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The Best Hiking Within an Hour of Vancouver

From legendary seaside mountain vistas to stress-free forests Vancouver will put you on the path to peace with its eclectic menu of heavenly hikes.

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I grew up doing it but it's still amazing to me that you can be shoulder to shoulder with the masses on public transit then 20 minutes later on a mountain trail of eerie silence.

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Ashley Pilfold is a freelance storyteller: when he's not out discovering new places he’s studying languages and seeking out patio happy hours and Neapolitan pizza joints.

What you need to know

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Vancouver is an outdoors-haven for people of all levels of fitness and experience. With countless mountains in our backyard, there are nearly unlimited number of walks, hikes, and treks to explore.

Why people love Vancouver What you can do in Vancouver Visit Tourism Vancouver
Who is it for

Solo Travellers

Families

Adventurers

Nature lovers

When to visit

Spring

Summer

Time needed

2 hours

For a bit of fresh air

8 hours

To grind out a real hike

What to bring

A snack

Sturdy shoes

A good camera

Plenty of fluids

Distance to major centres

20 to 130 km from downtown

Travel times from Downtown Vancouver

20 minute drive (closest)

1 hour drive (furthest)

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The Best Hiking Within an Hour of Vancouver


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A Casual Stroll with a View at Quarry Rock

There are few if any places in a big city that can just switch it up to small town mode in a blink of an eye and Deep Cove is one of them. It could be the setting for a Murder, She Wrote reboot if not for its complete lack of murders. This quick, low difficulty, transit-accessible 2.0 km hike starting from Panorama Park takes around 30 minutes and is made manageable by a series of wooden walkways. Expect the trip over to take about 70 minutes using the 211 bus from downtown or just 30 minutes by car. It’s an inclusive and low stress outdoorsy option for virtually any age or skill level and the rewards for its completion are an amazing view of Deep Cove and the Burnaby/Simon Fraser University skylin

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Deep Cove Community Association

Hosted by Deep Cove Community Association

Nature’s Stairmaster at The Grouse Grind

It’s a given for locals and tourists alike to take a little spin on “mother nature’s Stairmaster” but let me warn you that this isn’t a 15-minute jog where you can just push a button and get off. The 2.9 km mountain staircase through the old-growth coniferous forest in North Vancouver to the top of world-famous Grouse Mountain is a rewarding challenge even if some pros can dust it off in about 30 minutes. For those with an average fitness level expect it to take about an hour and a half. The reward aside from all those burned calories is a panoramic view of the city and harbor that can’t be done justice with all the filters in the world. It’s best to just grab a beer at The Observator

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Grouse Mountain

Hosted by Grouse Mountain

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Black Tusk’s Imposing Peak

This dark, jagged rock face is an old stratovolcano sticking 6000 feet into the air and hanging imposingly over nearby Garibaldi Provincial Park - an hour drive outside the city. The local Squamish tribe traditionally referred to it as the ‘Landing Place of the Thunderbird’ since it looks like it has been scorched by lightning. The reward at the top is a unique view of the dwarfed snow-covered tops of nearby mountains. It’s a 29 km round trip hike so pack the right shoes and be prepared to put in the work. I prefer taking the western approach called the Rubble Creek route as it offers views of crystal blue Garibaldi Lake. Being the more popular route the parking lot fills up fast so get there ea

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Garibaldi Provincial Park

Hosted by Garibaldi Provincial Park

A Forest Frolic at Pacific Spirit Regional Park

For those not wanting a heavy hike half way to the heavens then Vancouver’s west side offers 750 hectares of lush, virtually unspoiled woods for a look at what the city used to be before the Coast Salish arrived. The forest is served by a network of well served trails where locals walk their dogs, ride horses, or bike afternoons away though forests of maple, douglas fir, and hemlock trees - it’s open year round so is a great place for some mid-winter head clearing. I have fond childhood memories here of stumbling onto sun-filled clearings, eating huckleberries, and watching frog-filled ponds come to life. To close your eyes here and take in the sounds of silence with a few birds chirps is as peace

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Stroll at Pacific Spirit Park

Hosted by Pacific Spirit Park Society

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Coastal Views up at Tunnel Bluffs

With just a slight 470 meter altitude gain and its moderate 4 hour commitment you can be sure your effort-to-view ratio ratio here at Tunnel Bluffs will be alpine-like. The old logging road at the tip of the cute seaside village Lion’s Bay will give you a glimpse into Vancouver’s early days as an important timber producing region. More importantly, the long stretches of flat trails criss-crossing creeks and connected by old log bridges give a unique feel like some sort of boy/girl scout trek. I like taking a pause at the second creek (about 4 km into the hike) to have a snack and a drink - there’s partial views of Howe Sound that are a great sneak preview of what’s to come up top! There you’

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Lion's Bay Village

Hosted by The Village of Lion's Bay

The Massive Stawamus Chief

This massive 2296 foot granite monolith towering over the town of Squamish is one of the largest in North America and Vancouverites flock here to hike its three peaks for an epic view reward of nearby Howe Sound. If you’re an intermediate looking to get the heart rate up with a small incline challenge this is a great option - the classic day trip itinerary to the third peak takes about 6 hours round trip. Sometimes if I’m short on time I just do the first two peaks (2.5 hours return) because it allows me to go visit nearby Squamish, a highly recommended addition to the day trip especially for tourists. Add in about 75 minutes for the drive from the city. The trip is also a great opportunity to tak

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Explore Squamish

exploresquamish.com

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