14 Best Hikes in Vancouver to Enjoy the Great Outdoors

Written By: The Planet D

Vancouver, British Columbia is well-known for all things outdoors! Located on the west coast of Canada and surrounded by mountains, forests, and the ocean, there is no shortage of amazing things to do in Vancouver!

If you’re visiting Vancouver, you’re going to want to check out some of its stunning natural beauty. There are so many ways to do this: take a train, go on a road trip, or, best of all, get active and have an outdoor adventure!

Best Hikes in Vancouver

Hiking is one of the best ways to immerse in nature and, trust us, you are going to fall in love with this region of Canada when you get outdoors.

best hiking trails in vancouver map

All the Vancouver hikes on this list are located in the Metro Vancouver Region – either Vancouver itself or North Vancouver plus other surrounding municipalities. These hiking trails are all accessible from downtown Vancouver for a half or full-day excursion. Here is a round-up of some of the best hikes in Vancouver for your next day outside. You may also like these Best Places to Visit in British Columbia

Top Vancouver Hikes

Hikes in Vancouver BC

Ask anyone in Vancouver what their hobbies are and you’re bound to hear them say hiking! For good reason – there are so many amazing Vancouver hiking trails! The best hikes in Vancouver are, well, all of them. Just get outside and get active – it’s a great way to explore a new city and the perfect addition to your Vancouver itinerary.

1. Pacific Spirit Park Hiking Trails

Top Vancouver Hikes

Located in Vancouver near the University of British Columbia (UBC) is Pacific Spirit Regional Park. It is an amazing 750-hectare (1850 acres) park with tons of awesome trails. While some may call this more of a walk than a hike, it’s definitely worth checking out! Pacific Spirit is large, so there are tons of trail options.

You can either wander the trails and get a little (pleasantly) lost, or follow the 10 km hiking trail that starts from the trailhead at 16th Avenue. You will enter the park and check out the signboard to get onto the Clinton Trail. You will then connect with the Salish Trail, a beautiful section of the forest that borders an ecological reserve!

  • Distance: 10 km roundtrip
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Elevation Gain: Minimal
  • Trailhead: 16th Avenue, next to Camosun park

2. Foreshore Trail

Pacific Spirit Park Vancouver

The Foreshore Trail also starts in Pacific Spirit Park, but instead of hiking through the forest, it takes you along the coastline. It’s a great option for seeing the best of what Vancouver hikes have to offer: forest, beach, and ocean views!

The trail also passes directly through Wreck Beach, Vancouver’s only clothing-optional beach. If that’s not your thing, you might want to choose another trail! There are, however, plenty of amazing stretches of beach along this trail, so it’s also a great option to pack a picnic lunch or go for a dip in the water.

A note of caution: this trail can be challenging to navigate during high tide, as some sections have been eroded. The best time to go is during low tide, where you can easily walk on the beach.

  • Distance: 5km one way
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Elevation Gain: 40 meters
  • Trailhead: Acadia Beach parking lot
  • Tip: Bring your beach clothes to hang out at Acadia Beach after your hike!

North Vancouver Hikes

3. Quarry Rock, Deep Cove

Hikes in Vancouver North Shore

If there were ever a more iconic Vancouver hike… well, there just isn’t. Quarry Rock is a very popular hiking trail that attracts many tourists coming to visit Canada. Quarry Rock is located in the quaint township of Deep Cove, in North Vancouver (a great place for a post-hike drink or donut from the famous Honey’s Donuts!).

The hike is moderate level, and takes you through some amazing west coast forest trails, over bridges, across rivers, next to waterfalls – the sights along the way are amazing. But, the best part is that view at the end! You’ll want to bring your camera along because the view from the top of Quarry Rock is epic. You’ll be able to see sweeping views out over the Indian Arm, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean.

  • Distance: 3.8 km round trip
  • Difficulty: Easy-Moderate
  • Elevation Gain: 100m
  • Trailhead: Deep Cove town – there is public parking available in town, then walk along Panorama Drive and see the signs at the trailhead
  • Tip: Parking here can be tough to find, so go early in the morning or during a weekday if you can

4. Norvan Falls Hiking Trail

Quarry Rock Hike Vancouver BC

This hike is a classic west coast hike. Norvan Falls is located in the Lynn Headwaters Regional Park (part of the Baden Powell Trail network) and the trail begins by crossing the Lynn Creek Bridge. Once on the trail, you’ll be fully immersed in a dense forest, hiking over rocks and roots, until arriving at a stunning waterfall! It’s a low-elevation hike, suitable for all seasons.

  • Distance: 14km round trip
  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Elevation Gain: 195m
  • Trailhead: Lynn Headwaters Regional Park
  • Tip: Wear some good shoes – the trail is rocky with lots of roots that are easy tripping hazards

5. Capilano Canyon Loop

Norvan Falls Hiking Trail in Vancouver BC

This hike is a perfect short day hike through the North Shore forest around Capilano Park. Known primarily for the Capilano Suspension Bridge, this region is also home to a number of beautiful hiking trails. You may also like: The Best Things to do in Revelstoke, BC – Besides Skiing

Capilano suspension Bridge near Vancouver BC

The Capilano Canyon trail starts at Cleveland Dam, which is a stunning reservoir with epic mountain views. Take some time to enjoy the views at the dam and then continue to the left, where you will see the trailhead and signs for Shinglebolt Trail. Also read: Best British Columbia Road Trip – Plus Win a Stay at a Sandman Hotel

  • Distance: 2.6 km round trip
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Elevation Gain: 100m
  • Trailhead: Cleveland Dam parking lot

6. Grouse Grind, Grouse Mountain

Grouse Mountain Grind Trail in Vancouver BC

Oh, the infamous Grouse Grind. One of the favorite hikes for those who love a challenge! There’s nothing easy about this – they call it Mother Nature’s Stairmaster, after all. The Grouse Grind is a trail that goes straight up the side of Grouse Mountain, a local ski and snowboard hill during the winter months. There are a total of 2,830 steps!

The trail is easy to follow, with signs from the Grouse Mountain parking area directing you to the trailhead. You’ll start hiking up the stairs right away and just follow them all the way up. Once at the top, enjoy the epic views and take a rest!

Grouse Moutain is a popular tourist attraction, and a stop for most people when they’re planning a trip to the city, or a longer Sea to Sky Highway road trip. During the summer months, you can tune in to nature talks, visit the resident bears, or grab a coffee or some food at the cafe and restaurant.

To get back down, you’ll need to take the gondola back down to the base of the mountain. The gondola ride also has amazing views, so enjoy the ride! the Grouse Grind is a quintessential hike in Vancouver – good luck!

  • Distance: 2.9 km (one way – will take the gondola down)
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Elevation Gain: 853m
  • Trailhead: Grouse Mountain parking lot

7. St. Mark’s Summit

St Marks Summit Hike in Vancouver
St Marks Summit Hike in Vancouver

If you’re looking for epic views, St. Mark’s Summit can’t be beaten! This trail is a section of the longer Howe Sound Crest Trail and starts at the top of Cypress Mountain, another local ski hill in Vancouver. You will begin the hike from the main recreational area at Cypress and begin the initial hike at the base of the chairlift. There are markers along the way that are easy to follow.

One of the steepest trail stretches is right at the end. But, at the top of St. Mark’s, you’ll be rewarded with epic views of the Lions mountain range, the Howe Sound, and Horseshoe Bay! Make sure to bring a snack because you’ll definitely want to recharge at the top and take in all the views.

  • Distance: 11km round trip
  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Elevation Gain: 460m
  • Trailhead: Cypress Mountain parking lot (at the top of the mountain)

8. Dog Mountain, Mount Seymour

Mount Seymour Hike Vancouver BC

This popular trail in North Vancouver is used both for hiking in the summer and snowshoeing in the winter. It is a well-maintained and well-marked trail located on Seymoure Mountain, one of the other North Shore mountains that is popular for skiing, snowboarding, and hiking.

Dog Mountain trail is moderate difficulty and many families will hike with children and dogs (leashed). The trail will take you over rolling elevations with great views of lakes, creeks, and forests. At the Dog Mountain summit, you’ll have sweeping views of Vancouver City, the bay area, and the surrounding mountains. It is also a popular night hike to get some amazing sunset views over the city. Read more: The Most Beautiful National Parks in Canada

  • Distance: 5.6km round trip
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Elevation Gain: 165m
  • Trailhead: Mount Seymour parking lot (at the top of the mountain)

9. Sea to Summit

Sea to Summit Hike near Squamish BC

This hike is a little further outside Vancouver, located in Squamish, BC. It’s accessible via the scenic Sea to Sky Highway (Highway 99) from Vancouver up to Whistler, one of the most beautiful places in Canada! It’s a great option for a day trip, as you can take some time exploring along the way and enjoy the scenic drive.

Squamish is also a great place to visit after your hike, with lots of cute cafes and shops and a vibrant outdoor lifestyle. You can visit for the day, or take a couple of days for a trip up to Whistler, which has so much to see and do (check out all the things to do in Whistler here)!

The Sea to Summit Trail is located next to the Stawamus Chief, another popular hiking trail. The hike starts in the Shannon Falls parking area and will begin with a steep incline up a set of stairs before leveling off a little bit. The trail is well marked and you will have some amazing views of Shannon Falls along the way. Once at the top, you can take in the panoramic views over Squamish and the Howe Sound. The only way to get down is via gondola, and you can take pride knowing you hiked up for the same views that others took the gondola to see!

  • Distance: 16.4 km (one way – will take the gondola down)
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Elevation gain: 935m
  • Trailhead: Shannon Falls parking lot (follow Upper Shannon Falls trail to connect to Sea to Summit) or Sea to Summit gondola lot (follow Stawamus Chief trail to connect to Sea to Summit)
  • Tip: Parking areas can be busy, so go early to get a spot!

Other Metro Vancouver Area Hikes

10. Velodrome Trail, Burnaby Mountain

Velodrome Hike Burnaby Mountain near Vancouver

This trail is a great urban hike that brings you up to the top of Burnaby Mountain, which is home to Simon Fraser University. The trail starts at Burnaby Velodrome, a sports complex at the base of the mountain. You can park there and then start the trail with a 500-stair steep climb.

The trail will connect with the Pandora Trail, which is easy to follow and will bring you up to the amazing Japanese totem poles. There are some amazing views out over the Indian Arm and Burrard Inlet from this viewpoint. If you’re up for it, keep heading up the trail to the campus of Simon Fraser University and explore a bit. There are a ton of great options for food and coffee to refresh and refuel before heading back down.

  • Distance: 3km roundtrip
  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Elevation Gain: 240m
  • Trailhead: Burnaby Velendrome parking lot

11. Sandero Diez Vistas

Sandero Diez Vistas Hike Near Vancouver BC

“Diez Vistas” means “ten views” so you know that this hike is a good one! Located just outside of the city of Port Moody are the beautiful Buntzen Lake and surrounding park.

The Sandero Diez Vistas is an amazing hike that will take you up to the peak for (10!) views of the Indian Arm and then back down to circle around the picturesque Buntzen Lake. Diez Vistas is a fairly long hike, so you may want to go for a dip in the lake afterward – it’s cold but so refreshing!

  • Distance: 15km roundtrip
  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Elevation Gain: 460m
  • Trailhead: Buntzen Lake recreation area

12. High Knoll

This hike is one of the best hike-to-view ratios out there. It’s a fairly quick hike, with minimal elevation gain, but the view from the top is absolutely stunning! Because this is a little further out for people visiting Vancouver, it is less popular and not very busy compared to a lot of the popular Vancouver hikes.

The High Knoll is a trail located in Minnekhada Park, in Port Coquitlam, a community outside of Vancouver. Minnekhada Park is popular for walking, hiking, and biking, and has a lot of areas to explore. The trail is well marked and easy to follow. You’ll walk through forested and marshy areas, climbing over tree roots and rocky paths. Most of the elevation gain comes at the end, the final push up to the viewpoint! Up at the top of the High Knoll, you’ll get sweeping views over the Fraser River.

  • Distance: 10km roundtrip
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Elevation Gain: 180m
  • Trailhead: Quarry Road parking lot in Minnekhada Park

13. Jug Island

Jug Island Trail Vancouver BC

The Jug Island Trail is easy to follow, well-marked, and easy to complete. One of the best parts is that is located in Belcarra Park Regional Park, which is a really nice recreational area, popular for picnics and BBQs. It’s a great place to hang out and relax after your hike! Jug Island trail goes directly through this beautiful park and ends at a quiet little beach on the Indian Arm looking at a picturesque Jug Island.

The Quarry Rock hike (#3 on this list of the great hikes in Vancouver) is also popular for its amazing views over the Indian Arm. Well, on the other side of the Indian Arm inlet is Belcarra Regional Park, which is located outside of Port Moody.

  • Distance: 5.5km roundtrip
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Elevation Gain: 100m
  • Trailhead: Belcarra Park parking lot

14. Mount Cheam

Mount Cheam Hike Near Vancouver BC

This hike will take you out to the Fraser Valley region, technically not part of the Metro Vancouver Region, but close enough (and worth it!) to include in this list. Mount Cheam is a challenging hike located in Chilliwack with the most amazing panoramic views over the surrounding mountain peaks, Fraser River, and Mount Baker in the USA. This hike is best for those looking for a challenge and a new mountain range after exhausting some of the popular North Vancouver hikes on this list.

The Mount Cheam trailhead is accessible by a forest service road, so a 4-wheel drive vehicle is required. The trail takes you through some beautiful meadows and a series of switchbacks and challenging ascents. Persist through and you will be rewarded with some amazing views along the way and at the top!

  • Distance: 9.5km roundtrip
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Elevation Gain: 700m
  • Trailhead: Parking area at the top of Chipmunk Creek Forest Service Road

There it is! Some of the best hikes in Vancouver and the surrounding areas. Hiking is one of the best activities that you can do when visiting a new city or new area, and there are so many awesome options in Vancouver.

Whether you’re looking for something easy and short or a real challenge, there’s a hike for you! Get outside, get active, and enjoy these amazing Vancouver hikes!

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About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

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