Vancouver has a great variety of easy hiking trails. These are some of the best and most convenient from downtown Vancouver. Pacific Spirit Park and Stanley Park have great beaches as well as forest and ocean view trails. The amazing Museum of Anthropology is a must-see when visiting Pacific Spirit Park.
Best Easy Vancouver Trails
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. Another great attraction to the park is the wonderful variation of trails. They stretch out in several directions in the thick forest, each leading to breathtaking ocean viewpoints. At the far end of the , in the cute town of Deep Cove is home to the fantastic . Also known as Quarry Rock and the Grey Rock Trail, the Deep Cove Lookout Trail is amazing. The wonderful trail crosses numerous creek bridges to get to the impressive lookout with views of Deep Cove and Indian Arm far below. Indian Arm is a 20k fjord that cuts deep into the mainland. The slopes on either side are heavily forested and steep and therefore have seen little human development as compared to the heavily populated regions nearby. The hike is fairly relaxing. There is free parking off Panorama Drive and the trailhead is marked with a Baden Powell Trail sign. The first kilometre sees most of the 160 metre elevation gain and from then on it is a relaxing walk in the woods the the beautiful lookout. Dogs are welcome on the trail and there are washrooms at the parking lot. is a very pretty coastal town full of nice shops and restaurants as well as a nice pier and marina to wander around in. Stanley Park in downtown Vancouver 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. Stanley Park can be walked or biked in any number of routes and lengths. Certainly one of the popular, and most straight forward routes is by a large, 10k circle, paved trail that runs around the perimeter. Some trees stand over 70 metres (249 ft) and are centuries old. The more impressive trees include Douglas-fir, Western Red Cedar, Western Hemlock and Sitka Spruce. The trees are numerous and the forest so thick that you would certainly get lost if not for the excellent and well organized trail layout in the park. , just 30 minutes east of downtown Vancouver has a nice network of popular trails with fantastic views of Vancouver, Burrard Inlet and beyond. The trails link to the wonderful Trans Canada Trail. The Trans Canada Trail when completed in 2017 will stretch from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific and up to the Arctic Ocean. When completed it will be a 23000 kilometre multi-use, hiking/biking/walking trail that spans North America. The Burnaby Mountain trails are all fairly easy and well laid out. 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. 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.
There are plenty of moderately challenging Vancouver hiking trails to choose from. These are five trails that stand out from the rest. Not too difficult, yet all have sensational views. Hollyburn, Dog Mountain and Seymour are at the end of beautiful drives to reach the trailheads. Lynn Peak is in the beautiful Lynn Valley. Goat Mountain is usually reached via Grouse Mountain so you will either have to run the Grind or pay to ride up to Grouse.
Best Moderate Vancouver Trails
Hollyburn Mountain, in Cypress Provincial Park, is an amazing place to snowshoe or go hiking. The Hollyburn trailhead is an astonishingly close, 30 minutes from downtown Vancouver. The 30 minute drive is quite something as well. From the always beautiful crossing of the beautiful Lions Gate Bridge, to the incredible views of Vancouver from the approach drive to and the Hollyburn Mountain trailhead. You would almost expect that there would be various fees for parking, trail use, etc. But the snowshoeing and hiking trail is completely free, and also quite convenient. 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. is a beautiful, short and fun hike (or snowshoe trek) close to Vancouver and starting from the parking lot of Mount Seymour Resort. Just 2.2k gets you from your car to breathtaking views of the big city below. This area is popular all year-round and there are plenty of trails to choose from. In the summer the trails include, , a beautiful and very challenging 16k roundtrip hike to a beautiful mountain peak. , a moderately challenging 8k roundtrip to the top of Seymour and amazing panoramic views. And and , which have their own comparatively easy, family friendly trails. is fairly popular, so even in the depths of winter you will find the trail in the snow well packed down and easily followed. It is also a favourite evening hike to catch the sun setting over Vancouver. If you are new to , you will learn that anytime of the year, catching the sun setting over Vancouver from Dog Mountain is a cherished habit for many locals. Dog Mountain is a fantastic hike for many reasons, but unexpectedly, partly because of the drive to the trailhead. The trailhead is located at the far end of the main parking lot to . Lynn Peak is a beautifully forested hiking trail is a local favourite running route comparable to the Grouse Grind. In 4.5k the trail rises 730 metres and hardly ever in a straight line. There are a few good viewpoints on the hike to Lynn Peak. is a beautiful mountain to hike from . It is challenging at times but fairly relaxing overall. It is just 4k from the Grouse Mountain Chalet and should only take 3-4 hours roundtrip from the top of the SkyRide. If you hike/run the Grouse Grind as well then add 2.9k to the journey there and 3.5k to the return (via the BCMC trail adjacent to the Grouse Grind) to get back to your car. From the Grouse Chalet on Grouse Mountain follow the path under the Peak Chair until you reach the trailhead and hiker check-in station. From here you follow the marked trail to Goat Mountain. You can either hike via Dam Mountain, or take the easier Alpine Trail.
Plenty of challenging hiking trails in Vancouver to choose from. St Mark's Summit, the Lions and Mount Harvey are all on the amazing Howe Sound Crest Trail. Mount Elsay is far in the backcountry of Mount Seymour Provincial Park and Coliseum Mountain is deep in the Lynn Valley.
Best Challenging Vancouver Trails
St Mark's Summit is a relatively easy way to get hiking deep into Vancouver's amazing mountains. Starting this hike at Cypress means you drive most of the elevation. Even though you still have another 460 metres in 5.5k to hike, the beautiful forest and frequent Howe Sound views make it seem quick and easy. It takes about 1.5 hours to reach St Mark's Summit and the views are fantastic. Not only because of the incredible vantage point over Howe Sound, but the abruptness of St Mark's Summit. The cliffs below you are frighteningly vertical, making the views fantastically majestic. Also the sheer drop off makes Howe Sound and the speck sized boats seem so surreal. The third and possibly the best feature of the St Mark's Summit hike is the intricately huge and varied terrain on the summit. You stand and marvel at one viewpoint, then moments later your friend appears at an extraordinarily improbable, and worryingly dangerous rock outcrop a few dozen metres away. This hilarious game of hide and seek, seemingly can go on forever. As one leads to another, then another. Over and over, the St Mark's Summit reveals one breathtaking vantage point after another, until you are exhausted more with the views than the hike that got you there.The Lions are the two distinct, rocky peaks are visible from downtown Vancouver. The view from the top of the West Lion is spectacular. Howe Sound stretches out into the blue distance. A tough but wonderful hiking trail.The first half of the hike is very easy as you follow a disused, though beautifully overgrown logging road gently uphill. The trail after this road is very well marked with flagging tape, tree markers and paint indicators on the rock faces. There are two plateaus before the final, very difficult ascent to the summit of the West Lion. Both plateaus have incredible views and most make the second plateau their final destination. It is at the base of the West Lion. There are not really any suitable places to put up a tent, but if you had to choose, somewhere in the vicinity of these two plateaus would be the place to do it. Mount Harvey is one of the huge, visible and hikeable summits in the North Shore mountains. It is located on the Howe Sound Crest Trail in Cypress Provincial Park near The Lions. Reachable via the Howe Sound Crest Trail or by its own trailhead in Lions Bay. The same trailhead used for , Brunswick Mountain and . There are no trail use fees, parking fees or camping fees from this trailhead. The trail is challenging, though not out of technical skill but due to its steepness of the trail. You gain 1400 metres in just 6.5k. The final scramble to the summit can be dangerous in poor weather, but generally not too difficult. 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. Mount Elsay is a difficult and dangerous trail to hike if you are unprepared or poorly equipped. The trail is often very difficult and losing the trail is very possible even in good weather. The trailhead for Mount Seymour (which leads to the Mount Elsay trail) is easy to find once you have reached the main parking lot to . Coliseum Mountain is one of several beautiful hikes in the Lynn Valley's beautiful . It's not terribly difficult, but it is very long. 12 kilometres from the trailhead to the summit. Although the first 7 kilometres are along the very easy Headwaters Trail with little elevation gain. The final 5 kilometres is at times challenging, but manageable by most as there is only a few short sections of scrambling terrain, but certainly not technical. The route is well marked along the way with flagging tape, so the main safety concern is the distance of the trail. 24k roundtrip will take most hikers 8+ hours, so be prepared with lots of food and start early.