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8 AMAZING HIKING TRAILS AROUND VANCOUVER

My Absolute Favourite Nature Trails in BC

One of the things I love about living in Vancouver, Canada is it's amazing surroundings. Just within 30 minutes of drive, you can be in some of the most beautiful and pristine nature. Here is a list of my 8 absolute favourite hiking trails in BC.

1. Grouse Grind

Length: 2.9 kilometres (1.8 miles)
Elevation Gain: 853 metres (2,800 feet)
Total Stairs: 2,830
Grouse Mountain Gondola: $10 CAD one way

This is without a doubt Vancouver’s most popular trail and a favourite of many, primarily used for exercise. Its a continuous stair climb of 2.9 kilometers, with an elevation gain of 850 meters. If you can do it under 40 minutes youre a pro. But if youre a newbie, aiming at under an hour is a good goal. Be aware that the Grind is also on the list of the most dangerous trails, as many ignore its difficulty and physical challenge.  

2. Stawamus Chief

Length: 1st Peak: 3 km, 2nd Peak: 4 km, 3rd Peak: 4 km
Elevation Gain: 1st Peak: 535 m, 2nd Peak: 580 m, 3rd Peak: 627 m

Known as The Chief, this trail near Squamish offers one of the best views from the top! The hike starts at a 330 meter-high spectacular waterfall (Shannon Falls) or the Sea to Sky Gondola, and then leads through forest. At the end, you have to climb a few ladders and bare rocks to reach the summit.

The Chief is composed of three peaks. You can hike all of them in one day or just choose one or two. A good combination is to to 2nd and 1st peaks together, or 3rd and 2nd. The view from the 1st peak is my favourite. The trail is not too long or difficult and the stunning panoramic view of Howe Sound and several mountains in Garibaldi Provincial Park is absolutely rewarding.

3. Sea to Summit Trail

Distance: 7.5 km (one way)
Elevation Gain: 835 m
Sea to Sky Gondola: $15 CAD (one way)

This is a very beautiful and diverse trail through deep and pristine forest. It offers a good combination of uphill, flat and downhill. It's a fairly new hike, build in 2014 together with the Sea to Sky Gondola. You can start off either at the Sea to Sky Gondola or Shannon Falls parking lot.

The first part leads along the Chief trail up some very steep stairs. At about 900 m (0.6 miles) or 20 minutes into the hike, the trail turns off right. You need to make sure not to miss the turn. It is well marked though, so just follow the signs. The hike ends and the Summit Lodge and Sea to Sky Gondola, allowing you to take it back down to the parking lot instead of doing the return trip on foot.

Note: A Shuttle Service operates between Downtown Vancouver and the Sea To Sky Gondola. More information here.

4. Wedgemount Lake Trail

Length: 14 kilometres (8.7 miles) round trip
Elevation Gain: 1,160 metres (3,805 feet)

This trail lies just north of Whistler, so about 2 hours drive from Vancouver. With an elevation gain of more than 1100 meters in just 7km, the Wedgemount Lake Trail is extremely difficult but well worth the effort. Reaching the top, you arrive at the beautiful glacier lake set between alpine mountains. Make sure to go for a quick dip in the ice-cold water :)

As the temperatures can be very cool up top even in the summer, make sure to take an additional layer of clothing for this trail, as well as plenty of water and snacks. It is also possible to camp at the lake. There are 13 camping platforms and a shelter by the lake.

5. The Lions Binkert Trail

Length: 16 kilometres (9.9 miles) round trip
Elevation Gain: 1,280 metres (4,200 feet)

Just a short ride from Vancouver at Lions Bay, the Lions Binkert trail is a challenging one. Its a 16km round-trip hike with an elevation gain of 1280 meters. The trail leads along a dirt road through the forest. About 20 minutes from the mountain top, the trail opens up and becomes rocky.  The summit offers stunning scenic view of Howe Sound and Bowen Island.

6. BCMC Trail

Length: 3 kilometres (1.9 miles) one way
Elevation Gain: 853 metres (2,800 feet)
Grouse Mountain Gondola: $10 CAD one way

While the Grouse Grind is officially closed until around May each year, the British Columbia Mountaineering Club Trail is a good alternative for a hike in March and April. It starts just east of the Grind and is also less busy in the summer. The first part is steep just like the Grind, but the trail flattens out at the end. About 2/3 up, the trail stays covered with snow long into April, so be sure to take crampons with you.

7. The Flint and Feather "Secret" Trail

Length: 3 kilometres (1.9 miles) one way
Elevation Gain: 853 metres (2,800 feet)
Grouse Mountain Gondola: $10 CAD one way

If you’re fed up with the crowds on the Grouse Grind, head onto the Flint and Feather. It’s called “secret” because the trail is not marked. It is somewhere between the Grind and the BCMC. To find it, take the Grind for about 5-10 minutes until you see a sign pointing left for the Grind, before a small wooden bridge. Instead of following the Grind, turn to the right and follow the small path.

8. Garibaldi Lake Trail

Length: 18 kilometres (11.2 miles) round trip
Elevation Gain: 820 metres (2,690 feet)

Halfway between Squamish and Whistler, Garibaldi Lake is a popular summer destination and hike for many. The trail is not too difficult and there are many camp sites in the area. It leads along beautiful turquoise-coloured lakes set in between dense forest. Once you reach Garibaldi Lake, the trail opens up to the peak of Black Tusk glacier mountain.

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