Central Vancouver Hiking Trails by Region
Black Mountain can be reached from two different trailheads. The trailhead from Cypress Resort and the original trail off Marine Drive halfway between Horseshoe Bay and Lighthouse Park. From Vancouver take Exit 2 for Eagleridge Drive, then left on Marine Drive. Just past the marina, turn left on Cranley Drive. Look for the sign for the Trans Canada Trail about 500 metres from Marine Drive. From here follow the Trans Canada Trail signs that take you under the Highway. Continue following the Trans Canada Trail for about 20 minutes until you come to a junction. The Trans Canada Trail goes right, however, follow the trail going left and take the bridge where you follow Whyte Creek. Soon you will see Whyte Lake on your right, at the next fork in the trail, bear right and this will lead to the well marked trail to Eagle Bluffs and then Black Mountain.
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 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. Another 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.
The beautiful Cypress Falls trail has two nice waterfalls to see as well as an impressive forest of old growth Cedars and Douglas Firs. 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.
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 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.
Pacific Spirit Park is a beautiful array of trails, 73k 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 minutes sections if that is all you are after. One of Vancouver's most popular parks, it is located in the wonderful and expensive neighbourhood, Point Grey. You can wander for hours if you want as there are an amazing number of trails heading in all directions. The best idea is to grab a map, available in the park or click on the metrovancouver.org map pictured right to link to the Metro Vancouver site and take a look or print out their excellent map. 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.
Burnaby Mountain, 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 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.
Burnaby Lake 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 Metro Vancouver map to plan your hiking at Burnaby Lake Regional Park.
Deer Lake is a relaxing 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. Expect to take about one to two hours to do the full 5k circuit around the lake.
Other Hikes Nearby: