Eight Metro Vancouver trail runs with excellent scenic views

May 27 2021, 6:00 am

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With daylight lasting longer, it’s hard to resist some adventure.

Fortunately, our extensive backyard has several route options that are not too advanced, but at the same time, a treat for the eyes. Here are eight of them.

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Norvan Falls


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The Norvan Falls route is a trail runner favourite. You have it all: the distance (14 km round-trip), the runnable terrain, and the impressive waterfall at the end. You can even find a spot to relax on the water or on the side to take a break and enjoy the scenery. This trail gets really busy so an earlier start is recommended.

Mystery Lake


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If you are looking for something short, sweet and with a nice view, Mount Seymour has some options you can try. The Mystery Lake trail is only 3 kilometres with a 150 metre elevation gain so if you’re short on time it’s a good option or you can tack it onto a longer route. Watch your footing as there are roots and loose rock to navigate through. Don’t forget to enjoy the serene backdrop of the lake when you get there.

Dog Mountain


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Another easy option on Mount Seymour is Dog Mountain. It’s slightly longer and a bit more effort than Mystery Lake but you do get a view of North Vancouver and the surrounding areas on a nice, clear day. It gets a bit technical at the end so watch your step and be mindful of others as it’s a popular destination. Yes, dogs are welcome on leash, so bring your best furry pal along. Be prepared as there may still be snow or ice along the route.

Bowen Lookout


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Another short and sweet hike is the Bowen Lookout trail on Cypress Mountain. It’s a beginner-friendly 4-kilometre run, just remember, you’re allowed to hike the uphills. Once you’ve reached the turnaround point, you will be greeted by views of Bowen Island and Howe Sound. As with the previous entry, there may still be snow or ice on this route so bring crampons just in case.

Tunnel Bluffs


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This route has a good distance, views and a mostly runnable route. Tunnel Bluffs is an 11.5 kilometre roundtrip route which ends on epic views of Bowen Island and the Sunshine Coast. Watch for signs as the trail splits along the way and you don’t want to end up on the more challenging path to Mount Brunswick unprepared. Enjoy the trail as there are some cool features like a log bridge you have to cross over a creek.

Capilano Pacific Trail


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The Capilano Pacific Trail starts off near Ambleside Park and follows the Capilano River up to the Capilano Watershed and Cleveland Dam. Note that part of the trail is still closed due to a landslide so runners must follow a 3-kilometre detour to get back on the main trail.

You’ll be running through lush, green forests and views of the Capilano River, depending on where you are on the route. If the floodgates are open, you can even find a front row seat to watch the water rushing out of the dam. Keep running north and you’ll be treated to mountain views and the water reservoir.

Buntzen Lake/Sendero Diez Vistas


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You’ve got two options here. If you want something easier, but scenic, stick to the Buntzen Lake trail. It’s a 10 km trail around the lake that’s mostly groomed. If you are up for a challenge with a great payoff, have a go at the Sendero Diez Vistas trail.

This trail is known for its multiple viewpoints (10, according to its name). The third viewpoint seems to be the best one with great views of Indian Arm and Deep Cove. Be careful as it gets more technical and steep as you head back down to the Buntzen Lake trail. 

Golden Ears Canyon Loop


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Golden Ears Provincial Park is a must to explore. The canyon loop will allow you to hit several viewpoints and give you a bit of a challenge with some sections of steep, rugged terrain. You’ll be seeing portions of Gold Creek along the way as well as hit a beach with mountain views on a clear day. It’s not a bad way to spend the morning.

Jeannine AvelinoJeannine Avelino

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