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.
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. Another is the variety of wildlife. Along with the majestic trees there are the occasional bald eagles, oystercatchers, seagulls, shore crabs, hermit crabs and starfish, among quite a lot else. Another is the seemingly endless array of picnic tables and even better, rock outcrops at the edge of the Georgia Strait and Pacific Ocean beyond.
Why should you go to Lighthouse Park?
Lighthouse Park is perfectly positioned for wonderful sunsets over Vancouver. The bit city buildings and the strikingly beautiful Lions Gate Bridge dominate the view along with massive shipping tankers. The park itself is has a beautiful array of trails leading through a wonderful forest and one ocean viewpoint after another.
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.
Why should you hike the Deep Cove Lookout trail?
Deep Cove Lookout is a wonderful, relatively easy, yet beautifully varied trail through the wilderness of Deep Cove.
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. You can park at one end, for example near English Bay, and head along the coastal, paved trail and follow the beautiful circumference of Stanley Park and return to where you started after a wonderful and constantly scenic 10k seawall route. The interior trails wind their way through the unexpectedly huge trees within Stanley Park. 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. Notice the frequent concession stands, washrooms and points of interest. Stanley Park is also the home of the Vancouver Aquarium, with its considerable array of marine life, from penguins to Beluga whales. Stanley Park is not so much a hike as an amazing walk, but certainly a must see in Vancouver. It certainly is the most convenient and scenic.
Why should you go to Stanley Park?
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 Theater 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.
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. All combined the trails probably add up to less than 10k, so expect to wander around for 1-3 hours. Parking is free and there is a beautiful restaurant with amazing views called Horizons Restaurant which you shouldn't miss. From downtown Vancouver, take E Hastings. After about 25 minutes it will become the Burnaby Mountain Parkway. Take a left onto Centennial Way. Parking is free., just 30 minutes east of downtown Vancouver has a nice network of popular trails with fantastic views of Vancouver,
Why should you hike Burnaby Mountain?
Burnaby Mountain is a beautiful oasis of trails with great views everywhere you look. The great network of trails are wonderfully manicured and several strategically places seats, surrounded by trees are perfect for relaxing in the sun.
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. 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).
Why should you go to Pacific Spirit Park in Vancouver?
Pacific Spirit Park is a must see on any holiday 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. The Museum of Anthropology is great to see as well. Even if you don't pay to see the museum on the inside, the grounds outside have some impressive First Nations works. They are located on the ocean side of the Museum at the edge of a cliff above the ocean and beaches far below.
More Easy Vancouver Hiking Trails
Mystery Lake is an easy, well marked trail that leads to a cute mountain lake, excellent for swimming. It is just 1.5k to the lake and like the rest of Seymour Park dogs are welcome. Click on the map to the right to go to the beautiful, full size, printable map from the BC Parks site for Mount Seymour Provincial Park. Though bringing a map is not necessary as the signs in the park are well laid out, a map with you might be useful if planning multiple hikes. The trailhead is easy to find once you have reached the main parking lot to Mount Seymour Resort. To get to the main parking lot simply drive until you come to the end of the road and the end of the final parking lot (you will see ski lifts). Rice Lake is a relaxing walk around a cute lake in Lynn Valley. It is a family friendly hike although dogs are not welcome. Rice Lake is near the trailhead to Lynn Headwaters Park and there is a 1k connecting trail from there to the Rice Lake Trail. There is also the more convenient parking lot at the Rice Lake trailhead at the end of Lillooet Road. There are several picnic areas and viewing areas with seats around the lake as there is quite a variety of wildlife in the area as well as some impressive Douglas Firs and Western Red Cedars. 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 Pavilion Trail. The beautiful 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). From the trailhead to the lower falls is easy to follow. There are quite a few smaller trails that join the main trail leading to various connecting routes to the main trail. Always stay on the main trail to avoid getting lost. When you reach the lower falls the main trail splits in two. You can either back up and continue again on the main trail heading up the west side of the creek and leading to the upper Cypress Falls. Deer Lake is a relaxing 5 kilometre walk around a cute urban lake just 30 minutes from Vancouver. The route around the lake is good any time of year and is very popular with dog walkers in and around Burnaby. Trails in the park lead to a kids playground, washrooms, a boat launch and picnic tables. In the summer months Deer Lake Boat Rentals offers canoe, kayak and pedal boat rentals. Gas or electric motors are not allowed. Deer Lake is also home to the Burnaby Art Gallery, Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, Burnaby Village Museum and Century Gardens.