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If you’re looking for the ultimate city for outdoor adventures, Vancouver is a top contender. This coastal city in British Columbia has a wonderful blend of the urban experience and the natural environment. Hiking in Vancouver is one of the best ways to get outside and see all of the rugged, wild nature that this region of Canada has to offer! From evergreen forests to crashing waterfalls, sweeping mountaintops to the calm seaside, Vancouver offers a diverse set of outdoor experiences for hikers of all levels. We created this guide to the best hikes near Vancouver to help you plan your next outdoor adventure!

Photo Credit: Colin Knowles (Flickr CC)

Easy Hikes in Vancouver

Stanley Park Seawall

  • Trail Length: 10 kilometers
  • Location: Stanley Park, Vancouver

Located off the coast of Vancouver, the Stanley Park Seawall trail is easily one of the most scenic spots for hiking in Vancouver proper. Stanley Park is a formerly indigenous area of Vancouver, which features large, rocky cliffs and evergreen forests. The Seawall Trail runs around the perimeter of the park (bordering the coastline) and is a popular spot for locals to go running, biking, and walking. For one of the most convenient and accessible hikes in Vancouver for all levels of hikers, the Stanley Park Seawall is a great place to start.

Lighthouse Park

  • Trail Length: Varies
  • Location: West Vancouver

If you’re in the mood for a nautical hike, the trails at Lighthouse Park are a wonderful and easy way to explore this historic area. Unsurprisingly, this trail system boasts views of a historic lighthouse, as well as local plant and wildlife and views of the rocky shoreline of Vancouver. Locals especially love this park for hiking in Vancouver because it’s family-friendly and dog-friendly, meaning that you can bring the whole crew along to enjoy the lighthouse and the tranquil seaside vibes!

Photo Credit: GotoVan (Flickr CC)

Quarry Rock

  • Trail Length: 3.7 kilometers
  • Location: Cove Forest (northwest Vancouver)

Arguably the most popular of the easy hikes near Vancouver, Quarry Rock offers tremendously beautiful views to hikers of all levels. It’s definitely popular for a reason – you’ll get to see bird’s eye views over the water to the lush, forested areas surrounding Vancouver. We’d strongly recommend starting this hike early or going on a weekday, as it is one of the most crowded hikes in the area due to its easy trails and beautiful views.

Photo Credit: sharkhats (Flickr CC)

Lynn Canyon

  • Trail Length: 1.9 kilometers
  • Location: Northern Vancouver

A family-friendly trail near the north side of Vancouver, Lynn Canyon is one of the best hikes in Vancouver for beginners and less experienced hikers. It’s also great for people seeking beautiful, unique views, with a stunning 157′ suspension bridge that catches the eye of many artists and photographers in the Vancouver area. Along the way, you’ll find waterfalls, gorges, and thick evergreen forests. The trail is only 1.9 kilometers, perfect for a short, easy hike that’s not far at all from the center of Vancouver.

Photo Credit: Guilhem Vellut (Flickr CC)

Killarney Lake Loop

  • Trail Length: 7.9 kilometers
  • Location: Bowen Island

For an easy, scenic trail through the forest that boasts some particularly stunning views of Killarney Lake, the Killarney Lake Loop is a fantastic hike for all levels. This trail combines dirt trails with scenic boardwalks through the tropical forest and along the waterfront, perfect for misty days or those times when shade would be best. Don’t be fooled by the easy terrain on the trail – the views from the trail are absolutely incredible, with views across the lake to the surrounding mountains.

Dog Mountain

  • Trail Length: 4.5 kilometers
  • Location: Mount Seymour Provincial Park

If it’s an alpine-type environment you’re looking for, Dog Mountain offers bird’s eye views and evergreen forests to hikers of all levels. It’s the perfect place to go hiking near Vancouver for families or those wanting an easy, short trail. Bridges and trails will lead you through shady, forested areas and to some really stunning views of the surrounding forests and mountains. On clear days, you can see out to the water and the islands nearby.

Photo Credit: Michael Dorausch (Flickr CC)

Norvan Falls

  • Trail Length: 16.7 kilometer
  • Location: North Vancouver

For a day-long adventure on an easy-to-hike trail, Norvan Falls is a fantastic hike for all levels of experience. You’ll meander through the forest and pass by gorgeous waterfalls, with beautiful mossy tree trunks scattered between waterways.. While it’s lengthier than the other easy hikes at 16.7 kilometers, the trail itself is flat, easy and scenic. If you’re looking for the best day hikes in Vancouver, Norvan Falls will definitely give you and your fellow hikers a long, fun, and accessible adventure.

Photo Credit: Giuseppe Milo (via Flickr CC)

Moderate Hikes Near Vancouver

Joffre Lakes

  • Trail Length: 7.7 kilometers
  • Location: Joffre Lakes Provincial Park

While it’s 2.5 hours from the city, we couldn’t write a guide to hiking near Vancouver without listing one of the area’s most iconic hikes – Joffre Lakes. You’ve probably seen this hike all over landscape photographers’ Instagram accounts, as it has grown significantly in popularity over the last few years. With its turquoise waters, shady evergreens, and stunning snow-capped mountains, this moderately difficult hike packs a punch in terms of photogenic spots to go hiking in the Coast Mountains.

St. Marks Summit

  • Trail Length: 10.8 kilometers
  • Location: Cypress Provincial Park

Seaside cliff views meet foggy forests at St. Marks Summit, a moderately difficult trail located in Northwest Vancouver. Getting to the summit will take you through quintessential Pacific Northwest terrain, with tall evergreens and moss-covered trunks. Once you get to the top, you can hike out to the rocky outcroppings and see views of the islands off the bay, which is especially beautiful in the early morning or late afternoon. If you want to see the views, however, go hiking on a day that is clear – otherwise, you’ll be greeted with thick clouds and fog from the top.

Photo Credit: Brodie Guy (Flickr CC)

Elfin Lakes

  • Trail Length: 20.1 kilometers
  • Location: Garibaldi Provincial Park

Beloved by locals for short backpacking trips, the Elfin Lakes trip is one of the most visually stunning moderate hikes in Vancouver and the surrounding areas. At 20.1 kilometers, it’s very long, but local hikers typically split that over the course of 2-3 days. Unlike some of the summit hikes on our list, Elfin Lakes boasts sweeping views of the surrounding mountains almost all the way throughout. If you don’t want to camp in one of the many campsites, you can stay at the Elfin Lakes shelter, a bunk house for backpackers run by BC parks ($15/person per night).

Mount Cheam

  • Trail Length: 7.7 kilometers
  • Location: Bridal Veil Falls Park

Mount Cheam is one of the few moderately difficult summit hikes in Vancouver that will take you above the tree line, rewarding you with breathtaking views of some of the rocky, bare peaks in the region. While there is an uphill, it’s fairly gradual and accessible to less experienced hikers who are ready to work! This hike is best done on clear days, where you can see the exceptional views of the mountains nearby. Note that this trail is quite exposed, so be prepared for the potential of direct sun and strong wind. You’ll also need a 4×4 to access the trail head.

Mount Seymour

  • Trail Length: 8.2 kilometers
  • Location: Mount Seymour Provincial Park

If you want to bag not one, not two, but three peaks in one hike, the Mount Seymour trail is the perfect (and not too difficult) way to do so. The views from these rocky peaks are second to none, with sweeping panoramas of the sea and the surrounding mountains on clear days. With a gradual incline leading hikers up 570 meters of elevation gain, it’s not too difficult but will definitely work your legs on the ascent. The rewards at the top are absolutely worth the effort!

Photo Credit: Sathish J (Flickr CC)

Difficult Hikes Near Vancouver

Panorama Ridge

  • Trail Length: 28.3 miles
  • Location: Garibaldi Provincial Park

Not for the faint of heart, the Panorama Ridge hike is one of the longest and most challenging day hikes in Vancouver and the nearby areas, but is also one of the most iconic. At nearly 30 kilometers, this hike will take a full day (likely 11 hours or more) or require an overnight stay at one of the trail’s campsites. Given its length and 1,540 meter elevation gain, this trail takes experienced, adventurous hikers through all of the essential Vancouver landscapes – foggy, mossy forests, alpine lakes, and of course, rocky peaks. From the top, on clear days, you’ll be rewarded with one of the the absolute best views in the entire Vancouver region.

Garibaldi Lake

  • Trail Length: 21 kilometers
  • Location: Lexington, KY

If you’re looking for a slightly shorter hike than Panorama Ridge, Garibaldi Lake is a fantastic alternative. This 21-kilometer difficult hike is one of the most popular spots for camping and hiking near Vancouver. This scenic trail will take you through the pine forests and pas waterfalls and scenic viewpoints, before the beautiful finale at the scenic and incredibly gorgeous Garibaldi Lake.

You can choose to hang out here and hike back down or spend a night at the neighboring campsite. At the lake, you’ll find turquoise blue waters and breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains in the park. There’s a reason why Garibaldi Lake is such a popular trail – it is an absolutely incredible (and challenging) hike!

Photo Credit: Lisa (Flickr CC)

Black Tusk

  • Trail Length: 25.9 kilometers
  • Location: Garibaldi Provincial Park

Another popular trail in Garibaldi Provincial Park, Black Tusk is visible from many of the other peaks in the area (including Panorama Ridge). As a strenuous, challenging hike, this one definitely isn’t for beginners or those who haven’t experienced alpine hiking before. It’s also a popular spot for a 2-3 day backpacking trip, as there are several campsites along the way. Be sure to bring snow shoes or crampons as the trail usually gets snowy and icy in the winter and shoulder seasons. In the summertime, be prepared to scramble up loose rock the last 2 kilometers. Your hard work will be rewarded by a a 360 degree view of Garibaldi lake, Shark’s Fin, and Mt. Garibaldi.

Crown Mountain

  • Trail Length: 8.9 kilometers
  • Location: Lynn Headwaters Regional Park

The trail up to Crown Mountain is a challenging trek that will test your determination and your ankles. What makes this hike especially difficult is the steep hike down to Crown Pass before another steep ascent to the true summit of Crown Mountain, meaning you effectively climb up the mountain twice each way. Be prepared for loos gravel and scrambling with the air of bolted chains. Your view at the top lets you see the gorgeous Capilano Watershed area, and, on an especially clear day, the city of Vancouver in the distance. Hikers can take the Grouse Mountain Skyride up part of the way. If you’re feeling especially ambitious, the Grouse Grind, BCMC Trail, and Hanes Valley trail can all be added on to the start of your summit trek.

Photo Credit: Jay Huang (Flickr CC)

Grouse Grind

  • Trail Length: 2.9 kilometers
  • Location: Grouse Mountain Park

The Grouse Grind is a popular hiking destination located within the borders of Vancouver. Sitting at just under 3 kilometers, this trail takes hikers up a stone and wooden staircase 780 meters to the top of Grouse Mountain. Set aside about 1.5 to 2 hours for this hike. It’s recommended to take the Grouse Mountain Gondola down (free trip downhill) to keep the trail safe from loose gravel pelting down on the ascending hikers. This trail can get crowded during the busy season. At the top of the mountain are cafes, restaurants, and bars, offering a delicious reward to the hikers that finish the grind.

The Lions

  • Trail Length: 12.4 kilometers
  • Location: Lions Bay

An iconic landmark overlooking the Howe Sound, the Lions are two twin peaks north of Vancouver. This 4 hour trail will take you to the ridge of the Lions. Here, you’ll catch stunning views of the Howe Sound and the North Shore mountains. Most of the hike is a steady incline up a gravel path. You’ll pass over a bridge which will be your last chance to refill your water before the top. The “heads” of the Lions are climbable, but they require extensive scrambling and straight-up bouldering. Do NOT attempt without a buddy or if you are afraid of heights.

Photo Credit: ActiveSteve (Flickr CC)

Golden Ears Trail

  • Trail Length: 21.7 kilometers
  • Location: Golden Ears Provincial Park

One of the most epic hikes near Vancouver, Golden Ears trail takes you up to the northern summit of the mountain. This trek is perfect for backpackers, as there are several campsites located within the park, as well as 6 tent platforms near the peak. Panoramic views of Pitt Lake wait at the end of the hike. We wouldn’t recommend this trail to any beginner hikers as the route is very technical. Additionally, the elevation gain means unpredictable climate. There’s an emergency shelter located near the top for hikers who get stranded by bad weather.

Photo Credit: Simon Morris (Flickr CC)

Stawamus Chief

  • Trail Length: 6.1 kilometers
  • Location: Stawamus Chief Park

A classic hike near Vancouver, the Stawamus Chief is a trail that takes hikers up one of the three peaks of this picturesque mountain. This trail is mostly wooden stairs and can get a bit crowded during the summer months. Ascending to the first peak requires climbing a metal ladder.More experienced hikers have the option to ascend all three peaks, adding about 5 kilometers to the trek. This option requires a lot of elevation change but will offer three unique perspectives and views of the Howe Sound and the town of Squamish below.

Photo Credit: JayCWSee (Flickr CC)

Wedgemount Lake

  • Trail Length: 10.3 kilometers
  • Location: Garibaldi Provincial Park

Wedgemount Lake is a gorgeous alpine lake located within Garibaldi Provincial park. This hike is known as one of the most challenging trails in the park, partly due to its steep elevation gain. The trail will initially take you through an old forest and some moderate switchbacks. Eventually, you’ll reach a viewpoint looking out at the 300 meter tall Wedgemount Waterfall. Once you cross the treeline, you’ll scramble up to the British Columbia Mountaineering Club hut. The end of the trail is a short distance further, offering spectacular views of glaciers and Wedgemount Lake, which is known for its radiant turquoise blue color.

Additional Resources for Hiking in Vancouver

What to Pack for Hiking in Vancouver

  • Hiking boots – You can’t hike without appropriate footwear, period. For most trails, we recommend an all-purpose waterproof boot with ankle support. We recommend Salomon hiking boots or Keen hiking boots for a comfortable hike.
  • Breathable hiking clothes – For warmer hikes, you’ll want to stay cool in a sweat-wicking shirt/tank top and breathable pants, like these PrAna hiking pants for men and women. For cold-weather hikes, we recommend dressing in layers, including merino wool baselayers, an insulated puffer jacket, and a waterproof outer shell. And don’t forget a pair of the best hiking socks in the world!
  • Trekking poles – You won’t need these for every single hike, but we recommend throwing them in your car anyway just in case. We recommend the Black Diamond foldable trekking poles, which are lightweight and easy to transport.
  • Water bottle – Having water available at all times is a huge must. To spare disposable plastic, we recommend bringing your own refillable water bottle. We’re obsessed with Hydro Flask bottles because they keep water cold for hours, but a good old Nalgene works very well too.
  • Sunscreen and bug spray – This should be self-explanatory, but sweatproof sunscreen and DEET bug spray can help you avoid sunburn and bug bites, two of hiking’s most annoying after-effects.
  • A brimmed hat or cap – The sun can be brutal in open hikes, so always pack a brimmed hat or cap for day hikes in the sunshine.
  • Emergency blanket and first aid kit – We’d strongly recommend bringing a first aid kit and a lightweight emergency blanket on every hike. Why? Because the unfathomable can happen, and it’s always best to play it safe.
  • Durable day pack – A durable day pack is the perfect spot to stash all your hiking gear. While any backpack will do, we recommend Osprey day packs because they’re comfortable and breathable for long hikes.

Wondering what exactly you should pack for your next hike? Visit our Complete Day Hiking Packing List for our full list and our top gear recommendations.

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