Essential tips for first-timers doing the Grouse Grind

May 20 2021, 9:51 am

Please note: As recommended by BC’s health officials, indoor gatherings of any kind and unessential travel in the province are not recommended at this time. Currently, outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people are permitted, but use COVID-19 layers of protection and maintain physical distancing. Please adhere to COVID-19 health and safety measures, including proper physical distancing and frequent hand washing, and wearing a mask or face-covering in public indoor and retail spaces. If you are sick, please stay home.


One of Metro Vancouver’s most popular hikes, the Grouse Grind, has opened for the 2021 season.

In annual fashion, many participants will look to challenge the hike over the coming months. And while many hikers are seasoned veterans, there are plenty of people who will be attempting the Grouse Grind for the first time.

It can be a daunting task, to say the least. After all, it’s called “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster” for a reason.

So, to make your first time a little bit easier, here are some essential tips for first-timers doing the Grouse Grind.

Start with some of Vancouver’s easier trails

The Grouse Grind is a 2.5-kilometre trail that begins at a 300-metre elevation and climbs to 1,100 metres. This makes it a very challenging hike, especially for unseasoned hikers.

If you jog, bike, play sports, frequent the gym, or perform any sort of physical activity, you’ll likely be just fine. But in case you’re a little worried, it might help to try an easier hike or trail beforehand.

Stretch both before and after the hike

There’s nothing worse (or more embarrassing) than cramping up mid-hike.

Take some time before and after to focus on stretching your lower body, specifically the quads, hamstrings, and calves. It’ll save the pain and soreness that can occur before or after the Grind.

Wear proper workout clothes and footwear

When it comes to the Grouse Grind, you’re looking for lightweight, breathable clothing that you can move in — leave the jeans and sneakers at home.

Proper running or hiking shoes will provide adequate support, foot stability, and reduce the chances of slipping and falling.

Bring an extra shirt and a towel

Sure, you might complete the Grouse Grind, but you won’t be at base camp just yet.

If you tend to sweat a lot, an extra shirt and towel will go a long way during the Gondola ride down — and others will thank you for it.

Book your ride down in advance

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of measures are in place at the Grouse Grind. Since downhill hiking is prohibited on the trail, hikers will need to reserve an advance spot on the Skyride.

Hydration is key

During peak summer temperatures, dehydration is a serious possibility while hiking the Grind. Always factor in weather and temperature before setting out. We recommend bringing at least one litre of water per person, as well as drinking extra water the night before and morning of the hike.

Break the hike down into quarters

The Grouse Grind is broken up into four quarters. The first quarter is actually the longest, but it’s also the least steep.

The second and third quarters are the steepest and a real grind (ha), while the last quarter is easier than the second and third. Keep that in mind and pace yourself accordingly.

Let faster hikers move in front of you

You might encounter some seasoned hikers that are looking to push their best times.

Letting them through is not only polite, but it also lets you move through the Grind at your own pace. There’s no shame in being passed and it keeps everyone happy. Remember to keep your distance and stay 2 metres apart from other hikers.

Bring a garbage bag

If you choose to bring snacks (an excellent idea), make sure to bring a garbage bag. Keep the trails clean and do your part to make sure that everyone can enjoy the Grind.

Use the washroom before you go

There are no restrooms or outhouses during the course of the hike so go before you head out.

Leave the speakers at home

There’s nothing wrong with a little music but for the Grouse Grind, bring some headphones. Metro Vancouver actually prohibited speakers from being used on the trail in 2018.

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

Vincent PlanaVincent Plana

+ Health & Fitness
+ Great Outdoors
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