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The Best Local Hikes in Vancouver, British Columbia

Vancouver's North Shore

My Picks For the best Hiking trails in Vancouver’s Great Outdoors.

In This Hiking Article You Will Discover:

  • Where to Find The Best Hikes In & Around Vancouver
  • What To Expect While on These Hikes
  • Websites With More Information

Being wedged comfortably between the Pacific Ocean and the Coastal Mountains has blessed Vancouver with a temperate climate, stunning scenery and abundant outdoor recreation just minutes from the concrete jungle. And a VanCity visitor needs only legs and a decent pair of shoes to take advantage of this area — part of the world’s only remaining coastal temperate rainforest.

Elfin Lakes Trail

Located about a 45-minute drive north of Vancouver on the newly expanded Sea to Sky Highway (Highway 99), Elfin Lakes Trail in Garibaldi Park is simply one of the finest accessible alpine hikes in BC. Plan a whole day for this one; take your lunch, lots of water and a camera. From the parking lot to the lakes, it’s 11 km (22 km round trip) and climbs 600 metres in elevation, so expect four to six hours to experience it in full. However, it’s a mellow trod, taking you through tall evergreens for the first six kilometers, then transitioning to stunning subalpine meadow for the last five. Eat lunch lakeside — camp overnight if you wish — and enjoy the silence. www.env.gov.bc.ca/

The Grouse Grind

Known to locals simply as “The Grind,” this is Vancouver’s signature hike, located just a 15-minute drive from downtown (and also on a transit route). Why the name? Well, in only 2.9 km of trail, The Grind climbs 853 metres — enough gain to get some sweat out of even experienced hikers. The trail winds straight up the side of Grouse Mountain and spits you out right at the lodge of this popular ski resort, usually taking between one and two hours. When you finish, catch your breath while enjoying a panoramic view of the city from 1,100 metres in elevation — then ride the gondola back down for only $5. www.grousemountain.com

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Indian Arm Trail

Perhaps the best taste of untouched wilderness within striking distance of the Big Smoke, the relatively new Indian Arm Trail is a true rainforest adventure that takes you as far into the wild as you want to go. The whole 68-km route that loops from Mount Seymour to Port Moody takes about five days to complete — but easy day hikes are done from access points on the north side of the Burrard Inlet, near the quaint village of Belcarra. Sturdy footwear and basic provisions are recommended. www.env.gov.bc.ca/

Whistler’s Peak Adventure

Becoming almost as popular in the summer as winter, the world famous mountain resort of Whistler/Blackcomb has now opened its Peak Chair to hikers and sightseers for summer. Where else can you stomp around at 2,100-plus metres of elevation on a day trip? Look out over the endless coast range, still adorned with glaciers and take in as much of the 48 km of hiking trails as you can. Marked trails range from quick 30-minute loops to committing eight-hour hikes. www.whistlerblackcomb.com

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About the author: David Webb is a Vancouver, BC-based travel writer, photographer and magazine editor.

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