Vancouver has some amazing hiking trails just steps from the big city. Stanley Park and Pacific Spirit Park combine to have hundreds of kilometres of trails through deep forests and amazing beaches. Kitsilano has one beautiful beach after another and Lighthouse Park and Cypress Falls take you deeper into Vancouver's wilderness. Deer Lake Park, Burnaby Lake and Burnaby Mountain are three parks east of downtown Vancouver and well worth the short drive.
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 seawall took several decades to build and effectively runs, uninterrupted from Canada Place(downtown), then around Stanley Park, along English Bay, around False Creek, through to Kitsilano Beach. Then there is a 600 metre trail that connects to another 12 kilometres of beaches and pathways that finally end at the Fraser River. So you can walk, run, bike or roll for an incredible 22 kilometres, almost entirely along the ocean.
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 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. There are plenty of places to park near all of the various parks and beaches as well as the large pay parking lot on Arbutus Street next to the beach. Kitsilano is a wonderful place to go for a coffee or dinner and there are endless restaurants just a few blocks from the beach.
Why should you walk the Kitsilano Beaches in Vancouver?
Sometimes tranquil and sometimes teaming with people, the beaches in Kitsilano are always a wonderful place to walk.
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.
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. The Burnaby Art Gallery manages the City of Burnaby's permanent art collection while the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts is a multi-purpose community arts facility providing public exhibitions, performances, festivals and art classes. The Burnaby Village Museum depicts life in the area from the 1920's. They have reconstructed 31 full scale buildings over 10 acres, with staff in costumes of the day. Deer Lake is located in Burnaby, just a short drive from downtown Vancouver. Just south of the Trans Canada Highway, take the Willingdon Ave exit, then left onto Deer Lake Parkway, then right onto Royal Oak Ave, then left onto Oakmount Crescent to Deer Lake Park.
Why should you go to Deer Lake Park in Burnaby?
Deer Lake Park is a mecca for outdoor activities and cultural life in Burnaby. Whether you want to visit and art gallery or see and outdoor concert, Deer Lake Park is the place you will find it. Your kids will love the park for the beach, the playground, the water activities and the Burnaby Village Museum. So much to see and always something happening, make Deer Lake Park fun for everyone. In the summer months the park comes alive with outdoor concerts and lake activities and in the off season it is a relaxing park to go for a quiet walk around the scenic trails. All of this just a short drive from downtown Vancouver!
Metro Vancouver map to plan your hiking at . The easiest place to start hiking in Burnaby Lake Park is to start at the Nature House on Piper Ave. From the Lougheed Highway in Burnaby, turn south on Brighton Ave, then right on Winston Ave, then left on Piper Ave. Burnaby Lake is often alive with activity. Whether on the water or around it. Over 400 types of creatures live in the area. Bald eagles, ospreys, herons, beavers and ducks are all frequently seen. Hiking and birdwatching are the main draws to the park, however, canoeing, rowing and kayaking are also done here. The Burnaby Canoe and Kayak Club and the Burnaby Lake Rowing Club practice here.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. Take a look at the
Why should you hike to Burnaby Lake in Vancouver?
Burnaby Lake is scenic nature reserve teeming with wildlife and beautiful to walk around. If you enjoy seeing wildlife, the park has plenty to see. If you like to enjoy a quiet walk in a park, the 19 kilometres of trails allow you to immerse yourself in nature where the non-human creatures far outnumber the humans.
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.
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 in Vancouver?
Lighthouse Park is perfectly positioned for wonderful sunsets over Vancouver. The big 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.
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. Or you can cross the creek and follow the trail to an amazing, old growth forest. Continuing through the forest will lead to a gate and fence. Turn left here and you will connect back on the trail to the upper Cypress Falls. The roundtrip hike to both the lower and upper falls is about 3k and is very family friendly taking about an hour to complete. Another beautiful trail close by and also fairly easy and family friendly is the wonderful Lighthouse Park, just a short drive away on Marine Drive. Both Cypress Falls and Lighthouse Park can be done in an afternoon.
Why should you hike to Cypress Falls?
Cypress Falls is a hidden little world of giant trees and picture-perfect streams and waterfalls. The park is a great example of a British Columbia coastal rainforest. Wet, cool, clean air, huge trees, and every centimetre of ground teeming with life. You invariably think every time you visit the park that it is surely one of the most serene and relaxing places in the world.