If you’re looking for an easy Vancouver hike with great views, the Lions Bay loop trail might just be the perfect hike for you! This easy, family-friendly hike near Vancouver has minimal elevation, a waterfall view and views of Howe Sound too. There are plenty of picnic benches and places to stop and enjoy the sights as you walk through the woods, so take some snacks for the trip!
The Lions Bay Loop trail
Lions Bay hiking trails are numerous but the easiest and most family accessible is the Lions Bay Loop trail. Thie easy hike with beautiful views and a waterfall makes a great sunset Vancouver hike and is ideal for family hikes near Vancouver.
How to get to the Lions Bay Loop trailhead
The Lions Bay Loop trail begins opposite the Lions Bay General Store. Please note you cannot park at the general store’s parking lot. There is some limited parking along the road, or you can park further up the hill. PLEASE pay attention to signs regarding parking, fines in Lions Bay can be HUGE!
Getting to Lions Bay from Vancouver is easy, simply follow the Sea to Sky highway north towards Squamish and Whistler and come off at Lions Bay Avenue Exit. Alternatively, you can take public transit from downtown Vancouver on the #250 or #257.
Know before you go
- Parking in Lions Bay is tricky and fines can be HUGE. See where to park in Lions Bay here.
- Always practice leave no trace ethics. Not sure what those are? Get a refresher here.
- Carry bear spray with you on all BC hiking trails. Get more bear safety tips here!
- Wondering what to pack for Vancouver day hikes? Here’s a hiking packing list!
- Refresh your memory about hiking safety with BC Adventure Smart.
- Don’t leave home without your 10 essentials. They could save your life!
The Lions Bay Loop trail hike
The trailhead for the Lions Bay loop hike is just opposite the Lions Bay General Store and Cafe. It’s a small narrow path on the right on a big wall that separates the trail and the Sea to Sky highway. Make sure you’ve checked all parking signs so as not to get towed or fined!
The trail here is called the Centennial Trail and it goes alongside the wall and crosses Alberta Creek before widening. The trail then enters a forest with a slight climb hiking up from, but parallel to, the highway. There is some traffic noise here but it’s usually not too bad. Enjoy the sounds and smells of the forest and take the left junctions to enjoy some seating areas with a view of Howe Sound. At one of the latter junctions, Arbutus Point, there’s a picnic table and a sign identifying the different islands and mountain ranges that you can see from the spot.
From the main trail, you’ll reach a junction with the Harrison Trail. For now, make a left turn to go down the wooden staircase and a few switchbacks before to come out of the forest at a road. From this point, the views only get better!
Cross over the road and into the gravel area, bear right and you’ll see the trail continue in the open above the highway. Walk all the way along this gravel path until you reach the road at the end: Crystal Falls Road. I loved the views of the water from here, and there were some flowers in bloom too when we hiked this trail in Lions Bay.
At this road, turn right and walk uphill until you reach a point where the road splits (like a ‘Y’ junction). The left fork goes across a bridge with some views of Crystal Fall. Look for a trail towards the right-hand fork with a small sign pointing to the Crystal Falls trail. This trail takes you uphill closer to the falls. The best viewpoint is on the left, just before you reach the water tower, where there’s a small bench to enjoy the falls from. You might have to backtrack a little bit to find the correct path if you go past is like we did!
Rejoin the main trail and continue uphill as it bends to the right. You’ll soon come out at a gravel clearing next to a road. From here there are even more views of Hower Sound (the perfect sunset-watching spot!) Continue hiking on the left, up the old gravel logging road also known as the Soundview Trail.
This trail goes uphill even further and reenters the woods. You’ll want to keep a lookout for junctions on the left-hand side and take the second one (the Harrison Trail) which takes you downhill and rejoins with the Centennial Trail that you started on. Go left when you reach this and walk back through the forest, back towards the General Store and cafe.
This Lions Bay map of hiking trails is useful to get an overview of the above.
Lions Bay Loop trail statistics
Know the essential hike details for hiking the Lions Bay Loop:
What to pack for the Lions Bay Loop trail
Make sure you look at these packing lists for hiking in Lions Bay.
More Lions Bay hikes
Check out these other Lions Bay hikes with amazing views!