Biking Stanley Park is a bucket list Vancouver item. It’s one of the best things to do in Vancouver and everyone should do it! If you’re visiting Vancouver and wondering about Stanley Park bike rentals and how to bike Stanley Park, you’re in the right place!
How big is Stanley Park? The park is often called Vancouver’s 1000 acre back yard. And, one of the best ways to explore it is to do some biking in Stanely Park. Many companies throughout Vancouver rent bikes and you can rent tandems too! Bike rentals run from an hour to several days.
If you’re visiting Vancouver and want to get the low down on how to go biking in Stanley Park, Vancouver or are wondering “how long does it take to cycle around Stanley Park?”, then here’s everything you need to know including where to hire bikes from, the few cycling rules and the costs of bike rental.
Biking in Stanley Park – What You Need to Know
Cycling in Vancouver is super popular. As soon as the sun comes out, so do the cyclists and that’s especially true when it comes to bike riding Stanley Park. It’s also one of the safer cities to cycle in thanks to a vast network of cycle paths.
Besides the seawall – a 28km pedestrian and bike-only path that goes from Canada Place to the far-side of the University of British Columbia and Pacific Spirit Park – there are numerous bike paths separated from cars, as well as quieter, bike-friendly roads.
I only cycled a handful of times in London (whilst fearing for my life) and cycling confidently every day in Vancouver, and riding my bike in Stanley Park remains one of my top things to do in Vancouver.
If you’re planning on cycling in Vancouver here are a few things you should know.
- DO: Wear a helmet; it’s just stupid not to.
- DON’T: Ride on the sidewalks. There are enough bike lanes!
- DO: Make sure you have a super-strong ‘D’ lock. Bikes get stolen a lot in Vancouver so don’t make your bike an easy target!
- DON’T: Ride the wrong way around the Stanley Park section of the seawall (more below).
- DON’T: Lock your bike up outside overnight.
How long does it take to bike around Stanley Park?
The Stanley Park section of the seawall is about 9km and takes between 1-2 hours depending on how often you stop to take photos. See below for more cycling routes in Vancouver.
Bike Rentals in Stanley Park
You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to bike rentals at Stanley Park. There are lots of options around the city, including several right near the park.
Bike rental near Stanley Park (Coal Harbour)
If you’re looking for Stanley Park bike rentals then chances are you’ll end up on the northern end of Denman Street in Coal Harbour.
This is where most people start their Stanley Park bike ride as you’re on the right side of Stanley Park to start cycling right away.
Spokes is one of the busiest Stanley Park bike rentals. It’s the closest rental place to the main entrance for cyclists biking in Stanley Park. They’re pretty reliable when it comes to renting some bikes and have a large selection.
- Price: Varies. 1-speed cruiser starts at $8.57 p/hour, tandem is $18.10 p/hour. A city bike is $10.48 p/hour
- Helmet?: Yes, free of charge
- Lock?: Yes, free of charge
- Address: Corner of Denman and W.Georgia
Another option to rent a bike at Stanley Park is YES Cycles. It’s just across the road from Spokes and tends to be a little bit quieter in the summer. They’re the purple building that’s hard to miss!
They do Stanley Park bike rentals and Vancouver e-scooter rentals too!
- Price: All single bikes start at $9 for 1 hour, $24 for 3 hours
- Helmet: yes
- Lock: yes
- Address: Denman and Alberni
Almost next door to the other bike rentals is Jo-E cycles that do, you guessed it, electric bikes for biking Stanley Park. They’re one of the better stores for renting bikes in Stanley Park if you need something electric.
- Price: Standard bike, helmet, lock and map of Stanley Park from $7 an hour. ebikes start at $28.99 for 2 hours.
- Helmet: yes
- Lock: yes
- Address: Denman and Alberni
Nearest Sunset Beach/Burrard Bridge
You don’t have to start biking from Stanley Park, there are bike lanes across the city so you can rent from somewhere closer to your accommodation if that’s better.
Bicycle Sports Pacific
This is the bike shop I take my bike to get repaired. They have a big collection of bikes and you can trust they’ll be in good condition. They’ll also give you a pocket map to help you get from A to B.
- Price: Varies starts at $20 for 2 hours
- Helmet?: Yes, free of charge
- Lock?: Yes, free of charge
- Address: Burrard & Pacific,
There are a few of these in Vancouver (the others being in Yaletown and on Granville Island). They’re also a proper bike shop so you can trust the bikes will be in good condition.
If you happen to have your own bicycle, Reckless bikes offer free air and oil while you’re cycling around Vancouver. Plus, if you need repairs, they’re offering a 24-hour repair service this summer.
Bicycle rentals also include a basket and map
- Price: Bikes: $18.50 for 1.5hours, $22.50 for 2 hours $41.50
- Helmet?: Included, free
- Lock?: Included, free
- Address: Davie Street & Marinaside, Horby Street & Drake, Fir & 2nd
Best Time to Visit Stanley Park
Summer is the best time to bike the Stanley Park seawall. It’s when the weather is most reliable (read: hopefully not raining) and it’s usually warm too.
However, this does mean it’s busy. As long as you’re not thinking you’re going to set a new record racing around the park, you shouldn’t find the crowds too bad. You’ll want to take your time anyway since the views are so good!
If you do want to go fast, then you can use the bike lane that’s on the road. This is a new Stanley Park bike lane that doesn’t follow the beaches but climbs up on the road to Prospect Point. There are fewer views on this route, but it is built for going faster.
However, the biking Stanley Park is great on any sunny day – even in winter. Just wrap up warmer and pack some gloves!
How Long does it Take to Bike Stanley Park?
While you can go around the whole park in under an hour, most people will take 1 – 2 hours to complete the Stanley Park bike route. This gives you time to stop and enjoy the views, spot seals and enjoy the ride without getting too out of breath.
Stanley Park Bike Tour
Since I live in Vancouver, I’ve never booked onto a tour of Stanley Park. However, if you’re just visiting or don’t want to bike Stanley Park solo, then a tour is a great idea.
Biking the Seawall – Stanley Park Seawall Cycle
Once you’ve got your bike rental at Stanley Park sorted, it’s time to bike!
While most people who cycle around Stanley Park in Vancouver stick to the seawall, that’s not the only place you can cycle! There’s loads of cycling at Stanley Park if you feel like venturing off the main path.
The famous Stanley Park bike trail is The Seawall; it’s the quintessential Vancouver cycling trip. Cycling around the seawall is the one bike ride you absolutely should do if you’re short on time.
On this Stanley Park cycling route you’ll get beautiful views of Vancouver’s beaches, Lion’s Gate Bridge, the North Shore mountains and the mountains of Vancouver Island in the distance along this Stanley Park cycle route.
Don’t forget to check out the Totem Poles too during your Stanley Park cycle!
- Distance: Roughly 9km
- How long to cycle around Stanley Park?: 1 -2 hours depending on how often you want to stop
- What you’ll see biking around Stanley Park: The Vancouver Rowing Club, great views looking back towards the city, the Naval Museum, the Nine O’clock gun, Brockton Point Lighthouse, Stanley Park totem Poles, Girl in a Wetsuit statue, Stanley Park beaches, Lions Gate Bridge, Siwash Rock (pineapple rock !), the Lost Lagoon, Stanley Park pool.
Vancouver Rowing Club
Vancouver Rowing Club in Stanley Park is Vancouver’s oldest amateur rowing club. It has unbeatable views of Coal Harbour and the city skyline and the building itself makes for good photos.
As a former rower, I love watching the rowers on the water and snapping some photos.
Stanley Park Totem Poles
Next up are the totem poles at Brockton Point. There are 9 totem poles and they’re said to be one of the most visited tourist attractions in BC.
The totem poles are made by the First Nations and are a great spot to learn more about, and appreciate, the history and culture of the Coast Salish people who are from Vancouver.
The Nine O’Clock Gun
Continuing on from the totem poles, you’ll pass the turn-off for the Vancouver aquarium and come to a bend in the path where the Nine O’Clock Gun sits.
The Nine O’Clock Gun is a canon that is automatically shot every night at 9 pm. It’s done so almost every night since the early 1900s. Originally cast in England in 1816, this canon proudly sits overlooking the city skyline.
You can go and sit nearish the 9 O’Clock Gun if you wish to see it go off. This is super cool in the summer when the sun is setting around that time too.
Brockton Point Lighthouse
The Brockton Point Lighthouse is a small red and white lighthouse that juts out into the ocean and offers amazing views of the North Shore Mountains. See if you can spot the gondola going up Grouse Mountain!
Girl in a Wetsuit Statue
The Girl in a Wetsuit is a life-size 1972 bronze sculpture of a woman in a wetsuit. It’s on a rock in the water just on from the lighthouse. Some say it’s a replica of Copenhagen’s Mermaid statue but this has been debunked by the artist.
Lions Gate Bridge
As you cycle from Brockton Point around the seawall, the Lions Gate Bridge dominates the skyline; you honestly can’t miss it!
This suspension bridge opened in 1938 and is the gateway to the mountains and all the activities that Vancouverites love! Lion’s Gate Bridge looks great in dark green and is perhaps even better when lit up at night.
Siwash Rock is another of the iconic sites when biking the Stanley Park seawall. I like to call it pineapple rock since it’s a tall and narrow rocky outcrop and has a small tree growing from the top.
Third Beach is a popular beach in Stanley Park and looks straight out across the Burrard Inlet. Tuesday Nights in the summer is where the Third Beach drumming circle takes place. It’s quite a sight to watch as hundreds gather on the beach for a party.
Second Beach & Second Beach Pool
Second Beach is another beautiful Stanley Park beach. Since there’s more parking near here, this one tends to be busier than the third beach. One of the coolest parts about this beach is the outdoor pool right next to it!
Stanley Park Brewing
Just past Stanley Park pool (Second Beach Pool), you can make a stop at Stanley Park beer for refreshments, snacks and watch the tennis! Stanley Park brewery fills up quickly when the weather is nice so it’s best to reserve.
They also have a refreshments stand where you can get some popcorn and soft drinks.
Other Stanley Park Bike Routes
Here are some other biking routes in Stanley Park for you to enjoy if you’ve done the seawall and are looking for more.
The Seawall + Prospect Point, Stanley Park
Adding Prospect Point to your route while biking Stanley Park is something I’d highly recommend. It’s a little bit of an uphill climb but the views from the top are some of the best in the city.
To get to Prospect Point, cycle around the sea wall and look for the signs pointing you to the left as you begin to approach the Lions Gate bridge. This spot is particularly good at sunset.
Biking at Stanley Park: The Stanley Park Trails
There are miles of Stanley Park bike path trails inside the park too that few people explore. Inside you’ll spot numerous birds, perhaps a raccoon, squirrels and see so many massive trees!
Bridle Path takes you from Second Beach up to Prospect Point, whilst the Lake Trail takes you past Beaver Lake which is featured in 50 Shades of Grey.
This map of Stanley Park bike routes shows you which trails are suitable for both bikes and pedestrians. If you’ve hired a single-speed bike you’ll be better off sticking to the seawall while cycling in Stanley Park as some of these trails are a bit steeper and rougher on the tires.
Things to know about Stanley Park biking on the seawall and Stanley Park rules
Before you go biking in Stanley Park, it’s important to read the following.
This will minimize the chance of you getting in a bike crash, or getting shouted at by a local in lycra trying to beat their Strava PB.
- There are two lanes on the seawall bike route. The path on the right is for pedestrians (who can walk around the park in both directions). The one of the left is for cyclists, rollerbladers and skateboards. These are clearly labelled so make sure you stay in the bike path.
- If you want to stop and look at the view don’t do so whilst you’re still on the bike path. The seawall in Stanley Park gets very busy so be considerate and move yourself and your bike out of the way.
- If you’re biking in the park in a group don’t take up the whole path, try and stick to the right so people can pass you on the left.
- There are certain sections where you’ll see a sign asking you to dismount.
- The Stanley Park section of the seawall only allows bikes to go around it anti-clockwise. This means you got from Coal Harbour up to the Brockton Point lighthouse and then down to English Bay. If you go towards Stanley Park from English Bay you’ll be directed to the eastern side of the park at the Lost Lagoon – the signs are pretty easy to follow! 🙂
What to pack for your Stanley Park bike ride
- Raincoat: Before going on your cycle around Stanley Park, make sure you check the weather. It rains a lot here, so you’ll want to make sure you’ve got a lightweight raincoat if the clouds are rolling in!
- Reuseable water bottle: (I like these!). Take a big reusable water bottle with you. Cycling Stanley Park can be thirsty work! There are water fountains dotted along the seawall so you can refill your bottle for free.
- A camera/your phone: As if you’d leave without one, right? You’re going to want to take photos as you cycle around the park – it’s beautiful!
- Comfortable clothes
- Good shoes: Ideally not flip flops/sandals. You’ll be able to feel the pedals through the soles of these shoes and that’s just not that comfortable!