You know the feeling. You’ve been walking uphill for what feels like forever. Your legs are about to give up and your mind can think only of lunch…
…Until you peak that crest and come face to face with a spectacular ocean view. Suddenly, the uphill struggle was all worth it and you can simply soak up that vista.
Here’s our rundown of some of the most amazing views around Vancouver – that just happen to be found on a hike!
What: A classic North Shore hike, up wooden stairs, over tree roots and small creeks, among Douglas Fir and Hemlock trees, to a rocky outcrop and beautiful views of Deep Cove.
How long: 1.5 hours or 3.8 km
Where: Starts and ends at the Baden Powell Trailhead – Panorama Drive, Deep Cove.
Get there: A 30-minute drive from downtown, or take the Seabus plus buses 239 then 212 instead.
What: Lots of short, easy trails offering breathtaking ocean views, huge, old-growth Western Red Cedars and the picturesque picnic spot of Starboat Cove.
How long: Up to 2 hours or 6 km
Where: Starts and ends at Lighthouse Park parking lot – Beacon Lane, West Vancouver.
Get there: A 40-minute drive from downtown, or take bus 250 all the way there instead. [am2_see_also]
What: Tough it to the top of the second biggest granite monolith in the world and spectacular ocean and mountain views await you. Wear proper hiking boots though – this hike involves chains, ropes and a lot of boulders. (If you want to enjoy the view, but not the hike, take the Sea To Sky Gondola instead.)
How long: 6 hours or 11 km
Where: Starts and ends at the Shannon Falls parking lot, off the Sea To Sky Highway before you get to Squamish.
Get there: A one-hour drive from downtown.
What: This challenging hike around Buntzen Lake in Port Moody offers you 10 beautiful views, taking in everything from the surrounding lakes and mountains to Deep Cove, downtown Vancouver and Indian Arm. And if you don’t feel like hiking, you can always take a refreshing dip in the lakeside beaches instead.
How long: Up to 7 hours or 15 km
Where: Starts and ends at the Buntzen Lake parking lot in Port Moody.
Get there: A one-hour drive from downtown, or take the SkyTrain, then buses 169/160 and C26. [am2_see_also]
What: This tough hike isn’t recommended until July but the wait is worth it. After ploughing uphill for 450 metres – including a very steep last section – you’ll emerge to 360-degree views of the Georgia Strait, the Gulf Islands, Vancouver’s westside, the peaks of the Lions and Grouse Mountain. Inside tip: in winter, this is a popular snowshoe trail. To get down from the peak, everyone just lies down – and slides down.
How long: 3.5 hours or 7 km
Where: Starts and ends at the cross-country ski parking lot of Cypress Mountain (don’t worry, this trail is free, as it’s maintained by BC Parks, not the resort).
Get there: A 45-minute drive from downtown.
What: This is another challenging hike not recommended until July, but again, your patience – and uphill struggle – will be rewarded. Through lush forests and alpine meadows, you’ll be reach a gorgeous panoramic view of the entire turquoise lake and its melting glacier in the distance. Tip: If you want a shorter hike, you can always trail off after 6 km and head down to the lake.
How long: 5 hours or 18 km
Where: Starts and ends at the Rubble Creek parking lot just south of Whistler.
Get there: A one-hour and 45-minute drive from downtown.