Vancouver Hiking is Something Everyone Should Enjoy

Vancouver seems to be the most profound and pleasing destination in North America for summer thrills on hills. The biggest appealing point for the hikers is the close proximity of the hiking trails due to which an escape into the lap of Mother Nature never seems to be so far. There are so many trails near Vancouver and different mountains it can be a little intimidating to try and find where to hike in Vancouver. Hopefully, this article will make it easy for you by highlighting the best beginner friendly hikes near Vancouver.

When it is the matter of where to hike in Vancouver, the convenience of getting on the trail of your choice is truly there. There are many tourist-friendly hikes, out of which many are beginner-friendly. Many of these hiking trails are quite popular on Instagram and other social media sites. This post is dedicated to four such beginner-friendly hikes to consider!

What You Need to Know about Hiking in Vancouver

The locals are passionately outdoor-loving and adventure-savvy people due to which many popular trails are full of cyclists and runners almost throughout the year. However, of all the adventures to experience here, hiking seems to be the most venerated. There are great beginner friendly hikes and advanced hikes, so everyone can find a challenging path for them. On top of this, most of the hikes offfer one of the best spots for lunch in town, their respective peak. So make sure to pack a lunch ahead of time to enjoy the view that much more.

The hiking season actually depends on spring and snowfall. If the snowfall is much, it can be restricted to October once it starts in June. You can expect to pass through trails that still have snow on their sides due to which they can be slippery and messy. In the winter, most of the trails are used for snowshoers. 

Another vital thing to know is that despite the cool urban vistas, several treks exist in the backcountry. Even in the summer, hiking through any of them calls for proper precautions. Make sure to always be prepared before going on a hike. You don’t want to be the person in runners with no water bottle or extra clothing. There is a bunch of pre-planning that happens before a hike. This includes searching to know enough about the hike, dressing aptly, and keeping your friends or family members informed as to where you are and when it will be over. You can even choose some hikes in the winter, provided you have good boots and durable winter wear.  

Top 4 Beginner Friendly Hikes and Where to Hike in Vancouver

Many tourist-friendly hikes take 2-5 hours of completing them, which also includes the return time. Thus, you can easily finish the ones that take up to three hours, within a single day. All of them provide stunning views. Let’s check them out!

Grouse Grind Hike

  • Nearby: North Shore
  • Length: 2.9 km
  • Elevation Gain: 853 m
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance from the City: 12.1 km
  • Time Required: 2 hours

For those who do not want anything too tough, this is the hike to consider. The Grouse Grind is among the most classic trails in Vancouver. The Grouse Grind is characterized by more than 2700 steps to the mountain’s peak. At this point, you will be able to enjoy the most breathtaking panoramic vista of the metropolitan.

It is also where you can explore a whiny bear shelter. However, just keep in mind that the Grind is a crowded one-way track. Thus, while coming down, you need to opt for a gondola.

The reason why The Grouse Grind is so popular is because of its ease of access. It can be accessed by bus from downtown. This makes it a very popular place for tourists to come to. Getting to Grouse via public transit is simple and highly recommended, due to its quickness and ease of access. Simply catch the SeaBus and get down at Lonsdale Quay from where #236 bus takes 25 minutes to get to the mountain base. To save money, buy a return ticket too if you are taking a single-trip Compass ticket. A lot more helpful tips like this are located on the Must See Vancouver Translink Guide.

The Stawamus Chief

  • Nearby: Squamish
  • Length: 3-4 km
  • Elevation Gain: 500-630 m
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Time Distance from the City: 1 Hour
  • Time Required: 4-5 hours

Regarded as the second largest granite rock on the planet, hiking on the Chief is perhaps going to give a matchless experience. On this single giant rock, three arched peaks are available to hike to. This is a very popular hike but it is a bit closer to Whistler. Still, it makes the list for where to hike in Vancouver.

While trekking to the lowest peak takes three hours, the highest one needs five hours including the return time. Yes, this is an exceptional trek for tourists that will take more than three hours round trip (assuming you are only going to the lowest peak). Each corresponding trail begins aside a park beside the Shannon Falls.

This is a globally popular rock climbing site. So, it is not uncommon to see several professional climbers here in summer staying in a camp at the base. You can even choose to be a part of a day climbing tour starting from the adjacent town of Squamish. The best part aobut the hike is that is it not simply just trail walking with elevation. There is also giant wooden stairs for the most part. On top of that, near the end you have to use a chain rope to help pull you up a rock. It is not very difficult, but it is a great time.

Mount Saint Marks Summit

  • Nearby: North Shore
  • Length: 11 km
  • Elevation Gain: 460 m
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Time Distance from the City: Half an hour
  • Time Required: 4-5 hours

Whether the weather is clear or cloudy, the summit of this trail is blissful. If clear, it gives unmatched views of the fjord, Howe Sound. On the other hand, if cloudy, it gives a feeling of being above the clouds.

It is the easiest hike as compared to other peaks even if the snow has just started to melt. Commencing at the Cypress Mountain parking area, it ends at the fjord’s trail. The hike takes you from ski runs with sheer areas, a beautiful forest, and over an elevated area across the steep twists.

From the parking lot, you stroll up to the Lion’s Express chairlift and then proceed as per the signposts. In some time, you will be asked to take east or west, of which you can take any route. At the junction, taking left brings front entry gate into the woods. From here, in some 20 minutes, an official park map is visible to make you reach your goal.

For those who are truly adventurous, hiking the whole Howe Crest Sound track is recommended, provided there is time of one to two days. Along with this track, they are likely to enjoy better mountainous vistas such as the Unnecessary Mountain and Binkert Lions.

When people ask me for my personal preference of where to hike in Vancouver, I am quick to recommend this one. It is not too difficult and has a great payoff. Just bring extra bug spray and your best boots. It can get muddy near the peak.

Dog Mountain Trail

  • Nearby: North Shore
  • Length: 5 km
  • Elevation Gain: 34 m
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Time Distance from the City: Half an hour
  • Time Required: 2 hours

Want to hike in snow? If yes, then consider this trail, as it is nearby from downtown, is easy to navigate, and takes only up to 2 hours to complete (including return trip). Locals prefer to take up this hike at least once a month as their adventurous outing.

Atop, a great vista of the city seems to captivate your mind. While a day view is magnificent, a night view is perhaps the most stunning one from this summit. It is important to note that this track can be rooted, rocky, and muddy. So, a night hike needs a headlamp apart from snowshoes.

In summer, you can enjoy the view of northern lights and showers of meteors. It is less recommended to take up this hike at the time of melting snow or after rainfall. This hike begins at the south of the parking area of Mount Seymour Ski Resort. Camping is only possible in the park.  

Hopefully, these 4 hikes will point you in the direction of where to hike in Vancouver. Cypress Mountain and Seymour Mountain are your best bets for beginner friendly hikes.

Packing the essentials for any trip

Going for a hike has become almost a way of life for Vancouverites. It’s a simple and easy way to enjoy the beautiful backyard of the city. Pair that with some quality time with friends and family and you’ve got a great day. If you’re looking for some hiking idea’s, use the wonderful Vancouver trails for an extensive list of where to hike in Vancouver. Last but no least, lets look at some essential hiking gear you will need.

  • Proper attire (you shouldn’t be hiking in bad shoes)
  • Extra Clothing (It can get cold at the top)
  • Sunscreen (protect your skin at all times!)
  • Water (As much as you can bring, always stay hydrated out there)
  • Phone (for taking pictures!)
  • Battery Power Bank (to make sure your electronics are always charged)
  • Bug Spray (a bunch of hikes will have plenty of bugs flying around)
  • Snacks/Lunch (It’s a great reward to have lunch at the peak)

If you enjoyed the guide on where to hike in Vancouver, check out our other helpful articles.

Hello There! My name is Oscar and I am the author and creator of this website. I have lived in Vancouver my whole life (42 years) and want to share some city tips with everyone. When I am not working I like to explore my town and the surrounding areas. My passions include hockey, hiking, and swimming! If you want to know more about Vancouver and myself, check out our ‘About Us’ page