy paths, it was great fun. The misty woods just added to the beauty, and the view was breathtaking.
It’s classified as an “easy” hike and the terrain is quite comfortable to walk. Given the gloomy weather, we were surprised to find so many other hikers.
The hike takes around two hours and offers unimaginable views of the forest along the way.
Once you reach the end of the hike there is a beautiful lookout where you can sit and relax for a bit before heading back the way you came.
Baden Powell Trail Head
The extensive 48-kilometre trail runs from Deep Cove Bay to Horseshoe Bay while crossing the North Shore Mountains.
There are extreme hikers and runners that tackle the whole trail in one go, but it’s recommended to take it in sections for those looking for a less extreme experience.
Breaking this trail into three parts offers a much more pleasant experience, and allows you to tackle around 6 – 7 hours of hiking at a time.
The sections can be broken down into smaller trails, each offering their unique challenges and stunning views.
Although if you’re looking for a shorter section, there are trails like Brother’s Creek, St Georges, and Mosquito Creek that form part of the trail.
At the peak of your hike, you’ll reach an elevation of 1000-metres above sea level.
Be warned that this trail can be exceptionally dangerous during the wintertime, so it should only be attempted during Vancouver’s dry season (May – September).
Lynn Headwaters Regional Park Vancouver Trails
The largest of Vancouver’s regional parks, Lynn Headwaters is ideal for a day of exploring. It’s just 20+ minutes away from Downtown and is accessible for most of the year.
This is a popular place for locals and tourists alike, and sees a lot of foot traffic on most days.
Lynn Canyon Park
Our second Vancouver hike was Lynn Canyon, where we crossed the suspension bridge to explore some of the waterfalls and the riverside forest.
This wasn’t really a hike like the Quarry Rock one, as there was no ultimate goal or viewpoint we were aiming to reach.
While this route is not actually inside Lynn Headwaters, it’s a very close neighbour. Lynn Canyon is a municipal park with trails all around it. You can just walk around and immerse yourself in the local nature.
I know this is a weird thing to comment on but I was surprised at the number of plaques dotted around the park, noting how many people had died jumping off cliffs in the park.
It was one of those moments where you really realise how little control humans have over nature. And that we should be responsible and respect it – and the rules in place to keep us safe.
If you’re travelling alone, there are guided tours available. Enjoy a picnic and guided tour of Lynn Canyon with a group of friendly like-minded people.
If you want something a bit more adventurous than Lynn Canyon, then this should get your legs moving.
Lynn Loop is an easy 1.5 – 2-hour hike that is shrouded in large cedar and hemlock trees. Along the way, you’ll see a variety of old logging equipment as well as beautiful scenery.
This is a popular loop and is a great one for beginners. The loop will bring you back to the beginning of the trail after crossing over the rushing waters of Lynn Creek.
West Vancouver Hiking Trails
A short drive from Downtown is the municipality of West Vancouver. Passed the houses and shops are some fantastic hikes, providing tranquillity in nature and fantastic scenes.
Here are some of the top places to hike in Vancouver’s western region.
Another hike we enjoyed very much was Lighthouse Park. There are various trails that will get you from the parking lot to the lighthouse and the sea, meaning you can decide how long or short you want the hike to be.
After getting a little bit lost we eventually made it to the sea and the lighthouse. All the trails in Lighthouse Park are fairly easy. There are slight uphill or downhill sections but all the path is well marked and easy to walk on.
It is also really interesting when you reach the lighthouse as there are signs that explain the history of the place.
The Canadian hikes were a highlight of my trip, as they were very different from anything else I had ever done before.
But I wasn’t ready for the stunning views and imposing nature that Canada had to offer.
A bit further than Cypress National Park, you’ll find Lions Bay. Home to the well-known Lions Peaks that you’ll no doubt see from Vancouver city.
This is quite a difficult hike, and will take around 8 hours to complete. So it’s a full day adventure. I wouldn’t suggest doing this without someone who’s experienced, and definitely not if you’re not already an avid hiker.
But when you do conquer the hike, you’ll be rewarded with unparalleled views over the bay.
Cypress National Park Hiking Trails, Vancouver
Home to Cypress Mountain and only 30 minutes away from Downtown Vancouver, Cypress National Park is a must for hiking enthusiasts.
Not only is the park home to some of the best Vancouver hikes, but there is also so much nature to enjoy here. There’s an abundance of trails, ranging from easy to hard.But here are the top two for those short on time.
Eagle Bluffs via Baden Powell
This 8-kilometre round-trip hike takes around 3 – 4 hours to complete. It’s advised to wear proper hiking shoes for this Vancouver trail as it starts off with a bit of a scramble.
The ascent is quite steep in the beginning before the path evens out a bit. The scramble continues a bit further on as you make your way over the bluffs.
You’ll get the chance to enjoy stunning views over Cabin Lake, and even cool off in the water if you’re hiking on a hot day. The path is well-signed so you should have no trouble finding your way and sticking to the route.
St. Mark’s Summit
St. Mark’s Summit is one of the longer hikes to do in the area.
I’d suggest setting aside 4 – 5 hours of your day to take on this moderately difficult hike. The stunning views from a 460-metre elevation make the trek well worth the effort.
On overcast days you’ll often get views from above the clouds which not only make you feel accomplished but they provide great photo opportunities too.
The trail first leads you along steep ski runs before heading into the forest.
Near St. Marks Summit, you’ll come out of the forest to the end viewing platform. This viewing area makes St Mark’s Summit one of the best hikes in Vancouver for obvious reasons.
The viewing platform is well marked, however, there is very little signage along the way. It’s recommended that you download an app similar to AllTrails to make sure you’re on the right track at all times.
Mount Seymour Provincial Park Hikes Around Vancouver
Take a 40-minute drive from Downtown Vancouver and you’ll find yourself in the picturesque Seymour Provincial Park.
This place is a popular spot all through the year, attracting snowboarders in winter, mountain bikers in summer, and hiking enthusiasts in spring.
There are very easy trails found here, like the simple 2 km Goldie Lake, and harder ones that test your abilities. Here are the top picks for those looking for some moderate hiking.
The Mount Seymour trail is a 9-kilometre round trip that leads you over three different peaks. Each one provides you with slightly different, yet magnificent, views.
If you’ve got a fair bit of stamina it’s not a difficult hike, although it does take around 4 – 5 hours. It’s a popular trail, especially on the weekends so if you’re looking to avoid the crowds try doing it during the week.
Dog Mountain is a great hike for those who are looking to enjoy great views with less effort. This hike should take 1.5 – 2 hours. It’s just a 5-kilometre round trip and you’ll enjoy views over Vancouver Metro.
The best time to do this hike is in the early evening. This way, when you get to the top you can enjoy the glimmering city lights from above.
If you decide to stay past sunset, be sure to take a headlamp with you as the ground can be muddy and rooted. And tripping is the last thing you want to do on a hike.
Hiking In Vancouver’s Grouse Mountain Regional Park
Grouse Mountain Regional Park neighbours Lynn Headwaters, and is home to Grouse Mountain (as the name suggests).
It’s full of spectacular hiking trails, some of which are moderate, and others that present quite the challenge.
Nicknamed “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster”, Grouse Mountain is not a long hike, but it is a challenging one.
It’ll take around 1.5 – 2 hours to summit, with truly magnificent views from the top. If you’re hoping to keep your fitness levels up while travelling, this is a good way to do it.
This hike is frequented by some of the more competitive hikers and athletes. It has a Facebook community and you can even buy a timer card to track your time and progress.
If you’re competitive and fit, this hike could be the perfect one to add to your list of accomplishments. You can only hike up the mountain.
To go down, you have to take the gondola, at a fee. So if you’re not up to the hike but still want the views, you could also take the gondola up, and meet your group at the top.
You can buy an admission ticket to Grouse Mountain that includes rides up and down, as well as entertainment shows and activities. Make a day of it.
Hiking in Stawamus Chief Provincial Park
Stawamus Chief Provincial Park is around a 45 minute drive from Downtown Vancouver, and has some of the best hikes in the area.
We stopped at Stawamus Chief while on a roadtrip to Whistler but you can easily go there on a day trip from Vancouver.
Stawamus Chief has three peaks, all overlooking Howe Sound and the surrounding mountain peaks. We did the First Peak hike, a 2.2 mile return hike that despite being marked as moderate, we found pretty tough.
The hike starts with a very steep section of steps, and then maintains a constant gradient.
The trail isn’t well beaten and at times you will find yourself climbing over boulders, fallen trees and climbing up with chains attached to the rocks. The view once you reach the top is well worth the effort.
Where to stay in Vancouver
There are lots of cool places to stay in Vancouver, from which you can then easily go on epic hikes. I’ve listed below some accommodation options for every budget.
Luxury: EXchange Vancouver Hotel is one of the fancier hotels in Downtown Vancouver. It’s perfect for those looking for a little luxury to spice up their holiday.
Mid-range: O Canada House Bed & Breakfast is the perfect accommodation option for those looking for a home away from home. The rooms are elegantly decorated and have stunning views of the city.
Budget: Cambie Hostel Gastown is located in the heart of Downtown Vancouver. It has spacious dorms with a cool interior decor, as well as big communal spaces to socialise with other travellers.
Final thoughts about hiking in Vancouver
Whether you’re only visiting Vancouver for it’s lush nature and epic hikes, or you’re on a mission to see all there is to see, this city will mesmerise you.
If you want to go beyond Vancouver, there is also the incredible Wild Pacific Trail in Vancouver Island.
Have you hiked in Vancouver? Are there any hikes I’ve missed? Leave them in the comments below so we can all check them out!
Even if you’ve never been hiking before, I can guarantee you won’t regret doing an easy hike in Vancouver. If you’re looking for more cool hikes around Vancouver make sure to check out Panorama Ridge.