Lighthouse Park - Vancouver Hiking Trails
Vancouver as to see its tall buildings, yet immersed into a dramatically beautiful coastal rainforest. A wonderful network of trails winds throughout massive Douglas-fir trees and Western Red Cedars as well as golden Arbutus trees stretching toward the ocean.is an extraordinarily little know piece of paradise, so close to to
It is surprisingly convenient on the drive from Vancouver to Whistler. The detour will only add an hour to your trip but the drive alone is well worth doing.
Marine Drive runs parallel to the Sea to Sky Highway to or from Whistler, and is a wonderfully beautiful ocean hugging road that is alive with the beauty of Vancouver. If you are driving to Whistler from downtown Vancouver, finding Marine Drive is easy.
After you cross the Lions Gate Bridge, continue straight as if going to Whistler(Highway 99) and you will almost immediately be on Marine Drive. Instead of making the right turn to keep on 99, continue straight as you will be on your way to Lighthouse Park via the very scenic Marine Drive. Wildly overgrown with all kinds of plants and trees, the narrow, Marine Drive hugs the coast in the midst of this evidently wealthy part of Vancouver. You will have amazing views across to Vancouver as you drive this beautiful road.
After stopping at Lighthouse Park, Marine Drive continues parallel to the Sea to Sky for a few kilometres before signs show you where to rejoin Highway 99 to Whistler. The driveways you pass are windy and steep, and alarmingly close to the road. Oncoming cars you pass slow down, Marine Drive is that narrow. You are now in the real Vancouver. The houses are old and beautifully immersed in the deep, dark rainforest that once blanketed the land where skyscrapers of the city now stand.
This is where you can look across to the high rise building crammed metropolis of Vancouver and feel in another world. Quiet, serene, immersed in deep forest, and contrast beautifully to the beauty across the water. Lighthouse Park is located at a beautiful piece of land in the edge of this.
is a beautiful Vancouver park, nestled inside a wonderful example of British Columbia's coastal rainforest. The trees are huge, the forest thick and the ocean views are amazing. Rain or shine, this park is a must see on any drive between Vancouver and Whistler. Marine Drive is another aspect that makes this a beautiful detour. This part of Vancouver is a great representation of Vancouver. Deep forest, beautiful ocean and rugged coastline.
The first lighthouse was built at Point Atkinson in 1874. The land around it that was to become Lighthouse Park was set aside to provide a dark backdrop for the new lighthouse. The lighthouse you now see was built in 1912. During World War II, search lights and gun emplacements were installed at Point Atkinson to watch over Burrard Inlet. Some buildings from that ere remain along with interesting photos depicting the area during that time.
Over 5 kilometres of trails wind through the forest and to various ocean views. Even on a busy, sunny day, you can often find an quite rocky outcrop far from the noise of the big city. The rocky shoreline has several amazing, flat and ocean smoothed areas to stretch out in the sun. Vancouver and the Lions Gate Bridge way off in the distance and enormous tankers sit in Burrard Inlet. Sailboats, fishing boats and motor boats silently cruise by, their motors drowned out by the crashing waves just below you.
The trails are easy and wide paths with excellent directional signs at each junction. If you want to get straight to the ocean, the Juniper Point Trail is a good start. 5 minutes from the parking lot and you find yourself on a rocky cliff overlooking the ocean. If you would rather head straight for the lighthouse, then Beacon Lane is the most direct route. It is actually a wide, gravel access road and takes you directly to the lighthouse, washrooms, the WWII buildings as well as plenty of huge, sunny rocky outcrops to explore.
Directions to Lighthouse Park
From downtown Vancouver follow Highway 99 as if going to Whistler. After crossing the Lions Gate Bridge follow the sign for Whistler and you will get onto Marine Drive. Head westbound along Marine Drive (stay on Marine Drive now, do not follow the Whistler signs anymore). Marine Drive continues past a mini town of shops and restaurants, it will begin to narrow and the road will wind around the coastline. Keep following this beautiful coastal road until you see the Lighthouse Park sign on your left.
More Hikes Near Lighthouse Park
Stanley Park in is a beautiful and astoundingly huge network of hiking/walking/biking trails. An estimated 8 million hikers, walkers, rollerbladers and cyclists visit the park yearly. The wonderful spider web of trails throughout the park add up to a staggering 200 kilometres, which explains how the park generally feels serene and relatively quiet most days despite its phenomenal popularity. Any visit to Vancouver should include a wander around Stanley Park. Everything about it is beautiful. The seawall, the huge trees, the ocean views, small beaches, the gardens. The Vancouver Aquarium is a great sight to see as well as the various landmarks scattered throughout the park. The pitch and putt golf course, the seaside swimming pool, the Theatre Under the Stars, the Nine O'Clock Gun, Siwash Rock and of course the Hollow Tree. Finally, seeing the Lions Gate Bridge from below as you pass under via the seawall is quite a sight. Pacific Spirit Park surrounds the University of British Columbia on the shores of Georgia Straight. The park has a beautiful array of trails, 73 kilometres in total, that run along beaches, some old growth forest and even a bog. The network of trails interconnects so often that you can do small 15 minute sections if that is all you are after. Pacific Spirit Park is one of Vancouver's most popular parks and located in the wonderful and expensive neighbourhood, Point Grey. You can wander the park for hours if you want as there are an endless number of trails heading in all directions. Mystery Lake is an easy, well marked trail that leads to a cute mountain lake that is perfect for relaxing, swimming or having a picnic. It is just 1.5k to the lake and like the rest of Seymour Park dogs are welcome. The trailhead is easy to find once you have reached the main parking lot to Mount Seymour Resort. Just look for the signs for Mystery Lake on the frequent trail signs. The trail starts off by ascending up the ski slopes of Seymour for a few hundred metres. This section is fairly steep, though not terribly difficult. This trail takes you under the Mystery Chairlift and into the trees, away from the ski runs. The trail then winds through the forest and out to another ski run where you get your first great view of Vancouver far below. The Goldie Lake trail in Mount Seymour Provincial Park is a cute, self-guided interpretive trail that runs around this small mountain lake. Although it is only 4 kilometres(roundtrip) for the normal loop trail, there are some side-trail variations that can lengthen and vary the route to almost 6k. Flower Lake is one of these trails and well worth the look. The busy Mount Seymour trail in Seymour Provincial Park is a locals favourite. It is challenging and an excellent workout at 4k from the trailhead to the summit. The views are phenomenal. On a clear day you can see as far as Vancouver Island as well as amazing views of Vancouver, the lower mainland and the Gulf Islands. Located in the beautiful Mount Seymour Provincial Park there are several hikes in the area. There are a few easy lake trails like Mystery Lake and Goldie Lake. Mount Elsay is a tough 16k roundtrip hike that takes you beyond Mount Seymour and the crowds into the desolate backcountry of Mount Seymour Provincial Park. To get to the marked Mount Elsay trail you have to follow the trail to Mount Seymour.