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21 Vancouver hikes: The best hikes in Vancouver, North Vancouver & West Vancouver

21 Vancouver hikes: The best hikes in Vancouver, North Vancouver & West Vancouver

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In case you’d hadn’t realised by now, one of my favourite things to do is go hiking and luckily there are SO many Vancouver hikes and hikes near Vancouver, BC that I can get to within 30 minutes or less of driving. Well, I say “lucky” but ultimately it’s this kind of thing that led us to moving to Canada over 3 years ago. If you’re planning to go on a Vancouver hike, check out this list of some of the best Vancouver hikes with everything from easy Vancouver hikes to the more strenuous ones. These hikes around Vancouver are all within a 30-minute drive of downtown so they’re perfect as options for day hikes in Vancouver!

NEW 2021 UPDATE!
From July 22-Oct 22 you will need a day pass to access popular BC parks, including Garibaldi Provincial Park, Berg Lake, Joffre, Golden Ears & The Chief (including the Sea to Summit trail). The passes are free and available from 7am on the day before your visit. All details & information here. Day-use passes are not required for evening visits, which is after 4pm at Garibaldi, Golden Ears, Mount Robson or Stawamus Chief, or after 7pm at Joffre Lakes.

best hikes near vancouver bc canada pin

Best Vancouver hikes

Below I’ve included a list of Vancouver’s best hikes. There’s something for everyone on this list which includes easy hikes in Vancouver and difficult hikes with amazing views. There are waterfalls, forests and some unusual hikes in Vancouver, Canada too! If you’re looking for more lakes near Vancouver you can hike to, check out my guide to the best lakes in Vancouver

Know before you go hiking in Vancouver, BC

  • Check that the trail is open and the latest trail conditions. 
  • Always practice leave no trace ethics. Not sure what those are? Get a refresher here.
  • 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!
  • Choose quieter trails, particularly nowadays. Hike early morning or mid-week if you can. 
  • Refresh your memory about hiking save with BC Adventure Smart.
  • Don’t leave home without your 10 essentials. They could save your life!

Easy hikes in Vancouver

If you’re looking for easy hikes near Vancouver, take a look at the hikes below. These Vancouver trails are either short, don’t have much elevation or both! They’re some of my favourite places to explore on a rainy day or mid-week when I don’t want to have to drive too far. 

Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge & Park

twin falls lynn canyon best fall trails

Another option for hikes close to Vancouver is Lynn Canyon Park. This was one of the first places we explored when we moved to Vancouver. This great alternative to Capilano Suspension Bridge is free, has a beautiful suspension bridge of its own and many trails to explore too. It’s also one of the best hikes near Vancouver for families and kids. 

One of the best loops is to park by the suspension bridge, cross over and then walk left towards the 30ft Pool. From here, loop back along the road via Pipe Bridge or End of the Line General Store (ice cream & cool drinks!), or take another trail.

Read more about Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge

Distance: 2km+ depending on route taken
Elevation:
91m
Trailhead:
Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre

Whyte Lake

whyte lake hiking trails near vancouver

Whyte Lake is another great rainy day hike near Vancouver by walking some West Vancouver trials. You spend much of the hike in the forest as you take a gentle climb up to Whyte Lake itself. The lake here isn’t great for swimming (it’s possible though), but it does have a nice little jetty where you can sit and picnic before heading back. Whyte Lake can easily be done as a loop trail if you’re not a fan of walking back exactly the same way.

This is a great option if you’re looking for dog-friendly hikes near Vancouver too! 

Distance: 6.6km
Elevation:
288m
Trailhead:
Whyte Lake Trailhead, West Vancouver

Lighthouse Park

hiking in lighthouse park vancouver

Popular with hikers and climbers alike, Lighthouse Park is a beautiful little park in West Vancouver. This park offers many a hike in West Vancouver with minimal elevation. While there’s the main trail that will take you directly to the lighthouse, it’s worth exploring the side trails too as there’s a Vancouver secret waiting for you. It’s one of the best hikes around Vancouver for sunset watching as well!

Distance: 4km (depending on the route taken, this is for the longest)
Elevation:
186m
Trailhead:
Lighthouse Park parking lot

Cypress Cabins

cypress mountain log cabins (1 of 1)-2

Best in the winter, the Cypress cabins are absolutely gorgeous when surrounded by snow. The cabins are privately owned and not available to rent, but you can still admire then from the trail. The trail ends by coming out at the Hollyburn ski area and from there you can extend your hike around some of the lakes, or head back down.

How to find the Cypress Mountain cabins.

Trailhead: Cypress Bowl Road

Cleveland Dam

things to do in vancouver when it rains

Cleveland Dam and the surrounding trails are a great option for an easy hike near Vancouver and one of my favourite places to walk in Vancouver. And it’s a great option for Vancouver walks on a rainy day. You can make your hike as long or as short as you want but I recommend walking down to the salmon hatchery (especially in September when you can see the salmon run!), before looping back up to the parking lot. 

Parking at Cleveland Dam is free and you’ll get amazing views of the surrounding mountains, the reservoir and the dam itself; it’s very impressive!

Distance: 2km+ 
Elevation:
around 100m
Trailhead:
Cleveland Dam parking lot

Pacific Spirit Park

Pacific Spirit Park out by UBC, is a place that many Vancouverites forget about when they’re looking to go hiking but it offers some of the best walks in Vancouver. These dog-friendly hiking trails near Vancouver are perfect when you just want to head out for a few hours. There are hundreds of kilometres of trails to explore, some with stairs and steeper gradients, and others pretty much flat. Plus, you’re not far from a coffee shop if you want to grab one before or after your hike! 

Trailhead: Any of the entry points to the park

Stanley Park inner trails

stanley park trails-2

It always surprises me just how quiet the Stanley Park trails are. While most people stick to the seawall running around the perimeter of the park, the trails go forgotten and they’re actually my favourite part of the whole park. If you’re looking for short hikes in Vancouver, you can’t go wrong with a lap inside Stanley Park.

I love walking past the Lost Lagoon and up to Beaver Lake, uphill to Prospect Point and then down the trails back to the Lagoon. It’s great for trail running in Vancouver if you’re into that too as nothing is too steep or uneven. It’s one of the best easy hikes in Vancouver, that’s for sure! There are loads of walking trails here and make sure to keep an eye open for racoons, beavers and river otters who live around here! 

Trailhead: West End, Vancouver

Whytecliff Park

Whytecliff Park is a well-known place to scuba dive near Vancouver and it’s got some quick easy trails too. It’s a great place for easy West Vancouver hikes. Dogs are allowed on a leash and you can either hike down to the beach and island, or head into the forest for Upper Whytecliff Park. 

Read more about Whytecliff Park hikes.

Distance: 1km, beach trail slightly shorter
Elevation:
< 54m
Trailhead:
Whytecliff Park

Bowen Lookout

bowen lookout date ideas hiking in vancouver

One of my absolute favourite viewpoint in Vancouver when I just want a quick hike of around an hour. Bowen Lookout in Cypress Mountain Provincial Park is an easy hike with a short section of steep incline. This Cypress hike has views that are well worth the effort as you’ll be looking out on to Bowen Island (hence the name) and Howe Sound. You can continue from here on to St Mark’s Summit (below) for a longer hike.

Read more about Bowen Lookout

Distance: 4.2km
Elevation:
150m
Trailhead:
Cypress Mountain ski area

Intermediate hikes in Vancouver

These Vancouver area hikes are a little bit harder than those above. This means they had some more elevation, are longer, or have more uneven terrain which might make it more tricky for some. 

Quarry Rock

hiking quarry rock deep cove

The ever-popular Quarry Rock hike in Deep Cove definitely isn’t a quiet hike. It does have a great view of the cove, and Indian Arm at the end though. If you’re going to hike the Quarry Rock trail go early and go mid-week to avoid the crowds. 

While the trail doesn’t have a lot of elevation and is short, I’ve put it in the moderate section as people tend to underestimate it. Due to its popularity, people assume it’s super easy and try attempting it in flip flops and heels (yes, really I’ve seen this). Be aware that this trail is rough as with most forested hikes in Vancouver. There are tree roots and stones and areas of elevation which you should bear in mind before going. 

Learn more about hiking Quarry Rock.

Distance: 3.7km
Elevation:
194m
Trailhead:
Deep Cove

Dog Mountain 

dog mountain best fall hikes near vancouver

Dog Mountain is another classic Vancouver trail. Starting at the base of the Mt Seymour ski area, this hike has minimal elevation and has some stunning views of Downtown Vancouver and the mountains around Vancouver at the end. Dog Mountain is a great snowshoe trail in winter too as the avalanche risk is pretty low and it’s well marked. So check it out if you’re looking for the best winter hikes in Vancouver.

While many will put this under “easy Vancouver hikes”, again there is some elevation here and it’s not the easiest terrain to walk on the whole time. It does start with a paved trail but quickly turns into more uneven terrain.

Read more about hiking Dog Mountain.

Distance: 4.5km
Elevation:
157m
Trailhead:
Mt Seymour ski area

Looking for fall hikes in Vancouver? Here’s a great list! 

Norvan Falls

norvan falls frozen in winter hiking near vancouver

For longer North Vancouver hiking trails check out Norvan Falls. Whilst longer, the Norvan Falls hike is predominantly flat and so I’ve put it as a moderate hike. This 17km out and back trail through the woods is one of the best hikes in North Vancouver and one of the best waterfall hikes in Vancouver too.

I did the Norvan Falls during winter and got to see the frozen waterfall which was amazing! It’s definitely a great place to get in some winter hikes in Vancouver. I’d love to go back in summer and enjoy a refreshing dip at the end of the hike! 

Read more about hiking Norvan Falls.

Distance: 16.7km
Elevation:
418m
Trailhead:
Lynn Headwaters

Big Cedar & Kennedy Falls trail

big cedar and kennedy falls trail

For another North Shore hike, check out this waterfall hike near Vancouver to Big Cedar and Kennedy Falls. Say “hi” to the Big Cedar tree (you can’t miss it!) as you hike through the forest and carry on for the last few kilometres until you reach Kennedy Falls.

Read more about the Big Cedar & Kennedy Falls Hike.

Distance: 9.3km
Elevation:
422m
Trailhead:
Mt Fromme parking lot

Brother’s Creek Loop Trail

hiking brothers creek west vancouver trail

A new to me trail, Brother’s Creek Loop is a great option if you’re looking for a moderate hike near Vancouver or hikes in West Vancouver. There are loads of trails in and around this area and the Brother’s Creek Loop trail takes you up to Blue Gentian Lake within Cypress Provincial Park before heading back down the mountain. You can make this trail shorter by coming down on Baden Powell. It’s a popular trail with dog walking companies during the week since it’s one of the fantastic dog friendly hikes in Vancouver.

Distance: 6km+ depending on the route taken
Elevation:
400-500m
Trailhead:
Millstream road

Eagle Bluffs

hiking eagle bluffs near vancouver

Another popular Cypress Mountain area hike is Eagle Bluffs. Eagle Bluffs starts off with a very steep incline but it settles down after that. Once you’ve climbed up to Black Mountain you can enjoy the sights of Cabin Lake before carrying on to Eagle Bluffs. At the end of the trail, you’ll get awesome views of downtown Vancouver and, on a clear day, Vancouver Island too.

Read more about hiking Eagle Bluffs

Distance: 8.2km
Elevation:
435m
Trailhead:
Cypress Mountain ski area

St Mark’s Summit

st marks summit sunset (3 of 6)

St Mark’s Summit begins at the ski area for Cypress Mountain and follows the same trail as to Bowen Lookout (above). It’s one of the top hikes in Vancouver. The hike starts off pretty easy as it follows a gravel trail which is easy underfoot. Towards the end, it gets a bit more tricky with more uneven terrain. At the end of the St Mark’s Summit trail, there are incredible viewpoints of the Howe Sound and out to the Sunshine Coast

Read more about hiking St Mark’s Summit.

Distance: 10.8km
Elevation:
605m
Trailhead:
Cypress Mountain ski area

Hollyburn Mountain

view of the lions from hollyburn mountain vancouver trails

Hollyburn Mountain has amazing views at the end of The Lions hike and the surrounding mountains for a relatively short hiking distance. The trail starts from the Nordic ski area on Cypress Mountain and climbs up past a few lakes to the summit. 

Alternatively, you can do this trail from the Cypress Bowl area too. 

Distance: 6.9km
Elevation:
415m
Trailhead:
Hollyburn/Nordic ski area

Read more about the Hollyburn Mountain hike.

Difficult hikes in Vancouver

These hikes in the Vancouver area involve steeper climbs, are harder to navigate or are just longer. If you’ve got some hiking experience and are relatively fit you shouldn’t find them too tricky.

Mt Strachan loop

One of the quieter hikes in the Cypress Mountain ski area, Mt Strachan isn’t difficult when it comes to hiking, but finding your way can be a little trickier. I recommend taking a map, or using the AllTrails app to navigate just to make sure you’re going the right way. It can be done as a loop trail which makes it more interesting, and keep your eye open for the remains of a plane crash in the woods!

At the top of Mt Strachan, you should get great views out to Vancouver. I say should because the day I hiked it you couldn’t seem a bloomin’ thing! 

Read more about hiking Mt Strachan trail

Distance: 6.9km
Elevation:
565m
Trailhead:
Cypress Mountain ski area

Mt Seymour – All 3 Peaks

mt seymour camping (2 of 2)

The Mt Seymour trail is one of my favourite local trails. You can make it short or long depending on how you’re feeling. For a shorter trail hike to first peak (First Pump), and for a longer, more challenging trail, hike all the way to Mt Seymour itself. 

The terrain is often uneven and there are some narrow trails between the 2nd and 3rd peak that can be a bit scary, especially if it’s icy. The trail is exposed (to the sun) for much of the way so be sure to take plenty of water (more than you think), a hat and sunscreen too. 

Camping is permitted once you’re north of the ski area making Mt Seymour one of the best overnight hikes near Vancouver. 

Read more about camping on Mt Seymour. 

Distance: 8.2km
Elevation:
577m
Trailhead:
Mt Seymour ski area

Grouse Grind

One of the short hikes near Vancouver, but no means easy, the Grouse Grind is one of the classic Vancouver hiking trails. It’s definitely more of a workout than a beautiful hike. People of all abilities do it, some go up and down multiple times a day. I’ve listed it as difficult as, if you’re anywhere near as competitive as me, you’ll find it hard to resist pushing yourself to get to the top as quick as you can. 

The Grouse Grind in Vancouver takes you up almost 800m in just under 3km so that’ll give you some idea of how steep it is! You can’t come down the Grouse Grind so descend via the Grouse Mountain gondola or the BCMC (a nearly identical trail). If you’re planning on staying up on Grouse Mountain for a while, check out these things to do on Grouse Mountain in summer. 

Everything you need to know about hiking the Grouse Grind.

Distance: 2.9km
Elevation:
789m
Trailhead:
Bottom of Grouse Skyride. Need to pay for parking.

Crown Mountain

A difficult hike with a scramble at the end and amazing views, Crown Mountain starts by either taking the Grouse Grind or the gondola to Grouse Mountain. The mountain gets its name from the jagged rocks on the peak which resemble a crown. It towers above the other nearby mountains and the most difficult aspect of the trail is that you have to hike down a steep trail to Crown Pass before hiking up again. Therefore you’re doing most of the elevation change twice over!

Distance from top of Skyride: 8.9km
Elevation from top of Skyride:
870m
Trailhead:
Bottom of Grouse Skyride. Need to pay for parking & to use gondola. 

Baden Powell Trail – the whole trail

hiking baden powell trail west vancouver

The Baden Powell trail runs for 48km between Deep Cove and Horseshoe Bay. There’s no camping on the Baden Powell Trail permitted so you’ll either have to run it or do it in sections over the course of several days. Most sections are easily accessible by public transport so you don’t need to worry about driving yourself.

The West Vancouver section of the Baden Powell Trail starts at Cleveland Dam, climbs up to Hollyburn Ridge and then through Cypress Provincial Park to Black Mountain and downtown Horseshoe Bay. It’s mostly forested with gaps for views too. The North Vancouver trail section goes via Lynn Canyon, Grouse Mountain and joins up with the Cleveland Dam for the West Vancouver trail section.

Distance: 48km
Trailhead:
Various points on the North Shore and West Vancouver

For more places to hike in Vancouver and nearby, check out my other hiking posts! 

Amy

Monday 3rd of May 2021

Can't wait to hike here in Vancouver! :)

Jan (@chimptrips)

Friday 15th of May 2020

What great hikes - so much beautiful scenery.

Hannah Kacary

Wednesday 20th of May 2020

So many beautiful places nearby, lukcily to live here!