Amazing Vancouver Hiking

With the warm days of summer just around the corner, this is the perfect time of year to start planning some day hikes in the Coast Mountains. I make an effort to get out and do a solid hike every week throughout the year. Even in the winter, some of the hikes mentioned below can be done with good boots, skis or snowshoes; such as Dog Mountain, Diez Vistas and Mount Seymour.

What  I find most amazing about Vancouver is living in an urban environment but still having amazing backcountry wilderness on our doorstep. All of these 10 hikes are within 1-2 hours driving distance from the city of Vancouver and they can be completed in a single day. As you can see for yourself in the photos below, all of these 10 hikes offer exceptional views.

1. Dog Mountain

Vancouver's Natural Harbour from the Dog Mountain Bluffs

A surreal view of Vancouver’s natural harbour and the distant peaks of Vancouver Island as the sun sets.

Photo Credit: Kyle Pearce

The Dog Mountain bluffs offer the best-hike-to-view ratio in the Lower Mainland. I try to do this hike at least once a month since it is a quick 25 minutes drive from downtown and it only takes about 1 or 2 hours to complete. Plus, it is an easy hike in the snow.

The trailhead begins just past the Bear’s Paw lodge at the far end of the Mount Seymour parking lot. In the summer, the Dog Mountain bluffs and the other ridgelines higher up in Mount Seymour Provincial Park are an excellent place to watch meteor showers and observe the northern lights. While you can’t camp on the Dog Mountain bluffs, there are many backcountry camping spots in the park where you can camp with a view of the sparkling lights of Vancouver from your campsite.

2. Stawamus Chief

Colourful Squamish Marina

The mysterious crouching Stawamus Chief seen from the Squamish Marina.

Photo Credit: Kyle Pearce

The Stawamus Chief, or “The Chief”, is the second largest free standing granite outcropping in the world (after the Rock of Gibraltar). There are three domed summits you can hike to, all accessed by a trail that starts on the side of Stawamus Chief Provincial Park near Shannon Falls. The lowest dome takes about 3 hours and the highest dome takes 5 hours (all times are return trips).

The Chief in Squamish is also a world-famous rock climbing destination. Many professional climbers will spend the summer months living in the Stawamus Chief Provincial Park campground at the base. There are also day climbing tours available in the nearby town of Squamish to climb one of the many challenges routes on the front face.

3. St. Mark’s Summit

Howe Sound from St Mark's Summit

A spectacular view over the mouth of Howe Sound. You can see Bowen Island on top left, the smaller Anvil Island to the right and the mountains of Vancouver Island fade into the clouds in the distance.

Photo Credit: Realaworld

St Mark’s summit is an intermediate hike that starts by the Cypress Mountain day lodge. It winds 11 km along the Howe Sound Crest Trail. It takes about 5 hours to get to the summit and back.

If you’re really ambitious and you want to hike the entire Howe Crest Sound Trail it takes 1-2 days to hike the full 32 km. There are many other mountains along the trail that have much better views like the Binkert Lions, Unnecessary Mountain and Mount Harvey, but St. Mark’s Summit is the easiest hike and the other peaks can be difficult to reach until mid-to-late summer when the snow has melted.

4. Mount Cheam

Top of Mt. Cheam, Chilliwack, BC

The view of the peak of Mount Cheam with the volcano Mount Baker looming in the background.

Photo Credit: Kyle Hislop

Mount Cheam is the highest peak in the Fraser Valley but also one of the easiest climbs thanks to a logging road that gets you within a one-hour hike of the summit. The road is snowed-in for most of the year so the best time to go is between July and October.

The backcountry forest road can be accessed from Chilliwack Lake road and you will need a 4×4 vehicle. You can find more information on how to get there on the Mount Cheam hike page provided by Vancouver Trails.

5. Mount Baker Recreation Area

Mount Shuksan Evening Reflection

The late summer view of Mount Shuksan reflected in the calm waters of Picture Lake.

Photo Credit: Kyle Pearce

Only a 2-hour drive and a quick border crossing at Sumas from Vancouver, Mount Baker Recreational Area offers amazing high alpine hiking right from the parking lot at 4200 feet. In the summer and fall you can drive up to Artist’s Point and from there you can access many excellent hikes that can be completed in a few hours. The mountain scenery in this area is simply outstanding.

If you want a more challenging hike you can attempt to trek Mount Shuksan pictured above or make the ascent of the 10,781 foot volcano Mount Baker (from the top of both mountains you can see Vancouver on a clear day). In the winter months, Mount Baker Ski Resort offers winter trekking and some of the best powder in the world. The resort actually holds the world record for the most snow at a ski area in a single season. The record-setting snowfall in the 1998-99 season was 1,140 inches (95 feet)!

6. Garibaldi Lake

View of Garibaldi Lake

The view of the aqua blue waters of Garibaldi Lake and Mount Garibaldi from the top of Black Tusk.

Photo Credit: Grant Mattice

The 3-hour hike up to Garibaldi Lake is a tedious trek along seemingly endless switchbacks. But once you arrive at Garibaldi Lake you will be blown away by just how insanely beautiful this glacial lake is. While it can be done in a day, it is better to spend a few days at the beautiful campground along the southern shore.

Book ahead at the Garibaldi Lake Provincial Park campground and from there you can hike to Panorama Ridge, the Battleship Islands, Black Tusk (a highly recommended 3 hour hike from the campground where you can see Whistler and the Pacific Ocean from the same peak), Cheakamus Lake and the amazing wildflowers in the Black Tusk meadows (best seen between the middle of July and middle of August).

7. Diez Vistas

One of the first vistas we saw (the only one before we had to turn back last time)

Photo Credit: David J Laporte

The Diez Vistas trail is a nice 4-6 hour hike along the ridgelines above Indian Arm and Bunsen Lake in Belcarra Regional Park. On the way back down, it is worth stopping at Buntzen Lake or drive 5 minutes to the much warmer Sasamat Lake (also called White Pine Beach) for a swim.

The trailhead begins at the south end of Buntzen Lake. From the main beach you should walk to your left and follow the marshlands to a boardwalk. Walk across the boardwalk and you will see the marked ascent begins on the other side.

8. Crown Mountain

Stanley Cup Ladd

When I saw this photo it just blew me away. Local boy and two-time Stanley Cup champion Andrew Ladd fulfilling his dream to watch the sunrise on Crown Mountain with the Stanley Cup.

Photo Credit: Mark L. Johnson

Crown Mountain is one of the most distinctive peaks visible from downtown Vancouver. You have to take the Grouse Mountain skyride to access the trailhead but I can assure you it’s a lot better hike than taking the crowded, knee-crushing Grouse Grind. The trail starts just beyond the Grizzly Bear refuge on Grouse Mountain and it takes about 5 hours to the peak and back.

The pyramid-like peak in the top left of the picture above is Cathedral Mountain, the highest visible peak from Vancouver in the North Shore Mountains. Brunswick Mountain, the highest peak in the North Shore Mountains at 1,788 m (5,866 ft) is accessed from the Howe Sound Crest Trail. Also highly recommended is Goat Mountain, the peak to the right of Crown Mountain. It is much easier and only takes about 4 hours to the summit and back.

9. Mount Seymour

Mount Seymour

Photo Credit: Karl Woll

Mount Seymour is a 5-hour hike from the Mount Seymour Ski Resort parking lot. The trail follows the edge of Mount Seymour’s ski runs and then you climb the three “pumps”, which are large dome-like mountaintops. The third “pump” is the summit of Mount Seymour. The views of Vancouver and the Lower Mainland on the way down will take your breath away.

I find it is most fun to do this hike in the winter when you can ski, slide or snowboard back down. There are usually lots of interesting and friendly people in the Seymour Backcountry hiking around and building jumps in the winter. If you attain a backcountry camping permit at the Mount Seymour Provincial Park office you can also camp in the park.

10. The Binkert Lions

Summit to the West Lions

Photo Credit: Stephen Lam

The Lions Gate Bridge is named in honour of these distinctive twin peaks and they are a famous natural landmark visible throughout the Lower Mainland. The best way to reach these peaks is an 8-hour hike along the Binkert Trail (named after Paul Binkert of the BC Mountaineering Club) from the village of Lions Bay. You can also hike to the Lions from the Howe Sound Crest Trail that begins in Cypress Provincial Park.

Overall, this is probably the hardest hike on the list and you can only the summit the slightly higher 1,646 m (5,400 ft) West Lion (on the left in the picture) because the East Lion is protected in the Vancouver watershed. It is recommended to have rock climbing equipment and ropes to summit the West Lion but it can be also reached by a slightly dangerous scramble.

So, there you have it, ten of the best hikes that you can do in a day around Vancouver. If you have your own personal favorite hike in the Coast Mountains that isn’t mentioned please feel free to share it with everyone in the comments.

Author kaaist

I started Spirit Quest Adventures to inspire people to protect nature by combining meditation, ecology and adventure. You can follow my adventures on Instagram and Facebook. I build online communities for a living. My main website is DIY Genius.

More posts by kaaist

Join the discussion 128 Comments

  • This is a great list of popular, must-do hikes! I’ve discovered my love for hiking and camping a few years ago and this list was a great reference when I was first getting started. I’ve checked off most of the list now and I’d love to see your suggestions of lesser-known trails to explore. Cheers!

    • kaaist says:

      I’d also recommend checking out Watersprite Lake, Lake Lovelywater and the Tantalus Range in Squamish. All epic hikes.

  • Anna says:

    Hi Kyle – Thanks for your great list of hikes around Vancouver. We are going to Canada in January 2017 and spending 2 weeks in the snow at Revelstoke, then we have a few days in Vancouver before heading home to Australia. We’re not intending on hiring a car. Can you get to any of these places by public transport? What day hikes do you recommend can be done in winter?

    • kaaist says:

      I believe there are daily buses in the winter from the city for the big three North Shore Mountains: Cypress Mountain, Grouse Mountain and Mount Seymour. Check their websites for details.

  • Conor says:

    Hi Kyle. Great list. I have been in Vancouver for 2 years and have hiked previously in Europe and New Zealand. I would consider myeslf a pretty advanced hiker (I think). I have completed all on this list (even did Brunswick Mountain – a really incredible one I’d recommend for anyone who’s u for a huge day-hike!) bar Cheam and Crown. I am waiting to find somebody with a 4×4 for Cheam but wanted to know what you think of hiking Crown in these next 7/10 days? Do you think it’s safe to ascend to the very top?

    Many thanks for yourtime.

    • kaaist says:

      Judging from the view of Crown Mountain from downtown it looks like there is still a lot of snow up there. I think you could still do it but probably better to wait a couple weeks.

  • Bennie says:

    Hi! I am planning to go to Vancouver at the end of July with my two friends. None of us went there before. We are looking for a place where we can hike for a maximum of five hours (5 hours including the way back) or a place that has nice scenery that we dont have to finish the entire hike (shortcut on the way back to the starting point) one of us is a beginner and never hiked in his entire life. We prefer hiking a mountain or something where we can see a good view from up high. We are going to stay in downtown Vancouver and we are not planning to get a car for our trip (we might get one tho). If we do get one or not, where and how can we get to those destinations? We are also thinking of going to Bowen Island or Vancouver Island via ferry to go hiking and to go to the beach there. And if its best to go hiking during July-early August. Any suggestions will be great. Thank you!

    • kaaist says:

      Mount Gardner is a great day hike that you can do on Bowen Island. For a hike in the North Shore Mountains, I’d recommend renting a car and doing Mount Seymour, which is about 5 hours return. You could also do Crown Mountain or Goat Mountain but they require getting a Grouse Mountain Skyride pass for each of you so it would be more expensive. The best time to hike in the mountains is definitely the summer and the fall.

  • alex mckee says:

    In Vancouver until the 15th evening. May 2016. I want to do a climb to touch some snow on a peak.
    I just did the grouse grind and I ran there, climbed, then ran back to the place I am staying so not worried about fitness. But don’t have climbing gear and hope to drive the least amount as possible. What would you recommend. Great list.

    • kaaist says:

      I’d recommend doing Mount Seymour. It’s a 4-5 hour hike and there are three peaks that are still covered in snow but the trail is relatively safe and accessible (with good hiking boots) this time of year. The views of the city and the landscape up in the alpine is truly breathtaking.

  • Matt says:

    Or even on nice hike on Vancouver Island or even some really nice places to visit in BC that might not be well know or heavy public like the suspension brige.

    Also best place to see some huge old growth forests. I know I’m asking alot but thank you for the help.

    • kaaist says:

      On Vancouver Island, I’d highly recommend the Carmanah Walbran Valley, Mount Finlayson and anything in high alpine of Strathcona Provincial Park or in the rainforests of Pacific Rim National Park. There are also a lot of great swimming holes and mountain vista hikes near the town of Sooke.

      • matt says:

        The drive to camrahan looks amazing and only like a hour drive.

        Getting to the park looks a bit tricky
        Any tips for walking around there?

  • matt says:

    Me and my wife and six year old will be going to vancouver for a week in august 2016. Is there a nice mountain hike say 3 hour round trip not wouldn’t be to difficult for the 6 year old.

    We have taken her a some step trails she has the power to do it for a little bit. She walked up mount whisler in jasper from the restaurant to the first peak with no problem last summer.

    I can carry her for a bit also if need be. Best hike for wide angle photos and one less likely to be eaten by a bear or cougar lol. Thanks.

    Or I can even ditch them and go for the hike my self. Don’t have any experience but really can’t be that difficult it’s all about fitness level :p. I will be hitting the gym starting Monday to get into shape by August.

    • kaaist says:

      I’d recommend doing Dog Mountain or taking a 2-3 hour hike up into the Mount Seymour alpine overlooking the city.

  • Tori says:

    I’m currently planning my honeymoon to Vancouver and the surrounding area. I’m so glad I found this list! We are planning to travel to BC in October… do you know what we can expect for weather? Are there any especially good autumnal views? Also wondering if you have suggestions for places with good bouldering.. we definitely want to try and get some climbing in with some hikes!

    Thanks in advance!

    • kaaist says:

      October is a great time of year to hike because of the fall colours and there isn’t much of any snow to get in your way. You may get a bit of rain but the weather is generally pretty good (the intense rain usually starts in November).

      I’d recommend doing the Stawamus Chief, Mount Seymour or Crown Mountain, but really all the hikes on this list are good that time of year. For bouldering, there are a lot of amazing spots around the town of Squamish.

  • Michael says:

    Hi Kyle,

    I am just planning my “What to do in Vancouver” for my June trip and found this and it is amazing!
    Just a question, the Garibaldi lake hike is ok for semi-experienced hiker who had been on hikes in Norway and High Tatras in Slovakia? =) From the Google Earth it looks fine but one can never know 😉

    Once again, thanks a lot for this tips and overall, this page,


    • kaaist says:

      Garibaldi Lake is a really easy hike, it’s just switchbacks up to the lake. I’m happy you found value from the post!

  • Karla says:


    I am going to vancouver around 24th of December and 7th of January. I would like to do some hiking but I am not sure because of the weather. Can you recommend a good hike for this time? I’m not a pro hiker but I have some experience (I have hiked over the Patagonia)

    • Kyle Pearce says:

      If conditions permit Dog Mountain is a great winter hike. If you’re more adventurous, the Mount Seymour backcountry is also a place full of amazing natural wonders.

  • Emma says:

    Thanks a lot, this page is amazing. Do you think it´s possible to do some of the trails at this time of the year?

  • Olga says:

    Thank you for this gift of a site. I have now done (and loved) all of these hikes at least once and may not have discovered Mt Cheam (my absolute favourite), Crown Mountain and Dog Mountain without you. I would add Mt Colliseum, Mt Harvey and Sea to Summit hikes to this list (if it got expanded past 10) for the fitter hikers. Cheers!

    • Kyle Pearce says:

      Thank you, that’s awesome Olga! Thanks for sharing some more epic hikes, those are definitely worthwhile for the more advanced hikers!

  • […] leave the ashes of their dogs on the mountain in a natural shrine in the forest. Also check out my 10 amazing day hikes post for more epic […]

  • Pam says:

    I have done garibaldi and its beautiful… Good news is!! At the entrance of garibaldi hike.. They mentioned that some changes are being done for more enjoyable experience of hike…. I hope mainly pit toilets!! They were hilarious on the lake spot!!!

  • Matt says:

    Great list! Any suggestions (from this list, or otherwise) for a overnight hike suitable for a five year old? I have in mind something like a 8-10 km loop with the campground halfway-ish, or 4-5 km in and out , again with a campground, and limited elevation gain. Garibaldi sounds great, but I would be concerned about crowds and arriving late campground. Little legs can only hustle so fast.

  • Rita says:

    Hi Kyle,
    I will be visiting Canada for the first time in September and will be coming to Vancouver to do some Hiking. I’m keeping 2days for hiking but I have accommodation in Vancouver so I have to be back in the evening. I will only have access to public transport, so I was wondering what hikes would you recommend that I can get to by bus or train? I’m an experienced hiker and prefer long days hiking so I can leave Vancouver very early in the morning. I would like to see as much as possible and ideally do Garibaldi lake with others is possible. Many thanks

    • Kyle Pearce says:

      I would take the bus to Grouse Mountain and take the Skyride up and then do either Goat Mountain (4-5 hours) or Crown Mountain (5-6 hours). If you want a full day, you can take the beautiful Hanes Valley trail back to Lynn Valley (8-9 hours) and from there you could get a bus back to the city.

  • Maddie says:

    Thank you for the list! We are planning a trip in early August and may try to do all 10. Any suggestions for nice lodging for our stay? We have not been to Vancouver before, and it’s hard to know where to start. Thanks!

  • Vinicius says:

    Thanks for the excellent list Kyle. Have u ever been in Coliseum Mountain? What do think about it?

  • davuid says:

    When you say a hike like the Binkert Lions is an 8hour hike, is that round trip or one way?

    • Kyle Pearce says:

      That’s a round trip for someone in good shape. The Lions are one of the harder hikes on the list.

  • Lauren Taylor says:

    Hi, Me and a friend are heading to Vancouver at the end of July and are keeping a day free for a Hike. We want one that will give us the best views. We are thinking of hiring a car to get there as well. Please can you advise which hike you think would be best? The views at Garibaldi lake look amazing.

    • Kyle Pearce says:

      If you only have one day I’d recommend doing Dog Mountain, Mount Seymour or Crown Mountain (which is reachable by public transit and a ride up the Grouse Skyride).

    • J says:

      I just finished eagles bluff and it was quite amazing. If you want something intermediate I’d suggest that. About 4 hrs total

  • Norine says:

    I have done Three Brothers in Manning and Joffre Lakes (just last week) in a day. They were long days, but very possible to do in a day and both are well worth the effort. If anyone us interested, Joffre was snow-free up to the top. At the top, there was manageable snow (depending on your experience level), from the top to the campground. There were a few slippery spots that I think a couple of weeks of warm weather will take care of. The lower lake was melted, but the two upper lakes were just starting to melt.

  • Jason says:

    Hi Kyle,
    Thank you for this information. I am just getting into hiking and was wondering when you say that a hike will be 2 hours, is that “round trip” or would that be 2 hours from the start to the peak (so I would need to add another 2 hours on the hike back). I just want to make sure that my first few hikes I am prepared for the length of time.
    Thank you again, great list and I hope to accomplish them all at some point.

  • Rachael says:

    Great list! Which of these hikes that you have recommended would you say is manageable for a beginner hiker – that is someone who wants to use one of these hikes to convince her to become a more regular hiker in the future? :)

    • Kyle Pearce says:

      Hi Rachael, I would definitely recommend doing Dog Mountain. It’s relatively easy, the scenery along the hike is excellent and the views of Vancouver from the Dog Mountain bluffs are absolutely incredible! It’s a great spot for a picnic lunch to marvel at the view for a while.

  • Glen Kinney says:

    I grew up in Maple Ridge and have done a lot of the hikes you mention. The Golden Ears is doable in a day but you need to be in shape. Its 10-12 hrs and close to 25 KM round trip.

    So you need to hit the trail when the day light hours are long and snow is mostly gone mid July to mid Aug is best. I have done it about a dozen time with my sons of various ages over the years and others as well.

    • Kyle Pearce says:

      Thanks for the info Glen! I will definitely try to climb Golden Ears this summer to check out the view up there!

  • Jen Hong says:

    Great list and great advice!
    Garibaldi Lake is very very busy in the summer and fall, even mid week. People need an early start just to get a campsite. Lake can also be packed with day hikers. Panorama Ridge is a gorgeous hike.

    • Kyle Pearce says:

      I agree, on a summer weekend Garibaldi Lake you need to get up there early. Ideally on Friday afternoon or evening.

  • ea says:

    Hello Kyle! This list is spectacular. I’m heading to Vancouver (my first time) in early June and will be staying in the downtown Vancouver area. I have one full day to go somewhere but have to be back by evening. I love the views from Mount Seymore, Diez Vistas, or Garibaldi Lake. Is it possible to get to those aforementioned hikes and back home by dinner? Is the weather conducive for hiking in early June? Thanks so much for your help!!!

    • Kyle Pearce says:

      Mount Seymour would definitely be the easiest to do in a day (although you could do all of the 3 in a day…Garibaldi Lake would be a really long day).

      If you aren’t renting a car you could do Crown Mountain (or nearby Goat Mountain) by taking a bus to Grouse Mountain and hiking from the top of Skyride. June should be great weather for doing these hikes.

      You will love the city. It’s an amazingly beautiful place, especially when you’re seeing it for the first time.

  • Anthony Maw says:

    Lived in Vancouver all my life – Done ’em all. Hiked up the Stawamus Chief for the first time as a summer camp field trip at age 11.

    Yeah the West Lion is probably the most challenging and dangerous many people have died climbing it.

    Crown Mountain is probably the second most challenging on the list. The linear hiking distance isn’t far but you need to descend Crown Pass and then climb back up again to ascent the summit of Crown.

    Mount Cheam requires a long drive by high clearance 4×4 to access the trailhead – not so accessible for the urban yuppie crowd that drives Smart Cars best to find a friend who doesn’t mind driving his gas guzzling high maintenance 4×4 an hour or so on rough, sometimes flooded pothole back roads with deep trench crossings and steep climbs up sharp rocky roads make sure the spare tire is inflated and you know how to change a tire.

    If you want to hike but don’t know anybody check out the free hiking clubs on

  • Jacqueline Ha says:

    Thank you for the information, Kyle!

    I am from Toronto flying into Vancouver May 6th. I will be travelling with a friend and we are planning on backpacking together. I’m wondering if you have any recommendations to which trails is most suitable for intermediate hikers wishing to stay a couple of days overnight that is also easily accessible by public transpo.

    Looking forward to hearing from you soon!


    • Kyle Pearce says:

      Hi Jacqueline,

      I would do the Howe Sound Crest Trail. You can take a bus over to West Vancouver and it would be a $20-25 cab ride from there to the trailhead on Cypress Mountain. From there it’s a solid 2 day trek to the town of Lions Bay where you can catch the bus back to Vancouver.

  • Rod Wiens says:

    Mt Cheam is an easy hike with great views. But, Slesse Mt and the 1956 plane crash site / debris field is a great, but more difficult hike. At 29k on Chilliwack Lake Rd, turn right and follow the road about 5 kms to the trail head.get an early morning start.

  • Carson says:

    Great list! We are planning on starting our hiking adventures with day trips. It seems like you suggest an overnighter for Garibaldi Lake but not necessarily for some of the longer trips. Can you please clarify why this is or if it isn’t?

  • Mel Lee-Young says:

    Awesome list!! I’m halfway through these list….and looking forward to do the other half these year. Looking forward to do Mount Cheam!! Thanks :)

  • Pat says:

    Golden Ears in the summer.
    Winter it turns technical and there is the time constraint of the park gate closing, but an early morning start will have you at the top and back to your car by sun down if you don’t drag it out.
    I still recommend taking a head lamp for safety though, and if you want to hit it now take crampons and an axe.

  • Dennis says:

    As someone who has hiked these mountains for the last 40 years, I can attest to your knowledge of the area, Kyle. I could add Lake Ann near Mt. Baker, Three Brothers in Manning Park and Cathedral Lakes near Keremeos to the list of amazing hikes, though the last 2 are overnight trips from Vancouver. As is the Joffre Lakes hike past Pemberton.

    • Kyle Pearce says:

      Hi Dennis,
      Thanks for your comment! I haven’t done any of those hikes that you mentioned. I will add them to my hiking bucket list :)

    • Dave says:

      I agree completely, Joffre can be done in a day. Have done it several times in summer and on snow shoes in winter and spring. Really beautiful alpine for such an easily accessed trail.

  • Savya Thay says:

    This is an awesome list! I took a trip last summer to the Chief and thought, I should definitely check out more of what Canada has to offer. One question I have, are the lake hikes that you mention, are they great for swimming?

  • Alan says:

    Also there are quite a few regional parks which have shorter walks suitable for kids and non-hikers. Look up: Deas Island Regional Park (RP), Kanaka Creek RP, Matsqui Trail RP, Campbell Valley RP, Tynehead RP, Minnekhada RP, Glen Valley RP, Derby Reach and more.

    • Kyle Pearce says:

      Thanks for your input Alan! I have been to Deas Island and Minnekhada and they are both really beautiful spots. I also love the mountain bike trails on Sumas Mountain (and the epic views of Mount Baker and the Fraser Valley).

      • Alan says:

        My pleasure. Deas Island was one of my favourites too. We found fossils at Kanaka Creek. We don’t live in the Lower Mainland anymore, but when we did we were researching the Centennial Trail, which predates the TCC by about 30 years. Over the course of many day hikes we had mapped it from Horseshoe Bay to the other side of Cultis Lake. Much of it followed the low elevation hikes mentioned in my previous post. We moved before we got a chance to tackle the more challenging hikes from Cultis through Manning to the Ashnola area south of Keremeos, where as near as I know, the trail ended.

  • Alan says:

    Low elevation hikes: Boundary Bay (can be a little windy, but is often sunny when it’s raining elsewhere in the Lower Mainland). Baden-Powell Trail (Horseshoe Bay to Deep Cove). Barnston Island. Pitt Meadows Greenway. Vedder Canal. Fraser River Dyke (start at Fort Langley and head east along the south side of the Fraser). It’s probably still too early, but Sumas Mountain is nice.

  • Eric says:

    Kyle, thanks for the great information. My wife and I are planning to be there the first week of May this year – do we have to deal with cold/snow on these hikes like Dog Mountain etc. at this time of the year?

    • Kyle Pearce says:

      Hi Eric,

      Some years you would have to deal with snow that time of year but the snow pack is really light this year. In May I think you should be able to manage Dog Mountain or maybe even something higher like St. Mark’s Summit without any problem.

  • Dee :) says:

    Great list! half way there! .. Mt baker & Crown mountain look amazing. Great pics as well.

  • Joanna says:

    Hey Kyle,

    Great post! Can you recommend any nice hikes in January/February?

    • Kyle Pearce says:

      Thanks Joanna! Dog mountain is easy in the winter if you have winter boots or snowshoes. Thunderbird Ridge is also a nice winter trail from the top of Grouse Mountain.

      If you don’t want to deal with any snow, I’d recommend Lighthouse Park, Quarry Rock in Deep Cove and anything in Stanley Park or Pacific Spirit Regional Park.

      • Joanna says:

        Thanks so much for your recommendation! Tried Dog Mountain last weekend but it was too snowy for hiking. Already done Lighthouse, Deep Cove, Stanley & Spirit :) Any other ideas? :)

        • Kyle Pearce says:

          Try the Seymour Valley, Belcarra Regional Park, Minnekhada Regional Park, or Crystal Falls in Port Coquitlam.

          The stroll along Pitt Lake is a beautiful winter hike too. If you’re really adventurous you can take a canoe (I think they only rent them on-site in the summer) into the spectacular estuary there and there are incredible hikes and camping in the low elevation backcountry around there.

  • mauricio says:

    Nice trails! In winter Pitt lake is also a good option, really easy trail with beautiful landscapes.

  • Leslie says:

    Hi Kyle,

    I am looking for day hikes to do in December, hopefully accessible by transit from Vancouver (or just not too far from Vancouver). Are there any that you would recommend?


    • Kyle Pearce says:

      Hi Leslie,

      Try Norvan Falls, the Diez Vistas out near Port Moody or you can do Thunderbird Ridge from Grouse Mountain.

  • B Helders says:

    Looking for a overnight hike in mid November, 6 of us going. Any suggestions?

    • Kyle Pearce says:

      Cheakamus Lake or Garibaldi Lake would be beautiful this time of year if you’re fully prepared for wintery conditions.

  • Craig says:

    Thanks for the great suggestions. We are coming to Vancouver in mid-July and have time for only one hike. Any suggestions for something in the 4 hour range with moderate difficulty fairly close to Vancouver? We will have a car. Thanks.

    • Kyle Pearce says:

      I’d recommend doing the St. Mark’s Summit or Eagle Bluffs on Cypress, Goat Mountain from the top of Grouse Mountain’s skyride, or the Mount Seymour peak on Seymour. All of these hikes are about 4 hours return and each trailhead is about 30 minutes from downtown Vancouver.

  • Zach says:

    Love this list! What are your favorite hikes that end or include a lake to go swimming in??

    • Kyle Pearce says:

      You can swim in Garibaldi Lake if you don’t mind the shock of glacial waters :) My favourite hike with a warm lake is the Eagle Bluffs in Cypress Mountain Provincial Park. You can hike down from the top of Black Mountain in the park and continue after the Eagle Bluffs all the way down to Whyte Lake for a refreshing swim.

  • julee says:

    How long does it take to get to the top of black tusk and back down to the parking lot? Can it be done in a day by novice hikers?

    • Kyle Pearce says:

      You could do it all in about 7-8 hours. Most of the hike is relatively easy but the last part up the Black Tusk is a slightly dangerous scramble. Probably not a great idea for novice hikers.

  • Greg Lindenbach says:

    Thanks for this post! Vancouver has so much to offer for scenery and accessibility. Looking forward to trying some of these.

  • Nancy says:

    I have two well behaved and friendly dogs that I would like to take on a hike that would include a lake for them to cool off in. Do you have any suggestions for a good hike that allows dogs? Any off-lease hikes? Thanks.

  • Ilona says:


    These hikes are amazing :-))
    Next week I’ll be in Vancouver, and definitely woud go for one of them :-)

    Is it safe to hike there alone (of course I don’t mean a technical route)?

    Would you recommend any of them especially? Distance and ascend upto 35-40 km/1500 m are not a problem :-)

    Thanks in advance!

    • Kyle Pearce says:

      I would recommend doing Dog Mountain. It’s well trafficked and pretty safe to do alone. If you want more of a challenge, then do Mount Seymour, which starts from the same place but is about twice as long and more difficult.

  • Cathy says:

    Elfin Lakes is another one not to be missed. The first 5km are a bit monotonous, but totally worth it. I’ve done it both in summer and snowshoe it in winter. Definitely ranks above Diez Vista any day.

    • Kyle Pearce says:

      I agree, Elfin Lakes is an excellent hike. I love staying in the large Alpine Hut beside the lake and meeting all the interesting hikers staying the night.

  • Irina says:

    Hi Kyle,
    Thank you for this post – it’s exactly what I was looking for! My question is which of the hikes are ok to do with a 6-year old child? Thanks!

    • Kyle Pearce says:

      I’m not sure any of the these hikes would work for a 6-year old child. Maybe Dog Mountain, it’s only about 1.5 hours total and it’s not too difficult.

  • Ram says:

    Not to forget the beautiful Lynn Peak hike! easily accessible in north vancouver

  • Michelle says:

    Hi Kyle,
    Me and my friends are interested of hiking the garabaldi lake. But we are newbies with some experience with grouse, stawamus and quarry rock. We’d like to hike and experience this beautiful lake but do not plan to camp and would just like to do it as a day hike. What’s your recommendation? Anything will help.
    Thanks :)

    • Kyle Pearce says:

      Hi Michelle, the hike to Garibaldi Lake is easier than the Stawamus Chief. It takes about 3 hours to get up there on the switchbacks, so it’s long but it’s not particularly difficult. Make sure you leave a lot of time to explore the lake, the wildflower meadows that are about 30 minutes beyond the lake and the Battleship Islands along the south shore.

  • Wow–gorgeous photos and hiking spots!! The Vancouver area looks like it has so much to offer–I really need to plan a trip there soon :) I love the photo at the Mount Baker Recreation Area!

  • Julia says:

    Just did the Garibaldi Lake hike thanks to this website ! Only went for the day defiantly going up when it is warmer out and staying the night so I can make it up to the tusk.The trail was still covered in snow for at least half the way up and the lake was frozen over but the view was absolutely amazing. Well marked trail, had no confusion due to the snow. Highly suggest this trail is your enjoy a long hike and a great view, well worth the 6 hours.

    Thanks for the awesome hike! Trying to complete all of these this summer!!

  • Grant Wardle says:

    No list is complete without Golden Ears. A tough one but the best I’ve done. Great list and a few new ones for my summer.

  • Barbara says:

    All sound fabulous. Any recommendations for beginners?

    • Kyle Pearce says:

      For hiking beginners, I’d recommend taking the gondola up Whistler, Grouse Mountain or the new Sea To Sky Gondola in Squamish, and access the amazing views and mountain terrain with a short stroll from there! In the city, Pacific Spirit and Stanley Park are great for easy hikes.

  • Chad Barnes says:

    Just so people who are not from the region don’t get confused, they are not called “The Binkert Lions,” simply “The Lions.” Or more specifically, The East and West Lions, respectively. Paul Binkert was a longtime BCMC member who built amazing (steep!) trails from the Sea to Sky corridor to The Chilliwack Valley and beyond.

  • Kyle says:

    Brunswick Mountain, beside the Lions, it is slightly higher, the trail is well kept and forks off from the Binkert trail lower down. The summit of Brunswick is a nice easy ridge scramble/walk, it’s beautiful and fun without the chance of a death fall like the West Lion.

  • Alan says:

    I did a number of these while I still lived in the area; they really are worthwhile. Elk-Thurston Trail in the Chilliwack area (go when the wildflowers are in full bloom) and High Falls near Squamish were also really nice. For those not up to any climbing and if you appreciate a bit of history, go see the Quintette Tunnels near Hope. They’re part of the old KVR railgrade and are amazing. After seeing them we were inspired to ride the entire C&W and KVR railgrades from Castlegar to Hope. Took us 9 days and was an unforgettable experience.

  • Nancy says:

    Another day hike that you can get to by bus (don’t need a car at all) is the Mt Gardner hike on Bowen Island. Just hop a blue bus to Horseshoe Bay from downtown Vancouver and take the 20 minute ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay, walk toward Hiker’s Trail (a nice easy walk from Snug Cove) and then you’re on a trail to Mt Gardner. Your other option is to take a Bowen bus to Laura Rd (the Bowen Bay bus) and hike up from there (a harder trek but easier because you won’t get lost!) The views of Gibsons and Vancouver are amazing from the top.

  • Bryan Taylor says:

    Great list, thanks. Do you know if I would be able to take my dogs on any of them?

    • Kyle Pearce says:

      Hi Bryan,
      You can take your dogs on Dog Mountain, St. Mark’s Summit, The Chief and probably most of the other hikes as well as long as they are on a leash. I know dogs aren’t allowed at Garibaldi Lake due to the sensitivity of the ecosystem.

  • Mike says:

    Great suggestions. I will look forward to doing as many as possible this summer. I hiked the first half of the Baden-Powell last summer, west to east, and found it challenging but very enjoyable.

  • Daphne says:

    Yes, great hikes! I have done 7/10 and have plans in place for 2 more. That just leaves the Lions for the end of the summer. Of course, there are many more local day hikes (too many to list). Artist Point at Baker is a wonderful snowshoe on a nice day in the winter too.

  • Natalie says:

    Those are all great hikes. A couple of shorter hikes: Whyte lake near Horseshoe Bay

    and Quarry Rock in Deep Cove:

    • Kyle Pearce says:

      Both excellent hikes! I love swimming in Whyte Lake in the summer. The trail from there up to the Eagle Bluffs is pretty good too!

  • Steve Fund says:

    In #5 Mount Baker Recreation Area you have incorrectly listed the name of the lake in front of Mt. Shuksan. It’s not Mirror Lake. It’s Picture Lake.

  • alan siegel says:

    Kyle, thanks so much…great experiences and information. Wondering if you can help us further. My brother and I are 66 and 75 respectively, in good shape-outdoor oriented; we are looking to take a walking/hiking trip and thought Vancouver would be great since we have never been; seeking to do 3-4 hours of hiking/walking a day,, time to see Vancouver, local sites as well as…stay at lodges in the area we are hiking or use Vancouver as a base; Kayaking, white water rafting would be great add on; Thinking of 4 days out there+/-. Would welcome your advice, suggestions etc. thanks in advance Alan

    • Kyle says:

      Hi Alan, I’d recommend spending a day in the city walking or biking the 32 km seawall around the Vancouver harbour.

      For a day of epic kayaking, Deep Cove on the north shore of the city is a good launching point into exploring the Indian Arm fjord. They are some excellent B&Bs in Deep Cove. If you have time, it’s only a 20 minute drive from there to Dog Mountain, which is an easy hike with a spectacular view mentioned above.

      For Whitewater Rafting, I’d go for a trip to Chilliwack River, which is about an hour and a half from the city. In that area, you could also drive up the backside of Mt. Cheam to hike to the peak mentioned in the post and afterwards you could stay in a resort like nearby Harrison Hot Springs or in a B&B in Cultus Lake also closeby.

      You can also whitewater raft in Whistler but Chilliwack is usually better. Definitely make the trip up to Whistler for at least a day and stop along the way at scenic points like Porteau Cove, Shannon Falls, Tantalus Lookout and Brandywine Falls for short hikes. Then, top it all off by taking the lifts up to the Whistler Alpine and hiking in some of the bowls there. I hope this helps, email me if you need any clarification or more info!

  • scott says:

    I live in Chilliwack and climbed Cheam as a kid-an experience I will never forget. I remember our little group of friends (4 goofy 12 year old cut ups) spending the weekend on our expedition to the top of the mountain, which of course can now be accomplished in a few hours. This was in the 1960s however so it might have been a more difficult passage than now although I honestly can’t remember. We were not in any rush and were already planning on spending a few days on our trip. The only danger I remember was in the form of a bear cub that crossed our trail about 100 yards further on. Of course where there is a cub there is usually a suspicious and easily angered mother! Luckily nothing came of it and the only other unforeseen scare was when my friend Dave’s can of beans exploded because he forgot about partially opening the can before setting it in the fire.

    • Kyle says:

      Thank you for sharing your childhood memories on Mt. Cheam. The peak and the majestic view of the Fraser Valley is timeless. It’s great that generations of kids can experience the awe and beauty of nature in such a wonderful place!

  • Thao Nguyen says:

    This list is amazing! Thanks for putting it together!

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