13 of the best spots in Metro Vancouver to go for an early-morning hike

Sep 5 2020, 3:38 pm

Bring the taste of the Okanagan home. With just 4 natural ingredients, our 1516 has everything you need and nothing you don’t.

With summer winding down, it’s time to take advantage of the remaining sunshine during the early morning hours before the rain and grey skies take over.

We’ve compiled a best-of list of spots that offer serene lake views, stunning views of the sunrise, or peaceful forests, and all are less than an hour or two from downtown Vancouver. You’ll be sure to find something that will get you up and active as we head into fall.

Disclaimer: To ensure your safety and well-being when visiting parks, practice physical distancing between you and other visitors, stay on marked trails and abide by trail closure signs. To avoid hazards, we recommend keeping a safe distance back from slopes, bluffs and river edges. More info on how to prepare for a visit to Parks Canada places during COVID-19. And please, leave no trace. Dispose of your waste properly and respect wildlife.

Information on how to prepare for your trip and stay safe whilst out hiking is available from North Shore Rescue and AdventureSmart.

 As recommended by BC’s provincial health officials, if you choose to participate in events or leisure activities outside of your home, please adhere to COVID-19 health and safety measures, including proper physical distancing and frequent handwashing. If you are sick or are experiencing any symptoms, please stay home. 

Iona Beach Regional Park

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What: Located just north of Vancouver International Airport, Iona Beach Regional Park is a unique hike that is made up of a long, narrow jetty of sand and grass along the mouth of Fraser River. Along the river you will see seabirds as well as an unobstructed view of the Georgia Straight — come here early in the morning and appreciate the beautiful scenery as you walk along the jetty.

How long: 1.5 hours or 6 km

Where: Starts and ends at the end of Iona Island Causeway, Vancouver

Get there: 35-minute drive from Downtown Vancouver

Lighthouse Park


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What: One of Vancouver’s most beautiful parks, located along the shores of West Vancouver. Lighthouse Park has some of the largest Douglas Fir trees as well as amazing views of the water — and is filled with a variety of trails so you can plan your own route. Our tip: head to Starboat Cove a 15-minute walk from the lighthouse for a picturesque view of the Lions Gate Bridge to UBC to Vancouver Island on a clear day.

How long: Up to two hours or 6 km

Where: Starts and ends at Lighthouse Park parking lot – Beacon Lane, West Vancouver

Get there: 40-minute drive from Downtown Vancouver

Minnekhada Regional Park (High Knoll)


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What: A peaceful sanctuary located in Coquitlam, there are a variety of trails to explore in the park, but head up to the High Knoll for the amazing views the park is known for. Also hidden within the park is a marsh, rich with wildlife. Nature lovers will enjoy spotting the abundance of creatures in the area.

How long: 2.5 hours or 6.5 km

Where: Entrance to the park is at the parking lot off Quarry Road in Coquitlam

Get there: Approximately a 45-minute drive from Downtown Vancouver

Lynn Loop

What: Lynn Headwaters Regional Park has many trails that offer a variety of long day hikes and shorter hikes. Lynn Loop is one of the shorter hikes and takes you up through the forest before looping back along the rushing water of Lynn Creek. For a serene, early-morning hike that will take you through the peaceful forest, this is the perfect spot.

How long: 1.5 hours or 5.1 km

Where: Lynn Headwaters Regional Park located on Lynn Valley Road in North Vancouver

Get there: 40-minute drive from Downtown Vancouver

Lindeman Lake

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What: One of the further hikes from downtown Vancouver, Lindeman Lake is worth the trek. This spot is less busy than some of its better-known counterparts, but is just as breathtaking with its turquoise blue waters.

How long: Two hours or 3.4 km

Where: Starts at the end of Chilliwack Lake Road in Chilliwack

Get there: Two-hour drive from Downtown Vancouver

Maplewood Flats

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What: Managed by the Wild Bird Trust of British Columbia, the Maplewood Flats is a popular bird-watching park and a great spot for a leisurely early-morning walk. With over 200 species birds spotted in the area each year, it is sure to please nature lovers.

How long: 45 minutes or 2.5 km

Where: Located east of the 2nd Narrows Bridge in North Vancouver

Get there: 20-minute drive from Downtown Vancouver

Whytecliff Park

What: Located amongst the rugged shores of the Howe Sound, the park offers spectacular views of the scenic mountains as well as the passing boats on the water. Whytecliff Park has a variety of trails to choose from, and the Howe Sound is known for its beautiful scenery; take in the amazing view whilst getting up and active.

How long: 1.5 hours or 2 km

Where: Starts and ends at the parking lot off Marine Drive near Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver

Get there: 45-minute drive from Downtown Vancouver

Rice Lake

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What: If you are looking for a serene, quiet lake to head out to on an early-morning hike, Rice Lake is your best bet. Calm, quiet, and full of life, the lake is located on the edge of the Lynn Headwaters Regional Park in North Vancouver and is the perfect spot for a leisurely morning out.

How long: One hour or 3 km

Where: Lillooet Road in North Vancouver

Get there: Approximately a 45-minute drive from Downtown Vancouver

Kanaka Creek (Cliff Falls)


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What: The Cliff Falls area of Kanaka Creek offers an easy set of hiking trails, and it is a great spot particularly for families to spend the morning outdoors in the summer. The trail through the canyon is a treasure trove of natural wonders, with wildlife to be found along the creek. Escape the city life and enjoy the serenity of the towering trees at Kanaka Creek.

How long: Two hours or 4 km

Where: Near 251 Street, Maple Ridge

Get there: One-hour drive from Downtown Vancouver

Abby Grind

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What: An alternative to the very popular Grouse Grind, the Abby Grind is a steep hike that ends at a scenic viewpoint looking southwest across Abbotsford. This hike will be sure to please those who want to get a great workout in whilst avoiding the busy crowds.

How long: 1.5 hours or 4 km

Where: Starts at Lakemount Road in Abbotsford

Get there: One-hour and 45-minute drive from Downtown Vancouver

Dog Mountain

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What: Dog Mountain is one of our top picks if you are seeking a spectacular view at the end of your morning hike. With one of the best views overlooking North Vancouver and with views of the Lions Gate Bridge, Stanley Park, and Downtown Vancouver in the distance, the hike is not only easy with minimal elevation gain, but it is also extremely rewarding to reach the peak.

How long: Two hours or 5 km

Where: Located within Mount Seymour Provincial Park in North Vancouver

Get there: 50-minute drive from Downtown Vancouver

Velodrome Trail

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What: Known as Burnaby’s version of the Grouse Grind, this one is for those who want to fit in a workout in the early morning. Hikers climb up more than 500 steps before following a trail to reach several viewpoints looking out at Indian Arm and Burrard Inlet.

How long: One hour or 3 km

Where: Starts on Barnet Highway on the north side of Burnaby Mountain

Get there: 30-minute drive from Downtown Vancouver

Boundary Bay Regional Park


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What: With amazing views of Deep Cove, Mount Seymour, and Burnaby Mountain, this short trail is perfect for an early summer morning when you can appreciate the scenery and the passing boats.

How long: 1.5 hours or 5 km

Where: Located in Belcarra Regional Park in Port Moody

Get there: One-hour drive from Downtown Vancouver

This article was originally published in April 30 and has been updated with the latest information. 

Audrey LimAudrey Lim

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