It’s no secret that the Lower Mainland boasts a bounty of beautiful hiking spots, which is why our trails lure considerable crowds and cause pesky parking problems during the warmer summer months. But in the fall, when the weather cools and the leaves change, the hordes of hikers subside—leaving autumn adventurers with extra space to explore the outdoors.
Now that autumn is here, it’s time to bundle up, grab your hiking buddy and leave your car at home as you head out for a colourful cavort through the trees and trails of Vancouver and beyond. From scenic seaside strolls to challenging cliffside climbs, these five easy-to-access hiking spots offer fresh air and fine fall foliage. The best part? You can access these Vancouver views without needing your own vehicle.
Pacific Spirit Regional Park, Vancouver
Vancouverites (and nearby visitors) don’t have to venture far to find forested trails this fall. You’ll find Pacific Spirit Regional Park on the western edge of UBC Endowment Lands and within city limits. Offering over 54 kilometres of forested and shoreline trails, this is a great spot to get your heart pumping while taking in the scenery.
Getting there: With multiple trailheads found around the three-hour hiking loop, this spot can be accessed by any UBC-bound bus. Get off at the Pacific Spirit Park stop on University Blvd, 16th Ave or SW Marine Dr.
Stanley Park, Vancouver
Stanley Park Destination BC
Located next to Vancouver’s downtown core, Stanley Park offers over 27 kilometres of trails to hike, bike or stroll. Trace the seawall and take in the natural surroundings that circle the city. Choose one of the many networks of trails that weave through the park and escape the hustle and bustle of the city in minutes.
Getting there: For easy access by transit, consider starting from the Stanley Park bus loop (bus #19 from Vancouver will get you there). Then you can easily access a trailhead that begins near the Rose Garden (found near the centre of the park).
Norvan Falls, North Vancouver
Vancouver’s North Shore is a hiker’s paradise, luring adventurers from around the world to explore the over fifty tree-lined hiking trails found in the area. While many of the more popular hiking spots are temporarily closed, Norvan Falls is ready to show off its stunning whooshing waterfall for those who are willing to make the trek. Found in Lynn Headwaters Regional Park, this hike is approximately 14 kilometres roundtrip and can take around five hours to complete.
Getting there: From Vancouver, take the seabus to the Lonsdale Quay, and then hop on bus #228 to the bus stop at Dempsey and Lynn Valley Road.
Stawamus Chief, Squamish
This classic yet challenging hike is found along the Sea to Sky corridor. It offers stunning bird’s-eye views of Howe Sound from its three peaks. Known by locals as the Chief, the straight-up climb takes hikers to a trio of summits that range from four kilometres to seven kilometres, depending on your choice of cliff. While you’re there, be sure to sneak a peek at stunning Shannon Falls next door.
Getting there: Take the Squamish Connector, a shuttle that makes four round trips from Vancouver to Squamish per day. Book your reservation in advance.
Jug Island Beach, Belcarra Regional Park, Port Moody
Found just off the northern tip of Belcarra Regional Park, the trail to Jug Island Beach rewards hikers with stunning waterfront views of Indian Arm after an easy trek (5.5 kilometres roundtrip) through moss-covered forest trails. With minimal elevation gain and lots to see along the way, this trail is a great destination for a fall hike with kids.
Getting there: Take the skytrain from Vancouver to Port Moody. Transfer to bus #182 which will take you to the Belcarra Regional Park stop.