Whether your bike is a hipster’s dream, salvaged cycle, or a day rental, it’s time to get those feet pedalling free and easy in Vancouver this summer.
Our gorgeous city and the surrounding area has a huge range of bike routes for you to tackle, from easy ambles to technical trails.
So to get you back in the saddle, here are 18 of the best recreational bike routes in Vancouver. Happy riding!
If you’re new to forest biking, Pacific Spirit Park would be a good place to start. It’s easy to reach, there are trails for all abilities that will make you feel like you’re a million miles away from the big city. Look out for dogs and hikers on the trails though – this place can get busy.
The jewel in Vancouver’s biking crown, this is the route everyone can ride – and everyone usually does. To manage the tourist traffic, there’s one-way system in place, so you can only ride counter clockwise around, between Devonian Harbour Park and Second Beach.
The route around Stanley Park is part of Vancouver’s 28km Seaside Greenway, the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront path, extending from the Convention Centre to Spanish Banks. A great way to spend a sunny afternoon, cruising alongside the glittering water.
The Arbutus Greenway runs for 9 km from False Creek to the Fraser River, on land previously owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway. Once an inactive rail line, it has now been temporarily paved for cyclists and walkers. Watch out for unwieldy road crossings.
With more than 6 hectares of land in Hastings Park, the City of Vancouver has integrated a network of pedestrian and cycling trails around the park. Take in the Italian Gardens, Celebration Plaza, The Sanctuary, as well as the PNE and Playland of course.
I get off work at 3:30 sharp. The sun goes down at 4:18 sharp. One thing I learned tonight is that it’s just as easy to come up with solutions as it is to come up with excuses. The other thing I learned is watching the sun go down and the full moon rise on the same bike ride is pretty awesome. #strava #cycling #autumn
The foundation for Port Coquitlam’s trail network is the Traboulay PoCo Trail, a 25.3 km flat route that encircles the community. The trail traverses a varied landscape that includes forest and creek, meadow and marsh, riverfront and urban development.
If you’re looking for a place for a bike alongside the water, be sure to check out the Burnaby Fraser Foreshore Park. This 15 km route follows the Fraser River shoreline with views of tugboats, barges and log booms. Don’t forget to bring a picnic!
A challenging, but beautiful uphill ride, the UBC Loop takes you along NW Marine Drive, with gorgeous beach views, then up through the university’s endowment lands. Stop at Wreck Beach for a break, then continue along SW Marine Drive through Pacific Spirit Park.
This 12 km bike route starting at Central Park in Burnaby takes you through a multitude of community parks and past public artworks to end at Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver, where you can enjoy some of the best views and gardens in the city.
The Ontario Bikeway takes you from False Creek to 69th Avenue and the Fraser River, and starts with one hell of a climb. But it eventually flattens out – maybe stop at Nat Bailey Stadium for a game of baseball along the way?
The Central Valley Greenway is a 25km route linking Vancouver, Burnaby, and New Westminster. It’s perfect for slightly more adventurous city cyclists – part separated urban greenway, part rural recreational trail.
The BC Parkway is a 26-km, multi-use path that roughly parallels the Expo SkyTrain Line, connecting Surrey City Centre, New Westminster, South Burnaby and Vancouver. Look out for murals and mosaics along the way, then finish up with a beer on Commercial Drive.
Lions Gate Bridge
Sure this is an uphill haul on the way back, but what awaits you on the North Shore makes it well worth it. Head to Horseshoe Bay for some relaxation in the sunshine and a picnic by the water. Then brace yourself for the challenging climb back into the city.
Beercycling on the Eastside
East Vancouver is now home to a multitude of awesome craft breweries, and the best way to see them is by bike. (We put this in the harder list because you need to drink responsibly and ride safely!) The map below has a few suggestions–take your tastebuds exploring.
These 25 km trails around the shores of Richmond and Steveston offer spectacular mountain, estuary, and ocean views. As you head through Terra Nova Park, you’ll be able to spot herons, hawks, and turtles, and in Steveston, reward yourself with some fish and chips.
This black diamond 2 km trail on top of Seymour Mountain is for hardcore mountain bikers only, full of ladders deep in the beautiful North Shore forests. And once you’re done navigating the CBC, you can catch one of the lower trails to breeze all the way down.
Darn wet on the shore today. Pipeline was like a river. #bike #mtbbc #beautifulbc #mtnbike #lifebehindbars #giantbikes #mountainbike #makeitreign #outsideisfree #mycyclingweekend #bikeselfie #riding #cycle #cycling #mountainbiking #giant #cyclinglife #dirtchurch #northshore #northvancouver #vancouver #fromme
Another black diamond downhill mountain bike trail, this time on Mount Fromme, offering a tough 2 km of berms, ladders, rock plating, bridges, skinnys, teeter totters, and more for experienced mountain bikers only.
This blue trail in the Burnaby Mountain Trail System may be less than a kilometre long but that doesn’t mean it’s not without its technical challenges for intermediate mountain bikers, including bridges, ramps, and skinnys.
Biking in Vancouver
For a map of all the bike lanes and cycling streets in Vancouver, check here: Vancouver Cycling Map or click on the image below.
For tips on cycling in Vancouver, check out HUB Cycling, a charitable non-profit organization, which aims to make cycling better through education, action and events.
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Editor’s Note: Based on feedback from the mountain biking community, we have amended the descriptions of some of these trails.