7 amazing dog-friendly hikes that aren't on the North Shore

Jul 10 2020, 3:05 pm

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Once you’ve exhausted your hiking explorations of the North Shore with your dog, set your sights a little wider.

It’s not difficult to find other areas in the Lower Mainland where you roam with your pup and enjoy the best of Beautiful BC closer to home.

In fact, here are seven really great ones.

Ā Please note: As recommended by BCā€™s provincial health officials, if you choose to participate in events or liesure outside of your home, please adhere to COVID-19 health and safety measures, including proper physical distancing and frequent handwashing. If you are sick, please stay home. Check the BC Parks website before heading out to see which parks are currently open to visitors.Ā 

For your own safety, please make sure you are well prepared before you head out on your next adventure. Information on how to prepare for your trip and to stay safe while youā€™re hiking is available fromĀ North Shore RescueĀ andĀ Adventure Smart.

Parks Canada advisesĀ you to stay on marked trails, abide by trail closure signs, and hike with a friend. It also recommends that you keep a safe distance back from slopes, river edges and bluffs.

Before heading out with your dog, check if these parks require dogs to be leashed.Ā 

Pacific Spirit Park


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Let’s start off easy at Pacific Spirit Park. Situated next to UBC, it’s accessible by transit or car and has over 55 km of trails to explore on foot. Not all these trails are leash-optional, as you can see from the map, but a good chunk is. Here’s a sample route you can take. You’ll be surrounded by so many trees, you’ll forget that civilization is simply a short walk away. The trails are mostly gravel paths but there are some hilly sections if you want to step up your workout.

Tunnel Bluffs


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Heading north on the Sea to Sky Highway, you’ll hit Tunnel Bluffs near Lions Bay. There are 30-minute parking restrictions on the Tunnel Point parking area. Please note, parking is not permitted along the Sea To Sky Highway and it is illegal to cross the highway. This route to Tunnel Bluffs is currently inaccessible.

Once at the trailhead, follow the yellow markers and maps to an almost 4.5 km ascent with steep sections. Get ready to take in the beauty of Howe Sound and the surrounding islands as they will be your reward for this tough workout. Be prepared to help your dogs out on the more difficult sections and keep them controlled at all times.

Crooked Falls


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Further north in Squamish is Crooked Falls, a spectacular waterfall that is worth the hike to get to. It’s an intermediate 5 km roundtrip trail which can be steep at times, so mind your footing. There are opportunities to get Instagram-worthy shots at various viewpoints along the way. Save some snaps for the main event, though. Don’t be too distracted by the rushing water as there is some tougher terrain around here.

Crystal Falls


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Let’s head east now to Coquitlam. Nestled between Westwood Plateau and Burke Mountain, the Crystal Falls trail is a low-key 6 km round trip hike with minimal elevation. You might want to bring your bathing suits in case you want to take a dip. The route is open year-round but tends to get quite muddy during the rainy months.Ā A waterfall, an easy hike, and a day out with your best furry friend… what more can you ask for?

Abby Grind (Glen Ryder Trail)


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Did you know that Abbotsford has its own “Grind” climb? The Abby Grind is a 4 km out-and-backĀ which is not as long nor as steep as its North Vancouver counterpart. It’s a popular hiking trail where you can get a quick 1.5-hour workout with your pup. The trail eventually hits a junction which goes to a more difficult trail to Taggart Peak or a viewpoint. Choose the viewpoint, claim your reward and start making your way back down. Unlike the Grouse Grind, there’s no gondola ride down (which also means it’s free!).

Elk Mountain


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Elk Mountain is a great hike that offers enough of a challenge and ends with a breathtaking view. The 8 km roundtrip route will occupy you for about 4 hours. You hike through forests, alpine meadows and eventually be treated to a picturesque view of the Fraser Valley. Make sure to bring plenty of water because there are no water sources along the way.

Sumas Mountain


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Save the longest for last, Sumas Mountain. Prepare yourself for a long day as this 13.5 km roundtrip hike will take about 6.5 hours. You won’t be bored though since you’ll be traversing over a variety of terrain like lush forests, through a ravine, and narrow trails with overgrown vegetation. Bring lots of water and food for yourself and your dog too. Do this hike on a sunny day so you can take advantage of the beauty of the Fraser Valley and Mount Baker.

Happy adventuring! Don’t forget to bring the 10 essentials with you and let people know about your trip plan. Your pets will want some food and water too so make sure they’re taken care of too. As always, please keep our trails clean by taking your garbage out with you. Thanks to RunGo for providing the routes for all these great hikes. Download the app before you go to get turn-by-turn directions for these routes.

Jeannine AvelinoJeannine Avelino

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