1. Travel

Hike Vancouver’s Mountains

Few cities offer visitors mountain access like Vancouver


Photo of Vancouver skyline

The mountains are close to downtown Vancouver, making it a great city for visitor who want to hike and explore other outdoor activities.

Photo © Randall Shirley
Vancouverites are obsessed with fitness. In good weather hiking in the Coast Mountains are a big part of many locals’ routine. Visitors can take advantage of several part- or all-day hikes and walks of varying difficulty. Vancouver visitors can enjoy two hiking areas listed below, as both hiking areas are accessible by public transit. You can learn about additional Vancouver hikes at Vancouver Trails. Always hike prepared.

  1. Lynn Headwaters Regional Park area. A variety of hikes on 32 miles of well-maintained trails are possible in lovely Lynn Canyon, which is between 3,888-foot Mt. Fromme and 3,200-foot Lynn Peak. Public transportation is available from downtown Vancouver. The park has a good trail map.

    • Easy Hike: Varley Trail. The easiest hike is a 1.8 mile stroll on Varley Trail which generally runs alongside Lynn Creek.

    • Difficult Hikes: Longer and more difficult hikes are available from the trailhead, including the steep climb to Lynn Peak’s summit.

    • The Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre is in the same area, and makes a nice stop-off after a hike.

  2. Grouse Mountain area. Grouse is the region’s most-hiked mountain, and combines public lands with a privately-owned resort. While most visitors reach the mountaintop via gondola, it’s possible to hike up the mountain, and to continue hiking beyond the above station. Grouse is easy to reach by car, taxi, or public transit.

    • Difficult Hike: The Grouse Grind. Locals are crazy about the grueling climb called the Grouse Grind, some people refer to as “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster.” Much of the hike is on manmade stairs, parts are on switchback trail, and parts require minor scrambling up natural rock stairs. The distance is 1.8 miles, of which 2,800 feet is vertical rise, making this an extremely steep hike. You can ride the gondola back down for $10.

    • Moderate Hike: Goat Mountain. This half-day hike will take you to a 4,265 foot mountaintop with views of the entire Vancouver region, and even into the United States. The trail starts at the top of Grouse Mountain, so most hikers will need to buy a gondola ticket as adding the Grouse Grind hike to the Goat Mountain hike may be too much effort in one day. Instructions for reaching Goat Mountain are clear on the Vancouver Trails site.

    • Easy Walk: Grizzly Bear Habitat. Grouse Mountain’s summit area is home to a Vancouver’s pair of grizzlies. The bears, named Grinder and Coola, live in a very large natural mountain habitat, behind safety fences. Each was orphaned as a cub, and unable to care for itself, nor able to be reintroduced into the wild. During warm weather, they generally can be easily seen near public trails. From the top of the Grouse Grind or the Gondola, it is a 15-minute walk to the grizzly habitat.

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