Pacific Spirit Regional 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. The park is open during daylight hours and there are plenty of washrooms and food stands. Most trails are hard packed gravel and only the occasional elevation change. More than 50 of the 73 kilometres of trails are designated as multi-use, allowing for biking and horseback riding as well as hiking/walking.
Much of the park is in deep forest, however, stairs lead to various beaches along the ocean. Steep stairs descend through thick forest to finally open up at these unexpectedly beautiful beaches. Nice sand, clean shoreline and enormous logs from decades of logging, strewn along the beach make them characteristically "west coast" in look.
One of the more popular beaches is the locally famous Wreck Beach. This clothing optional beach is a world of its own. This surreal corner of Vancouver can be quite a shock to the uninitiated.
Though after a few minutes the unmistakable charm and beauty of the place makes you forget about the unusual surroundings and you melt into this wonderful beach in this beautiful Vancouver park.
Just a short walk from Wreck Beach is the Museum of Anthropology. This stunning museum showcases works by the peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast First Nations. Only a handful of other places in the world have such a beautiful collection of totem poles and wood carvings.
If you enjoy art, history or anthropology, you will be in heaven. If you don't you will still likely be impressed by the beauty of these majestic and in some cases, enormous carvings depicting a culture of the past and present. Be careful when you go, however, as they don't open on Mondays, but otherwise 10-5pm(Tuesday until 9pm).
is a must see on any visit to Vancouver. The forest and beaches are beautiful and UBC and its surrounding roads are unmistakably Vancouver. You quickly see that you are in British Columbia's coastal rainforest when you see the sheer volume of trees. Giant trees and gnarled trees spill over the road making it seem like you are driving through a green tunnel.
Directions to Pacific Spirit Regional Park
There are various places to enter the park so your best bet is to aim for 16th Avenue which will take you to the centre of the park. From downtown Vancouver, drive across the Granville Street Bridge, turn right on 16th Avenue and drive for 5k and you will be in the middle of the park.
More Hikes Near Pacific Spirit Regional 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. The Kitsilano beaches begin as soon as you cross the Burrard Bridge and enter the residential paradise of Kitsilano. Though only this first beach is named Kitsilano Beach, you can walk from one beach to the next via some short and scenic residential detours. So you can connect the beautiful Kitsilano Beach to Jericho Beach, then Locarno Beach then Spanish Bank Beach. Walking them all will add up to about 8k (one way) of wonderfully varied beaches, parks, marinas, the enormous Kits Pool and endless vantage points to English Bay and Burrard Inlet. This is not a hiking route but rather a fantastic beach walk anytime of the year. With the changing weather and seasons change the wonderful feel you get walking around Vancouver. Burnaby Lake Regional Park has a series of trails that add up to 9k if done in a circular route around the lake. There are in fact 19k of trails in the park. The various trails include the 2.6k Cottonwood Trail, the 1.8k. Brunette Headwaters Trail, the .8k Avalon Trail which connects the Burnaby Equestrian Centre with the Southshore Trail. The 3.4k Southshore Trail, and the smaller trails, Conifer Loop, Spruce Trail Loop and the Pavillion Trail. Burnaby Mountain is just 30 minutes east of downtown Vancouver and has a nice network of trails with fantastic views of Vancouver, Burrard Inlet and beyond. The trails link to the wonderful Trans Canada Trail. The trails are all fairly easy and well laid out. All combined the trails probably add up to less than 10k, so expect to wander around for 1-3 hours. Burnaby Mountain is located at Simon Fraser University high above, and overlooking Burrard Inlet. The views north are of Vancouver making it a popular location to view the Celebration of Light fireworks festival on English Bay. Lighthouse Park is an extraordinarily little known piece of paradise, so close to to Vancouver as to see its tall buildings, yet immersed into a dramatically beautiful coastal rainforest. A wonderful network of hiking trails winds throughout massive Douglas-fir trees and Western Red Cedars as well as golden Arbutus trees stretching toward the ocean. There are so many great aspects of this hike. The first is the beautiful drive to get there. Marine Drive spectacularly hugs the rugged and steep coast of West Vancouver. This beautiful stretch of road is a great attraction to Lighthouse Park as it takes you along an easily overlooked, yet beautiful area of Vancouver. The Cypress Falls trail has two nice waterfalls to see as well as an impressive forest of old growth Cedars and Douglas Firs. The trailhead to Cypress Falls Regional Park is located in West Vancouver, just off the Sea to Sky Highway(99). 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.