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Hiking in Vancouver | The best hikes near Vancouver

Hiking in Vancouver | The best hikes near Vancouver

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Whether you’re travelling to Vancouver or you live there, there’s an almost overwhelming amount of options when it comes to hiking in Vancouver.

Over the past few years, I’ve been able to complete quite a few of the best hikes near Vancouver and I’ve put together my 10 best hikes near Vancouver. With so many places to hike in Vancouver narrowing the list to just 10 wasn’t an easy choice but I think this is a pretty solid list of easy and intermediates hikes in Vancouver. 

If you’re looking for even more hikes in Vancouver and around, then check out this list of the best hikes around Vancouver for more Vancouver hiking adventures. And, if you’re searching for fall hikes in Vancouver, take a look at my guide to fall hiking in Vancouver

The best hikes near Vancouver

Before we get started, it’s important to address hiking safely in Vancouver. Despite the fact that Vancouver is one of Canada’s biggest cities, you’re also right on wilderness’ doorstep and therefore must take precautions before hiking near Vancouver. 

These hikes near Vancouver aren’t to be taken lightly. You often won’t have phone signal, you may encounter bears, and it can be easy to get caught off trail.

Since these are some of the best hikes in Vancouver, they won’t be quiet. However, you still need to take every precaution as accidents happen even on the most gentle of trails. 

If you’re planning on hiking in Vancouver, then make sure you do the following: 

  • Always practice leave no trace ethics. Not sure what those are? Get a refresher here.
  • Refresh your memory about hiking save with BC Adventure Smart.
  • Leave a trip plan with a friend: let them know where you’re going, when, and when they should expect to her from you. That way if you get lost or stuck someone knows where and when to begin searching.  
  • Don’t leave home without your 10 essentials. They could save your life!
  • Search and Rescue is free in BC. Call 911 and ask to be put through to them if you’re in trouble. 
  • Hiking in Vancouver, BC means hiking in bear territory. Carry bear spray with you, particularly on higher elevation on North Vancouver hikes & West Vancouver. Get more bear safety tips here!
  • Wondering what to pack for Vancouver day hikes? Here’s a hiking packing list!

10 Best hikes near Vancouver

It’s extremely hard to narrow down all the great hiking trails near Vancouver to just 10!

These are the trails in Vancouver (& nearby) that I’ve either done multiple times or have great memories of the incredible views. 

1. Panorama Ridge, Garibaldi Provincial Park

panorama ridge hike garibaldi provincial park

Panorama Ridge in Garibaldi Provincial Park is without a doubt my favourite hike near Vancouver. 

It’s a long hike (around 30km) which can be done in a day as I did but is commonly done as an overnight hike near Vancouver.

This hike has everything, for forest trails to open meadows then up into the alpine for steep section until you come out at a view of Garibaldi Lake and it’s beautiful colour. 

Find out more: Hiking guide for Panorama Ridge

2. Joffre Lakes, Joffre Lakes Provincial Park

joffre lakes trail pemberton winter v2 (13 of 32)

Another classic Vancouver hike is Joffre Lakes. Joffre Lakes has been closed since March 2020 with no plans announced to reopen, but when it does, you’ll want to check it out as it’s one of the coolest hikes in the Vancouver area. 

We did the Joffre Lake hike in early winter and it was beautiful with a little snow on the ground and I’d love to go back in summer! 

How to hike the Joffre Lake trail

3. St Mark’s Summit, Cypress Provincial Park

st marks summit sunset (3 of 6)

St Mark’s summit is a hike I’ve done multiple times and enjoy every time. 

There are a lot of hikes in North Vancouver and St Mark’s is one of the most popular and offers some of the best views in Vancouver too. 

The St Mark’s trailhead is super close to downtown Vancouver (just 30 minute’s away), which means it’s a great after work hike when you just want some great views without travelling far.

Though a popular hike, don’t underestimate it. The trail is mostly well kept, but the last section is more technical with roots and rocks; make sure you’re wearing proper hiking boots or shoes to keep your ankles safe. 

Read more: Hiking St Mark’s Summit

 

Love hikes with lakes? Check out these beautiful lake hikes near Vancouver! 

4.5. Bowen Lookout, Cypress Provincial Park

bowen lookout date ideas hiking in vancouver

This is a .5 as it’s actually on the way to St Mark’s. Some people might skip the short detour to Bowen Lookout but make sure you don’t! 

Bowen Lookout is probably the trail I’ve hiked the most. For a short trail you get brilliant views. There’s one steep section but for the most part this is one of the best easy hikes in Vancouver to do. 

Read more: Bowen Lookout trail, Cypress Mountain (+Bowen Lookout snowshoe)

5. Mt Harvey

mount harvey summit vancouver

It was a hard pic between Mt Brunswick and Mount Harvey but this is one of my favourite North Vancouver trails!

I solo hiked Mt Harvey a couple of years ago and was blown away by the beauty of the last part of the trail and the Howe Sound views. 

Mt Harvey is a tricky hike. It’s steep through the forest for much of the hike and then there’s a bit of a scramble towards the end as you reach the summit. 

I recommend starting early as parking around the trail head (in Lions Bay is tricky).

Hiking guide: The Mt Harvey trail

6. The Lions

the lions hike vancouver (8 of 10)

Another of the ultimate North Vancouver hikes is The Lions.

The Lions starts along the same trail as Mt Harvey (and actually as Mt Brunswick below), but it much longer in terms of distance.

The Lions are the two mountains in Vancouver that you can see from various points in the city and on other hikes around Vancouver and they’ve given their name to many a Vancouver businesses and locations. 

This Vancouver day hike involves a bit of a scramble and this Vancouver trail is best reserved for intermediate hikers because of that and its length.

Most people don’t climb up the west lion, and I wouldn’t recommend it, the “shoulder”, or base of the lion, still offers great views of the Howe Sound and mountains to the north. We were even able to see Black Tusk over in Whistler! 

Guide to hiking the Lions trail near Vancouver – ultimate North Vancouver hiking trails 

7. The Chief, Squamish

stawamus chief peak 1 squamish hikes

The Chief trail in Squamish is a classic and though in some ways I prefer the Sea to Summit trail which is usually quieter, you can’t beat hiking a local classic (plus the ropes are fun!).

The hike takes you up to the top of The Chief, a giant granite rock that watches over the town of Squamish. It’s an extremely popular hike so it’s best to try and complete it on a weekday when it’s usually a bit quieter.

Hiking the Chief in Squamish all three peaks 

8. Lighthouse Park

lighthouse park west vancouver hiking trails

Compared to the others on the list, this is more of a walk than a hike but it’s pretty nonetheless. If you’re looking for easy Vancouver trails with a great view then Lighthouse Park is the place. 

Lighthouse Park is one of the most well known West Vancouver hikes and is a beautiful spot for a picnic or a walk to get some fresh air.

As the name suggests, there’s a lighthouse and there are plenty of rocky outcrops nearby to sit on and take in the views. 

If you’re a climber, there are some awesome climbing routes in Lighthouse Park too. 

Find out more about Lighthouse Park. 

9. Norvan Falls

frozen norvan falls in winter

The trail to Norvan Falls is 16km, but there’s little elevation gain which makes it a great easy hike near Vancouver. 

My hike to Norvan Falls was in winter and I got to see Norvan Falls frozen which was awesome and added a whole new dimension to what I usually see on Vancouver hiking trails.

Trail guide: Hiking to Norvan Falls.

10. Mt Seymour, Seymour Provincial Park 

mt seymour camping (2 of 2)

And last, but certainly not least, Mt Seymour three peaks in Mount Seymour Provincial Park.

Again, this is a Vancouver hike that I’ve done multiple times and pretty much in all seasons.

It’s one of the best viewpoints in Vancouver and the hike is challenging, but not so difficult you’ll be put off it. 

There are three peaks on the Mt Seymour trail. There’s First Pump, Second Peak – known as Tim Jones Peak after a valuable member of the North Vancouver Search and Rescue team, and Third Peak. 

First Pump is the one most people do, and can be hiked all year. I wouldn’t recommend going further in winter as it’s easy to lose your way and end up in dangerous avalanche terrain. But First Pump is a good choice for winter hikes in Vancouver.

This is one of the best Vancouver hikes for sure! 

Trail guide: Hiking and the best overnight hike near Vancouver at Mt Seymour

Which hiking trails in Vancouver would be on your top 10?