7 Instagram-worthy hikes around Vancouver

Hiking selfie e1474326683175 Image: Shutterstock
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Guest Author Sep 19, 2016 4:11 pm

This article was written for Daily Hive by Julie Bruns. You can follow Julie on Twitter at @Bruns_Julie or on Instagram at @julie.bruns.


Nestled among water and mountains, Vancouver is a photographer’s paradise and an adventurer’s dream all rolled into one.

We have some of the best trails in BC right here on our doorstep, picturesque hikes that combine a dose of exercise with some stunning vistas along the way.

But what’s the point of hiking if there’s not an Insta-worthy view at the end of it?

To help you create an Instagram feed that will be the envy of your followers, here’s our guide to some of the most social media friendly hikes in and around Vancouver.

So charge up your phone (or DSLR), lace up your hiking boots and get ready to hit the trails to show off your #pnwlife pride!

For your own safety, please make sure you are prepared before heading out on your next adventure. Information on how to prepare for your trip and stay safe while on your hike is available from North Shore Rescue and AdventureSmart.

Stanley Park – Downtown Vancouver

Birds-eye view of the seawall in Stanley Park, just as the sun sank down into the sea. #stanleypark #seawall #vancitybuzz #igersvancouver #vancity #vanlife #vancouver #vancouverbc #vancouverisawesome #vancouverphotographer #pnw #pnwlife #pnwonderland #pacificnorthwest #seaside #sunset #goldenhour #seaside #oceanlove #yvr #seascape #beautifulbc #explorebc #exploration #explorecanada #adventuring #dusk #veryvancouver #georgiastraight #narcityvancouver #myvancouverlife

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If you’re just easing into hiking and want something simple, head for Stanley Park. It’s easily accessible from downtown and yields some very snappable views of both the downtown and North Vancouver skylines. While walking you can also grab a pic of other iconic Vancouver landmarks such as Siwash Rock, the Girl in a Wetsuit statue and the Nine O’Clock Gun. Not bad for an #urbanhike!

Vancouver, looking all futuristic. #vancity #vanlife #vancouver #vancitybuzz #vancityhype #vancouverbc #vancouverisawesome #vancouverphotographer #beautifulbc #beautifulbritishcolumbia #britishcolumbia #pnw #pnwlife #pnwonderland #veryvancouver #narcityvancouver #seawall #seaside #cityscapes #citylife #harbourcentre #futuristic #cityskyline #explorebc #explorevancouver #downtownvancouver #604 #yvr #igersvancouver

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How long: 2 hours or 6.5 km

Where: Accessible from downtown Vancouver

Get there: You can quickly drive there within a few minutes, or take bus 19. It’s also close enough to simply walk to from around the West End.

Quarry Rock – North Shore

BC – such an incredible place to live! Getting out and getting exercise on the stunning trails around North Vancouver!

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An Instagramming staple in Vancouver, the view from Quarry Rock lookout over the azure waters of Deep Cove is dotted with islands, sailboats, and paddle boarders. The hike itself also crosses several picturesque creeks that, depending on the season and the amount of rainfall, may be trickling or roaring down the valleys.

Bonus points for foodies: A post-hike stop by the infamous Honey Doughnuts & Goodies serves up a well-deserved, and highly photogenic, treat afterwards .

Gazing out into the wild blue yonder from the top of Quarry Rock. Gotta love those refreshing early fall hikes.

A photo posted by Julie Bruns (@julie.bruns) on

How long: 1.5 hours or 3.8 km

Where: Starts and ends at the stairs up to the Baden Powell Trailhead, just off Panorama Drive in Deep Cove.

Get there: A 30-minute drive from downtown, or take the Seabus, transferring to buses 239 then 212.

Little waterfalls along the Quarry Rock hike in Deep Cove, adding a trickling ambiance to the forest.

A photo posted by Julie Bruns (@julie.bruns) on

Lynn Loop – North Vancouver

Sunny July afternoons & runs through the forest (and over the bridge)

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No Vancouver explorer’s Instagram account is complete without photos from everyone’s favourite go-to hiking spot, Lynn Canyon. Grab a perfectly framed photo of the suspension bridge in the mist, capture the vividly green shades of the 30 Foot Pool, or get a shot looking down into the depths of Twin Falls.

Twin Falls at Lynn Canyon! If the view doesn’t take your breath away, the temperature of the water does! It’s awesomely beautiful though. #vancouverofficial

A photo posted by Julie Bruns (@julie.bruns) on

How long: 1.5 hours or 5.1 km

Where: Starts and ends in Lynn Headwaters Regional Park parking areas at the end of Lynn Valley Road.

Get there: A 40-minute drive from downtown, or take the Seabus, then bus 228.

Grouse Mountain – North Vancouver

Evergreens in the mist…

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If you can manage the more demanding hike up the Grouse Grind, there’s a plethora of photo hotspots awaiting you at the top. The way back down on the Gondola isn’t too bad either, and photos looking back at the mountain are a must for anyone’s collection.

How long: Up to 2 hours or 2.9 km

Where: Starts at the Grouse Grind parking lot, then the Gondola returns you to the parking area.

Get there: A 30-minute drive from downtown, or hop aboard the Seabus, then catch bus 236.

Whytecliff Park – West Vancouver

A magical evening at Whytecliff Park yesterday. We crossed the little rock bridge to explore Whyte Island before cliff jumping from a small ledge for a swim across the cove. Halfway across, we were joined by a pair of curious seals who peered at us awhile before diving back into the depths.

A photo posted by Julie Bruns (@julie.bruns) on

While Whytecliff Park does not provide too vigorous of a hike, it boasts some almost surreal photo opportunities. An island sticks out of the ocean a short distance from shore, with a land bridge connecting it to the beach at low tide. Take a snap from the shore, then clamber out to the island for a view back at the land, or out to the open sea.

A lone tree growing at the tip of the island also offers a very zen frame to capture. Often friendly seals swim alongside the island, so pack a zoom lens if you have one. Aim to be there around midday for bright colours in the water, or closer to dusk for more dramatic lighting.

How long: 1.5 hours or 2 km (depending on where you wander in the park)

Where: Hike along the beach and out over the land bridge at low tide to the island, or venture up the rocky paths on the other side of the park for a longer hike along the cliffs.

Get there: A 45-minute drive from downtown, or take the 257 Horseshoe Bay Express bus and walk 2 km from the roundabout by Horseshoe Bay along Marine Drive to the park.

Stawamus Chief – Squamish

Taking in the spectacular view after hiking to the top of the Stawamus Chief in Squamish, BC. Another adventure on the summer BC to-do list checked!

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A little farther from Vancouver, the Stawamus Chief hike is a bit of a challenge, but yields an unbeatable view of Howe Sound and Squamish lying below. The second peak provides some great Instagram fodder, as the peak drops away fairly steeply leaving an unobstructed view of the mountains and ocean. Aim to climb in the early morning or later afternoon for golden-hour lighting that’s not too harsh or reflective.

Squamish looking particularly lovely and almost surreal from the top of the second peak of the Stawamus Chief climb.

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How long: 6 hours or 11 km (all three peaks)

Where: Start out from the Stawamus Chief parking lot, just before Squamish, up the Sea to Sky Highway.

Get there: A one-hour drive from downtown.

Standing on top of the world, the fall breezes on your skin…

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Joffre Lakes – Pemberton

Exploring the breathtaking Joffre Lakes over my birthday made me realize just how much life has changed over the past year, and how thankful I am. Thank you to my amazing friends, my lovely family, and to Steve, who downright spoils me every day, not just on my birthday. ❤️ also, BC is incredibly beautiful guys, get out there and explore it!

A photo posted by Julie Bruns (@julie.bruns) on

You’ve probably already drooled over these turquoise-hued lakes in someone else’s Instagram feed. A hike around the Joffre Lakes just northeast of Pemberton takes a bit of a trip from Vancouver, but these glacier-fed lakes boast incredible shades of green and blue water, so you can rock #nofilter.

The first lake is a mere 10-minute walk from the parking lot and instantly offers a breathtaking vista with the glacier perched on the mountain behind as a backdrop. The middle lake features a fallen tree sticking out into the water and is a favourite spot to stand and take a selfie.

How long: 4 hours or 10 km

Where: Starts and ends at the end of the Joffre Lakes Provincial Park main parking lot.

Get there: A 2.5-hour drive from Vancouver, just past Pemberton.


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