Just getting into hiking? Want to impress some out-of-towners who don’t own a pair of hiking boots? These five easy hikes in Vancouver can usually be done in running shoes (but hiking boots / trail runners are always better) and provide a nice walk in the forest, with little stretches of uphill to give you an excuse to eat a hearty brunch afterwards.
1. Quarry Rock Hike
This extremely popular hike in Deep Cove offers a nice trail that gets you sweating without too much elevation gain. The trail is dog friendly and sometimes you even see people walking it in sandals. Best of all, after the hike there is a great viewpoint at the end that looks out into Deep Cove and up Indian Arm.
- How to get there: Head to Deep Cove, turn onto Panorama Drive and if you’re lucky you’ll find a parking spot. Keep walking along the road until you see the hike entrance on your left (other side from the water).
- Time to complete: 30 minutes if you’re going fast, 1 hour+ if you’re enjoying the trail
- Distance: 3.8km (round-trip)
- Best time to go: Any time, this trail is always open.
- What makes it special: The chance to pet many dogs, also the view at the end is great.
2. Rice Lake and Lynn Headwaters
Located in Lynn Valley, this picturesque area is popular with nature-lovers for good reason. For a super simple walk/hike, just take a stroll around the lake.
If you want to go further, head over to the Lynn Headwaters area to either walk along with river (bonus: there are lots of nice dogs on this trail!) or do the Lynn Loop hike for some added variety and a little bit more of a workout.
There are plenty of extension-opportunities as well – you can try heading out to Lynn Falls if you’re feeling really up to a 14 km hike, or even Lynn Peak if you really want to sweat.
- How to get there: You can park either at Lynn Headwaters at the top of Lynn Valley Road, or in the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve.
- Time to complete: 30 mins to 2 hours
- Distance: Varies
- Best time to go: Any weather is fine, as it’s mostly forest without the views.
- What makes it special: Dogs are allowed in the Lynn Headwaters portion off-leash. Popular trail-running spot.
3. Whyte Lake
A great hike on a warm day, the Whyte Lake trail has you weaving in and out of old growth forest on a short journey to a picturesque lake. If you’re feeling sweaty at the end, just dive in! Or, just say hello to the resident ducks.
- How to get there: Take Exit #4 Woodgreen Drive to Caufield from the Highway in West Van. At the stop sign, turn left onto Woodgreen Drive. At the 4-way stop, go straight onto, what is now called Westport Road, and follow this road as it briefly goes up a hill, then winds its way down and passes under the highway. Immediately after passing under the highway, turn right into a gravel parking area and park in a spot as close to the metal gate as possible. The trail begins from the metal gate.
- Time to complete: 2 – 3 hours depending on how long you stay at the lake
- Distance: 5km (round-trip)
- Best time to go: When you’re feeling lazy but want to get outside
- What makes it special: The big old trees, the lake at the end, the community feel.
4. Pacific Spirit Park
Located near the UBC Vancouver campus, Pacific Spirit Park is an oasis in the city. You can get lost in the trails, exploring new routes for hours only to pop out back at Kitsilano Beach. The towering trees and serene pathways are a great space to spend an afternoon. There are many different pathways to take in the park, so make sure to study a map before you enter.
If you’re feeling especially adventurous, take a path down to Wreck Beach or Tower Beach to enjoy the relaxed, care-free environment of the nude beach.
- How to get there: Head to UBC in Point Grey, park at the beach and wander up, or park along 16th avenue or Southwest Marine Drive to explore.
- Time to complete: 1 – 2 hours
- Distance: Varies depending on route
- Best time to go: Any time of the day, but gets busier in the afternoon.
- What makes it special: The immediate access to the beach.
5. Dog Mountain Trail
A nice and short (5 km round trip) hike up Mount Seymour that offers amazing views of Vancouver. The trail for Dog Mountain begins from the parking lot and is easy to follow with markers. In the winter time you can also snow shoe on the trail.
- How to get there: On Highway One, take exit #22, Mt. Seymour Parkway. Turn right onto Mt. Seymour Parkway and continue until Mt. Seymour Road (just after a shopping complex) where you turn left. Continue straight up the mountain for 13km.
- Time to complete: 2 hours
- Distance: 5km (round-trip)
- Best time to go: On a clear, sunny day. Or, at night with headlamps to enjoy the sparkling city views.
- What makes it special: The great view and ability to do it any time of year