Is this the best hiking city in Canada?


Oh, Vancouver. Hailed as one of Canada's most livable cities (although certainly not the most affordable), it's no wonder adventurous people strive to live here. The downtown core itself lies adjacent to a massive playground of greenery, flanked with sandy, swimmable beaches.

Vancouverites are known as outdoorsy people—cyclists and runners speckle the seawall year-round. But of all the adventurous pursuits to partake in, hiking is perhaps the most popular.

st marksKyle Pearce flickr cc by sa 2.0

Depending on snowfall and spring weather, hiking season can be limited to June through October. In the late spring, trails may be partially covered with snow, making them slippery, mucky and dangerous.

It's important to keep in mind that despite city views on the horizon, many of these trails are in the backcountry. In summer, approximately three to five rescue calls are made each weekend by lost, injured or stranded hikers. Proper precautions should be taken before you set out: research your hike, dress appropriately, tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return.

Learn more about staying safe on Vancouver's trails from AdventureSmart.

Now that you're adequately briefed, here are 20 of the best hiking trails near Vancouver, British Columbia.


1. St. Mark's Summit, Cypress Provincial Park

St. Mark’s Summit, Cypress Provincial ParkJennifer Hubbert

Length: 11 km round-trip
Duration: 4-5 hours
Elevation gain: 460 m
Difficulty: Moderate

On clear days, the summit of this hike offers unparalleled views of Howe Sound. Even on overcast days, you’ll feel like a conqueror above the clouds. The trail first follows ski runs with steep and rocky sections, before heading into a pretty forest. Continue along before gaining some elevation over a steep set of switchbacks. The forest eventually thins out before you reach St. Mark's Summit. Note: hikers will not find clear signage for St. Mark's Summit; it is a lookout located along the Howe Sound Crest Trail. However, the Summit is marked with a sign post, so you won't miss it. 

How do I get to St. Mark’s Summit trailhead? This hike starts at the Cypress Mountain parking lot. From here, walk toward the Lion’s Express chairlift. Follow sign posts for Howe Sound Crest Trail. Shortly thereafter, you will encounter a sign post that says Howe Sound Crest Trail east and west. It does not matter which you take; these connector trails deposits you on a gravel road. At the junction, walk left; the road will narrow and you'll enter the woods. Another 20 minutes or so later, you'll reach an official Cypress Provincial Park map, which will point you in the right direction. 


Distance from Vancouver: 27.2 km


2. Eagle Bluffs, Cypress Provincial Park

Eagle Bluffs, Cypress Provincial ParkJennifer Hubbert

Length: 8 km round-trip
Duration: 3-4 hours
Elevation gain: 350 m
Difficulty: Moderate

This trail begins with a grueling ascent to Cabin Lake, which you can jump in to cool off. Continue along the Baden-Powell Trail to a rock scramble along the bluffs. Ensure you wear proper hiking attire and appropriate shoes.

How do I get to the Eagle Bluffs trailhead? Park in the unpaved lots and then make your way on foot to the downhill ski area. Pass the green Olympic rings and the lodge. Head to the Eagle Express Quad Chairlift and find the trailhead just a few paces away. Access the bluffs by climbing Black Mountain. A few metres down the trail you’ll find a BC Parks signpost. Go left and starting hiking up, up, up.

Read moreClick here

Distance from Vancouver: 28 km


3. Dog Mountain, Seymour Provincial Park

Dog Mountain Night HikeJennifer Hubbert

Length: 5 km round-trip
Duration: 1.5 - 2 hours
Elevation gain: 34 m
Difficulty: Easy

You’ll be greeted with a stunning view of Metro Vancouver at the top of Dog Mountain. Although it’s a glorious sight any time of day, in our opinion, the sparkling city is most striking at night. However, the trail can be muddy, slippery, rocky and rooted, so if you do venture out for a night hike, don’t forget your headlamp! In winter, Dog Mountain can be done on snowshoes. But in our opinion, it's pretty miserable after rainfall or during spring melt. 

How do I get to the Dog Mountain trailhead? This trail starts at the northern point of the Mount Seymour Ski Resort main parking lot.


Distance from Vancouver: 28.8 km


4. Mount Seymour

Seymour Provincial Park

Mount Seymour, Seymour Provincial ParkFlickr/Colin Knowles (CCbySA2.0)

Length: 9 km roundtrip
Duration: 4-5 hours
Elevation gain: 450 m
Difficulty: Moderate

This trail crosses three peaks that offer gorgeous views: First, Second and the final summit of Mount Seymour. This popular, dog-friendly trail can be crowded on weekends and sunny days, but the final panorama is worth sharing. It's tiring but not too technical. Also worth noting: the trail may feature compact snow well into July. 

How do I get to the Mount Seymour trailhead? From the end of the Mount Seymour Ski Resort parking lot. Follow the wide gravel service road that runs up beyond the chairlifts. The road will wind behind a large hill and if you follow it to its terminus, you'll end up at the trailhead. Trail signage in the ski area is poor and no doubt, hikers will run into others looking for the trailhead. Just keep going! 

Read moreClick here

Distance from Vancouver: 24.3 km


5. Baden Powell

Horseshoe Bay - Deep Cove

Baden-Powell, Horseshoe Bay - Deep CoveFlickr/GoToVan (CCby2.0)

Length: 48 km
Duration: 20 hours
Elevation gain: over 1,000 m
Difficulty: Extreme

This long, rugged trail crosses the North Shore mountains and branches off in several spots. Although some extreme hikers and runners tackle the entire length in the Knee-Knacker Race, it’s more common to choose a section of the trail to complete, such as Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridges or Black Mountain.

How do I get to the Baden Powell trailhead? This trail stretches from Horseshoe Bay to Deep Cove. There are trailheads throughout. 

Read moretrailpeak/baden-powell

Distance from Vancouver: 17.8 km


6. First Peak

Stawamus Chief

photo of the ChiefAlison Karlene Hodgins

Length: 4.1 km (return)
Duration: 2-3 hours 
Elevation gain: 541 metres 
Difficulty: Moderate

Roots, rocks and a gruelling uphill climb make this short hike just outside of Squamish a true challenge. The granite playground and panoramic views of turquoise water at the top are well-worth the effort. Take a break from the (literal) staircase at the start of the hike to check out lower Shannon Falls. For a longer, less crowded adventure, follow the signs for the third peak instead.

How do I get to the Chief trailhead? The trailhead is at the Chief parking lot. On sunny weekends and any summer day, the lot can fill up quickly. Head out early to avoid taking multiple laps to find a spot.

Read more: Click here

Distance from Vancouver: 60.9 km


7. The Lions

West Vancouver

The LionsFlickr/Chris Morisawa (CCby2.0)

Length: 16 km round-trip
Duration: 7 hours
Elevation gain: 1280 m
Difficulty: Difficult 

If you’re looking to seriously stretch your legs, then let The Lions challenge you. These iconic twin peaks overlooking Vancouver are lovingly known as East and West Lion, and are probably on the bucket list of every North Shore hiker. 

This is an in-and-out hike along the same route, which will deposit you back at your vehicle. Hikers without climbing skills need not reach the summit to enjoy hiking the Lions. Despite being a popular trail, be sure to wear or pack layers, plan for changing weather, and bring food and water. 

How do I get to The Lions trailhead? Head for Sunset Drive, Lion's Bay. Go early as the designated lot fills quickly. If the lot is full, turn around and backtrack to the elementary school. This area is patrolled and towed vehicles will be taken to North Vancouver!


Distance from Vancouver: 32 km



8. Sendero Diez Vistas

Buntzen Lake/Anmore

diezKevin Teague Flickr cc by 2.0

Length: 15 km loop
6-7 hours
Elevation gain: 
460 m

Diez Vistas means 10 Views, and that’s exactly what this hike offers. Tracing the shoreline of Buntzen Lake, the trail meanders through Indian Arm Provincial Park and overlooks Burrard Inlet and the North Shore. This area is maintained by BC Hydro.

How do I get to the Diez Vistas trailhead? Start walking along Buntzen Lake Trail and continue past the Diez Vistas sign.
Read more:

Distance from Vancouver: 35.5 km


9. Lynn Lake

Lynn Headwaters Regional Park

 Length: 22 km
8-10 hours
Elevation gain: 
600 m

Lynn Lake doesn’t have the same turquoise-tinted waters as others on this list, but the trail itself is worth the trek. Cross streams, bypass boulders and ditch the crowds on this long, difficult trail. Be sure to check recent conditions before attempting this hike.

How do I get to the Lynn Lake trailhead? Follow the directions on the sign at the Lynn Headwaters Regional Park parking lot.

Distance from Vancouver: 17.1 km


10. Lynn Peak

Lynn Headwaters Regional Park

lynn peakBill Stilwell Flickr cc by sa 2.0

Length: 9 km roundtrip
Duration: 4-5 hours
Elevation gain: 720 m
Difficulty: Challenging

Climb through evergreen trees, stopping at several viewpoints to catch your breath. Only a 30-minute drive from Vancouver, this trail is quieter than nearby, more popular treks, but yields similarly stunning views on clear days.

How do I get to the Lynn Peak trailhead? Park in Lynn Headwaters Regional Park and begin the hike from the signboard near Lynn Creek.
Read more:

Distance from Vancouver: 15.5 km


11. Lynn Loop

Lynn Headwaters Regional Park

Length: 5.1 km round-trip
Duration: 1.5 – 2 hours
Difficulty: Easy

Large cedar and hemlock trees, switchback trails and old logging equipment line the Lynn Loop trail. Hikers will cross Lynn Creek to complete this short, dog-friendly loop.

How do I get to the Lynn Loop trailhead? This trail begins at Lynn Headwaters parking lot.


Distance from Vancouver: 17.1 km


12. Norvan Falls

Lynn Headwaters Regional Park

Norvan Falls, Lynn Headwaters Regional ParkFlickr/Michael Dorausch (CCbySA2.0)

Length: 14 km round-trip
Duration: 5 hours
Elevation gain: 195 m
Difficulty: Moderate

If you like to chase waterfalls, this hike is for you. Branching off the lush Lynn Loop trail, this trail can often be wet and muddy, making it dangerous for unprepared hikers. When you hear rushing water, you know you’re close to the majestic waterfall.

How do I get to the Norvan Falls trailhead? This trail begins at Lynn Headwaters parking lot.


Distance from Vancouver: 17.1 km


13. Grouse Grind/BCMC

Grouse Mountain Regional Park cc by 2.0

Length: 2.9 km
Duration: 1-2 hours
Elevation gain: 853 m
Difficulty: Challenging

One of the most classic Vancouver-area trails, the Grouse Grind is really just a staircase up a mountain. Over 2,800 steps lead to a panoramic view of the city, where you can visit a grizzly bear refuge and treat yourself to a Beavertail (you deserve it!). The Grind is a heavily trafficked one-way trail; you’ll have to take the gondola or the nearby dog-friendly BCMC back down.

How do I get to the Grouse Grind trailhead? From the parking lot at the base of Grouse Mountain, east of the gondola. There is an official Grind Timer if you’re hoping to beat the record: 25 minutes and one second.
Read more:

Distance from Vancouver: 12.1 km


14. Joffre Lakes

Joffre Lakes Provincial Park

Middle Joffre LakeAlison Karlene Hodgins

Length: 10 km roundtrip
Duration: 4-5 hours
Elevation gain: 370 m
Difficulty: Intermediate

Joffre Lakes offers incredible views for moderate effort. After rising to fame on Instagram, the turquoise water in these stunning lakes have become recognizable to hikers everywhere. There are three lakes along the trail. The first one, Lower Joffree Lake, is only a few hundred metres into the hike. Middle Joffre Lakes (pictured) takes more effort to reach and is the perfect spot to sit and have a snack. Here you'll find the floating log many brave hikers walk out onto for surreal photos. Just a bit further down the trail, you'll find a beautiful waterfall.

At the end of the hike, you'll reach the final lake: Upper Joffre Lake. Behind it is the Matier Glacier. There is a urine diversion toilet, bear lockers and designated area for tents. 

How do I get to the Joffre Lakes trailhead? A solid two-and-a-half-hour drive from Vancouver (depending on traffic), you'll want to leave bright and early for this hike. There's a dedicated parking lot plus overflow you can't miss.


Distance from Vancouver: 183 km


15. Abby Grind


abby grindAlison Karlene Hodgins | @alison_abroad

Length: 4 km roundtrip
: 2 - 3 hours
Elevation gain: 
320 m

Significantly less steep and crowded than its counterpart in North Vancouver, the Abby Grind is a short, steep and sweet trail that leads to an open rock face and gorgeous views over nearby farmland. Quarter-mile markers encourage you on your way up the dirt path (no stairs!). The only thing that will break the rustic tranquillity is boom's from the nearby gun range.

How do I get to the Abby Grind trailhead? You’ll find a well-marked dirt parking lot east of Abbotsford just off Highway #1.
Read more:

Distance from Vancouver: 86.6 km


16. Mount Cheam

Fraser Valley

cheamTim Gage Flickr cc by sa 2.0

Length: 9.5 km
Duration: 4-5 hours
Elevation gain: 700 m
Difficulty: Moderate

Hike above the clouds as you ascend Mount Cheam, near Chilliwack in the Fraser Valley. You’ll be treated to gorgeous views the entire way, including a fresh look at massive Mount Baker, panoramic views of Lady Peak and unfolding fields of stunning wildflowers in the summer.

How do I get to the Mount Cheam trailhead? Follow Google maps directions to the small parking lot located along Chilliwack Lake Road. It’s a rough and bumpy, so a four-wheel drive is recommended.
Read more:

Distance from Vancouver: 125 km


17. Elk Mountain

Fraser Valley

ElkTim Gage Flickr cc by sa 2.0

Length: 7 km roundtrip
Duration: 4-5 hours
Elevation gain: 770 m
Difficulty: Moderate

Steadily climb through the forest to the first viewpoint, which offers an incredible view of Cultus Lake and the Fraser Valley. Hike on a clear day and at the summit, you’ll be able to see even further, into the United States.

How do I get to the Elk Mountain trailhead? Driving towards Hope, take Exit 123. You’ll find the trailhead down Elk View Road.
Read more:

Distance from Vancouver: 119 km


18. Big Cedar and Kennedy Falls

North Vancouver

Length: 10 km

Duration: 4-5 hours
Elevation gain: 

Aptly named, this trail leads through a forest of massive cedar trees to Kennedy Falls. The waterfall slides down dark rock beautifully, especially after recent rainfall. The trail is rated “Challenging” because of technical aspects and unclear markings that lead to multiple search-and-rescue calls every year.

How do I get to the Big Cedar and Kennedy Falls trailhead? This trailhead is located at the Old Mountain Highway gate near the Baden-Powell Trail junction.
Read more:

Distance from Vancouver: 20 km


19. Killarney Lake Loop

Bowen Island

killarney3dpete Flickr by cc nd 2.0

Length: 4 km
1-2 hours
Elevation gain: 

Take the ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Bowen Island for a taste of island life. You don’t need a car for this hike: bus to the ferry and walk from the dock to the tranquil trail that circles Killarney Lake.

How do I get to the Killarney Lake trailhead? Starting from the ferry terminal, turn right onto Cardena Road and continue onto Killarney Creek Trail.
Read more:

Distance from Vancouver: 29.6 km


20. Lindeman Lake

Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park

LindemanTim Gage via Flickr cc by sa 2.0

Length: 3.4 km roundtrip
2 hours
Elevation gain: 
200 m

This gorgeous, short trail is a favourite for overnight hikers and day trekkers alike. But don’t be fooled by the km’s: it’s still a tough trail. Lazing next to Lindeman Lake’s stunning turquoise waters is so worth the effort.

How do I get to the Lindeman Lake trailhead? Park in the Post Creek parking lot. Caution: smashed windows and break-ins have been reported by hikers who parked in this area.
Read more:

Distance from Vancouver: 139 km



Do you love hiking around Vancouver? 
Which is your favourite trail? 
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