One of the most amazing things you’ll find about Vancouver is that even though it is an urban environment, it has the stunning backcountry wilderness that is synonymous with Canada right on its doorstep.
There isn’t a better way to truly appreciate the stunning natural beauty of Canada than by foot. And fortunately there are a variety of hikes near Vancouver that you can try.
Here are five amazing hikes near Vancouver that are within one to two hours’ driving distance from the city. Perfect for visitors who have taken advantage of the car rental services in Vancouver. These hikes can be completed within a day and can also be done during the summer or winter.
Crown Mountain is one of the most noticeable peaks visible from downtown Vancouver. Although the trail, which goes behind Grouse Mountain, is very difficult, it will all be worth it at the end. Walkers are rewarded with stunning views of the city, Capilano Watershed reservoir and the peaks and trails of the North Shore Mountains.
You can take the Grouse Mountain Skyride to access the trail, which is a breath-taking aerial tram ride worthy of a trip in its own right. Although some really keen walkers take the knee-crushing Grouse Grind – a punishingly steep trail up the side of the mountain.
The route to Crown Mountain begins just beyond the Grizzly Bear refuge. Hikers head towards the ski run before following the walkway behind Grouse Mountain and looking out for signs for the Alpine Trail.
After taking in some lovely views, you’ll soon start seeing signs for the Crown Mountain Trail, which leads to the top of the trail.
Hike time: 7 hours
Attractions to see: Grizzly Bear refuge, Grouse Mountain Skyride, great views of Vancouver and North Shore Mountains
Nestled between alpine mountains and a spectacular glacier is the beautiful Garibaldi Lake.
A vivid hue thanks to the glacial meltwater, the lake is regarded as one of the most scenic in British Columbia. You can access this route at the Rubble Creek car park.
From there, hikers follow a 6km trail through the dense forests of Douglas fir trees. Once you reach the 6km point, you’ll be faced with a junction. Turn right and you’ll hike directly to Garibaldi Lake – perfect for people who are short on time – or turn left and walk through Taylor Meadows.
The meadows are full of colourful alpine flowers from July to October and if you decide to take this route it will add a few extra kilometres to your walk. After meandering through the meadows, you will reach another junction where you will turn right and head downhill. Make your way through a number of switchbacks before crossing a wooden bridge and heading onto Garibaldi Lake.
The panoramic views of the lake and the glacier are truly amazing. Take some photos while you catch your breath! Once you’ve had your fill of the vistas, cross the bridge again and head up the steep path to the junction, but this time go left to bypass the meadows and walk back to the car park. On the walk back you will be treated to a few smaller lakes that are also really picturesque.
If you’ve walked the route before and fancy variety, there are other routes that take you past attractions such as Panorama Ridge, the Battleship Islands and Black Tusk. But you’ll have to stay in the area for a few days to see all of them!
Hike time: 5 hours
Attractions to see: Taylor Meadows
This short hike offers unrivalled views of Belcarra Regional Park and is perfect for families as the trail is quite flat.
The trail starts at the car park just off Bedwell Bay Road and heads towards the local beach. Before arriving at the beach, walkers will spot signposts for Admiralty Point to the left and you will need to follow this dirt trail into the forest.
Tackle a small hill before it flattens out and the path begins to descend. Glimpses of the sea will start to peep through the trees and the path will boast a number of fantastic viewpoints of the area.
After following the path for around a kilometre you will reach Admiralty Point. Enjoy listening to the waves lapping up against the rocks beneath you and seeing the North Shore Mountains.
Hike time: 1.5 hours
Attractions to see: Belcarra Regional Park, Deep Cove, Mount Seymour and Burnaby Mountain
St. Mark’s Summit
This walk begins by the Cypress Mountain day lodge and is part of the Howe Sound Crest Trail that covers an area of 30km.
To get onto the trail walkers follow a route alongside a number of ski runs, keeping an eye out for signs for the Howe Sound Crest Trail, which leads uphill and towards a green water tower. At this point you’ll need to turn right onto a trail through a wooded area and then turn left onto a gravel road.
Following this road will lead you to a trail that is on the Howe Sound Crest Trail. This will take hikers up to St. Mark’s Summit, revealing its astonishing views over the mouth of Howe Sound.
Hike time: 5 hours
Attractions to see: Howe Sound, Bowen Island, Anvil Island, the mountains of Vancouver Island
Mount Cheam is the highest point in the Fraser Valley, offering a 360-degree panoramic view of the Fraser River and the surrounding area.
This climb is made easier thanks to a logging road that gets hikers to within an hour of the summit. Although this road can be snowed over, it is usually clear from July to October.
According to Vancouver Trails, from the parking area at the top of the road, walkers will need to follow the old section of gravel road past the logged hillsides. Even at this early stage, you’ll already be treated to amazing views of nearby mountains and Mount Baker in Washington State.
Once you reach the end of the old logging road, follow a trail to the left that heads through a meadow, usually full of wild flowers in August.
The trail takes walkers to Spoon Lake and this is where the uphill trail begins. It leads you right up the mountainside to the summit.
Hike time: 4.5 hours
Attractions to see: Fraser River, Spoon Lake, Jones Lake and Mount Baker
Image Credit: Robert Linsdell, Galyna Andrushko, waferboard, Tim Gage.hi