Location: Grouse Mountain Regional Park
Park here: Gondola Base, Nancy Greene Way
Public Transport: Bus # 236 from Lonsdale Quay
Hike Distance: 2.5 km
Hike Duration: 1 - 2.5 hours
Elevation Gain/Loss: 800 m
What makes it challenging? 800 m of vertical ascent over 2.5 km. Do the math!
Mountain website: Click here
The Grouse Grind is Vancouver’s most emblematic hike, a steep forested path that ascends the shoulder of Grouse Mountain to an attractive alpine resort and activity centre. Locals use it as an outdoor gym and compete against the clock to log a respectable time (current record: 23 minutes, 48 seconds). Tourists attempt it in hordes with some biting off more than they bargained for. On a good day in summer, the mountain might log around 800 panting souls clambering up its 2,830 steps.
For me, there are few better summer sensations than flopping down at the top of the Grind, pulse still racing, to drink in the view with a burger and beer.
Alison Karlene Hodgins
Finding the Trailhead
With so many people doing the Grind, finding the trailhead isn’t difficult. It starts next to the gondola ticket office at the top of Nancy Greene Way. Look for the large signboard and procced through the gate in the wire fence beside it.
The Hike Itself
The trail forks almost immediately, with the Baden Powell trail heading off to the right. For the Grind, hang a left and left again at a junction with the BCMC trail a few hundred metres farther on.
The only flat-ish section of the route is near the start and lasts for around 30 metres. The rest is unrelenting uphill. You have been warned!
The grind is split into 40 ‘sections’ with markers nailed to trees to let you know how far you’ve come and how much torture is left.
The halfway point is clearly marked. Some catch a short rest. Others forge on undiminished. My Grind tactic is to put my head down, take big steps, and not stop until the top.
Parts of the path are rough and gnarly.
However, over the last 20 years, significant sections of the Grind have been upgraded with more wooden steps to enhance safety.
The last few hundred metres involves walking and scrambling over a section of craggy rocks.
You know you’ve made it to the top when you break out of the trees for first time and see the gondola station and the buildings of the Grouse Mountain Resort.
When I did it in July 2022, I noticed that the top station had been jazzed up with a recovery juice bar and a walk-through water-spray feature.
Stoked with a post-Grind high, I staggered to a nearby lookout to enjoy the view—then headed to the restaurant for some well-earned refreshment.
Before You Go:
- The Grouse Grind is a one-way trail (up only). If you’re hiking down, use the parallel BCMC trail (2.9 km) or take the gondola ($20).
- There are tons of things to see and do at the resort including a lumberjack show, zipline and bear enclosure.
- The Grind is a seasonal hike and usually open from around May to October.
- If you’re still feeling lively, you can hike further into the alpine area by scaling Dam, Goat or Crown Mountains.