11 Best Hikes Near Vancouver: Top Trails & Hiking Areas in Every Metro Vancouver City
The city of Vancouver, BC, is an outdoorsy community and one of Canada's prettiest metro areas. People here love to enjoy the beautiful outdoor settings and many parks, which provide ample trails for hiking, biking and strolling. Each community in the Vancouver Metro has its own hidden gems for hiking, and if you're moving to Vancouver, this wealth of hiking trails is a huge plus. Here's a guide to some of the best hiking trails in Metro Vancouver.
The Capilano River and Capilano Lake are the dividing lines that separate West Vancouver from the rest of the city. Everything west of the River is part of "West Vancouver" to the coast. The community's southern boundary is Burrard Inlet, and there are many West Vancouver waterfront homes and luxury condos along the beautiful shoreline. Here are some great hiking trails to explore in the city of West Vancouver.
Lighthouse Park is a seaside park located at the far southwestern edge of West Vancouver. This 75-hectare green space has multiple hiking trails branching out from the parking lot. Hike either direction from the parking lot and follow the path for a 6-kilometre "easy" loop that ends up back at the parking lot. Hikers will pass by the Lighthouse, a National Historic Landmark, as they traverse this wooded park. Dogs are allowed off-leash so long as they stay on the park's trail system with their owners.
Capilano River Regional Park
The Capilano River Regional Park is in the northern part of West Vancouver, between the Cleveland Dam and the golf course homes surrounding Capilano Golf & Country Club. Nine trails in the park range from "easy" to "moderate," and signs along each trail indicate whether dogs are allowed on-leash or off-leash. One of the best trails here is the Capilano Pacific Trail, a 7.5-kilometre out-and-back trail with a 235-meter elevation change. Another is the Coho Loop Trail, which is a 1-kilometre loop with some scenic views.
The community of North Vancouver's eastern boundary is Lynn Creek, and its western boundary is McKay Creek. Its southern boundary is the north shore of the Vancouver Harbor, and 29 Avenue marks the community's northern edge. All of the city's shoreline makes for plenty of spectacular North Vancouver waterfront homes. Here are some popular hiking trails in the city of North Vancouver.
Quarry Rock: Baden Powell Trailhead, Deep Cove
The Quarry Rock hike along the Baden Powell Trail is a nice day trip from North Vancouver. Use the parking lot at Panorama Park in Deep Cove, and then walk to the park's northern end to find the trailhead across the street. This is about a 3.8-kilometre hike along a mostly dirt trail, with a couple of footbridges to cross. Hikers can reach Quarry Rock, which looks out over the Indian Arm of the harbour, presenting spectacular views. There are numerous other hiking trails here in the Cove Forest that are worth exploring.
Lynn Loop: Lynn Headwaters Regional Park
Lynn Headwaters Regional Park is a few minutes' drive north of North Vancouver. This true wilderness park has more than 40 hiking trails ranging from "easy" to "challenging." Lynn Loop is one of the easy trails, covering 5.4 kilometres of mostly flat terrain. The more challenging routes have challenging terrain to navigate and some steep climbs. Using the Lynn Headwaters Regional Park trail map is the best way to find a route most suitable for an individual or group. The trails here are "leash optional" for dogs.
Grouse Grind: Grouse Mountain base
The Grouse Grind is a brutal 2,830 steps up to the top of the Grouse Mountain ski area north of North Vancouver. This is a one-way trip with uphill traffic only. People use the Skyride lift from the top to return to the parking lot for a $20 fee. The trail runs straight up the mountain for 2.5 kilometres and features an 800-meter elevation change. Most people who take on the Grouse Grind are seasoned trail runners.
The city of Port Moody is a water-privileged community located to the east of Vancouver. It features many waterfront homes and hillside luxury homes, and the community surrounds the southern arm of Vancouver Harbor. Here are some favourite trails located near Port Moody.
Dilly Dally Loop: Buntzen Lake
Hikers who want to take on the "difficult" rated Dilly Dally Loop can park at Buntzen Lake for their adventure. This 25-kilometre loop trail takes about 12 hours, so it's not for the faint of heart. It features a 1,100-meter elevation change, no matter which direction hikers choose. July through October is the best time to take on this challenge, although the trail is also open to snowshoeing in the winter. Dogs must always be on a leash when hiking the Dilly Dally Loop.
Diez Vista: Buntzen Lake Recreation Area
For a less challenging hike in the Buntzen Lake Recreation Area, try the Diez Vista trail. This 7-kilometre out-and-back trail features a 460-meter elevation change. The trail is fairly straightforward, but those wanting to hike to the end and back should be fit and carry drinking water. Leashed dogs are welcome in the recreation area. The trail crosses suspension bridges in different areas and rewards hikers with stunning views of North Vancouver and the nearby bodies of water and forests.
The city of Abbotsford is a sprawling, suburban community southeast of Vancouver on the Canada-US border. The community's northern border is the beautiful Fraser River. The Subas Mountain Regional Park—one of Abbotsford's best parks—has a great "moderate" hike called the Abby Grind.
The Abby Grind is not as steep or challenging as the Grouse Grind described above, but it's still a good trail running and climbing experience. The Abby Grind is also identified as the "Glenn Ryder Trail" on some smartphone GPS maps. There's a gravel parking lot at the base of the trail near the Abbotsford Fish & Game Club. The trail is about 4 kilometres out-and-back but takes about 90 minutes to complete; it features a 400-meter elevation change to reach the top, where hikers can look south across much of Abbotsford. Leashed dogs are welcome on the trail.
The city of Burnaby is located between Vancouver and Port Moody. This large suburb is home to Simon Fraser University and numerous parks with beautiful hiking trails and scenic views. It's also bordered by the city of New Westminster to the south. Here are a couple of great trails to explore in Burnaby.
Burnaby Lake Regional Park
Burnaby Lake is a significant body of water in the city's centre, and it's considered one of the best lakes near Surrey. The area surrounding the lake is Burnaby Lake Regional Park. There is a 10-kilometre wooded hike that circles the lake. The trail is flat and rated "easy," although it can sometimes get muddy. A footbridge called the West Bridge of Burnaby Lake crosses the water on the western edge of the regional park. To the east, the trail crosses the Cariboo Dam. It takes around two hours to circle the lake, but the terrain is flat and suitable for families with kids. Leashed dogs are welcome on the trail but not in the park's picnic areas.
The city of Maple Ridge is directly east of Vancouver, with the Fraser River forming its southern border. It's directly east of the city of Pitt Meadows. Although there are several great parks in Maple Ridge with hiking trails, one of the best is at Golden Ears Provincial Park in the northern part of the city limits.
Mike Lake: Golden Ears Provincial Park
Travel northeast from Maple Ridge along the Golden Ears Parkway to reach the Mike Lake hike. Look for the sign marked "Golden Ears Main Horse Corral" on the left-hand side of the road. The trail takes off to the north from the parking lot at the corral. This rugged forest trail features a 300-meter elevation change, making the hike easy. However, the trail is a little over 11 kilometres out and back. The trail comes to Mike Lake, a small and scenic lake in the park, before heading back south to the parking lot. Leashed dogs are welcome.
Deer Lake: Deer Lake Park
Deer Lake Park is located just southwest of Burnaby Lake Regional Park. This park is much more developed and features paved trails, dirt trails, and a wooden boardwalk surrounding the lake. The park has multiple features and venues that are worth exploring:
- Burnaby Village Museum
- Burnaby Art Gallery
- Century Gardens
- Eagles Estate Heritage Garden
- Shadbolt Centre for the Arts
- Spirit Square
The loop trail surrounding the lake is about 5 kilometres long and can be completed in an hour at a brisk pace, though most people will want to pause and view the lake and some of the wildlife in the area. The trail is flat and is rated "easy."
Explore Metro Vancouver's Beauty on Foot
Vancouver is lucky to have many wooded areas, provincial parks and outdoor areas with many hiking spots for everyone to enjoy. Plenty of them are located in Vancouver's best suburbs, too. All the hikes listed above are free for everyone in the Vancouver Metro area, although some locations are about a 90-minute drive from the city. While these are the best spots to hike in the area, many more are available than listed here. Get out and start exploring to experience Metro Vancouver's natural wonders and beauty!