Location: Stanley Park
Park here: Various locations
Public Transport: Bus #19
Hike Distance: 8 km
Hike Duration: 2 hours
Elevation Gain/Loss: approx. 100 m
What makes it easy? A relatively flat, wide path through the forest
Website: Click here
Stanley Park is a large, beautiful urban park jutting off Vancouver’s downtown core. With towering trees, calm lakes and views stretching towards the mountain-framed ocean, it’s a lovely place to spend a sunny day escaping the city—without changing your postal code.
I’ve traced the entire seawall around Stanley Park before, soaking in stunning views and dodging tourists on rented bicycles, but this time, I wanted to explore the trails that lace through the inner park for a quieter, shadier summer adventure.
Finding the Trailhead
I took bus #240 from Burrard Station to the intersection of West Georgia and Denman streets. From here, my hiking buddy and I crossed beneath the causeway on the pedestrian pathway and jumped onto the dirt trail that circles the Lost Lagoon.
The Hike Itself
We followed the path around the water for a few minutes before branching off towards the rose gardens.
Although it was late in the season, colourful flowers and vibrant roses still bloomed. Muted shades of succulents thrived in low beds. We spent a few minutes stopping to smell the roses.
From here, we headed left onto the South Creek Trail.
We dove deep into the forest, looking up and admiring the tall trees, before arriving at Beaver Lake. Turning right, we continued around the pond, watching lily pads for resident frogs.
I’d recommend keeping the AllTrails map open, as it can get confusing. We followed the Eagle Trail to Chickadee Trail and Avison Trail, encountering some mild elevation gain, and eventually emerging onto an overpass with a view of the Lion’s Gate Bridge.
We took a quick detour to Prospect Point to refill our water bottles, use the washroom and enjoy the view from Lowden’s Lookout.
Back on the trail, we returned to the forest. We took a right onto the Rawlings Trail, which led us to the iconic Hollow Tree.
We continued along the dirt and gravel path, admiring the flora and watching out for fauna. Coyote attacks were a common occurrence not so long ago, but we didn't encounter anything bigger than a squirrel.
In need of a detour and salty breezes, we turned off the trail towards Second Beach, where we grabbed an ice cream and lemonade from the concession. Pulling out a blanket, we sprawled out next to the ocean, squishing our feet in the sand.
With only 400 metres to go, we returned to the trail, crossed a small bridge and jumped back on the path circling the Lost Lagoon.
We watched herons hunt for fish and listened to seagulls cry from a small island. Eventually, we ended up right back where we started.
Before You Go:
- Although you are still in the city, bring the same provisions you would for a day hike
- There are two other wonderful places to eat (or drink) within the park: the Teahouse and the Brewing Restaurant & Brewpub
- If you want to experience more of Stanley Park, don’t miss the Indigenous artwork at the Miniature Railway Plaza, the nine totem poles at Brockton Point and the Nine O’Clock Gun