Of all the places to walk uphill in the Vancouver area, the most iconic has to be the Grouse Grind.
Once you get to the top you’ll be rewarded with an eye-widening, jaw-dropping view of the Lower Mainland; as well as the opportunity to enjoy a hard-earned beer or two.
But even though the Grind is one of Vancouver’s most popular trails, it’s not something you want to take lightly. At 2,830 steps long there’s a reason they call it Mother Nature’s stairmaster you know?
So before you head off for the trail here’s a little guide to make sure you are ready to sweat it out on the Grouse Grind.
How to get there:
Where: 6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver
The entrance to the Grouse Grind is right beside the gondola you would take to go snowboarding, so fear not, there is still a way up the mountain if the Vertical March of Doom proves too daunting. It is roughly a 30 minute drive from downtown Vancouver.
To make it there by transit, take the SeaBus from Waterfront Station to Lonsdale Quay, then take the 236 bus. It should take about 50 minutes from Waterfront if you don’t miss any rides.
Grouse Mountain also offers a free shuttle service over the summer that departs from Canada Place. The shuttle runs every 20 minutes between 9 am and 6 pm in July and August, and every 30 minutes in May, June, and September.
Though it is free, the bus only has 58 seats and tickets work on a first come first serve basis.
How hard is it:
It’s hard—there’s no tiptoeing around that. It’s essentially few hours of walking continuously up stairs. But the staircase is in a beautiful forest, the destination is incredible, and there are plenty of places to rest along the way—and you won’t be the only one stopping to take a breather!
You won’t have to go out and buy ice spikes or tell your family you’ll be out in the wilderness for a week, but it will take a fair amount of will-power (and not to mention physical fitness) to make it to the top. You’re walking up the side of a mountain, after all.
What to bring:
- Good shoes are an absolute must. Depending on the weather the steps may be slippery, and you don’t want to have to regain any ground if you take a tumble. Your trusty pair of runners should do the trick.
- Water. Lots of water. At least a litre per person, though doubling that would be a safe bet. Always factor in the weather and temperature before setting out; the trees offer shade from the sun, but dehydration is still a serious danger.
- Proper clothing. Don’t think you’ll be fine just wearing your work uniform; jeans trap heat and your legs’ mobility. You’ll already be sweating enough.
What does it cost:
Sweat. Maybe some tears. Hopefully not any blood. And $10 to take the gondola ride down after you make it to the top. It saves your (already sore) knees the stress of walking down stairs for more than an hour, and you get a great view of Vancouver on the ride down to the parking lot.