8 places to run around Vancouver for all fitness levels

Feb 1 2023, 6:00 pm

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Running is a favourite pastime for many Metro Vancouver residents, and it’s no surprise why. Not only are there so many scenic areas to explore, but they are also quite accessible.

Whether you haven’t laced up before or have logged thousands of kilometres, there is a route for you.

Here are suggestions for places to run around Vancouver for runners of various fitness levels.

Beginner Routes

Stanley Park Seawall


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New runners will love flat routes, especially if there are lots of nice things to look at along the way. The Stanley Park seawall is a 10-kilometre loop with views galore. There are several landmarks along the route, including public art, the Brockton Point Lighthouse, and the impressive Lion’s Gate Bridge. You even run through two of Vancouver’s popular beaches, Second and Third Beach. The best part is if you want to add on several more kilometres, you can extend the loop to include the False Creek Seawall, Coal Harbour Seawall and Gastown for a true tour of the downtown core.

West Dyke Trail


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Here’s another flat run with lots of nature views. The West Dyke Trail in Richmond is a great place for a sunset run. It’s also a gravel path, so it will be easier on your knees. Park at Garry Point Park or any trailhead along the west side of Richmond and do a little out-and-back. For a longer run with more water views, you can take the Canada Line to Bridgeport Station and run west on River Road to hit the West Dyke Trail and go all the way down to Garry Point. Here’s a bonus tip: check out Richmond Olympics Parkrun, a free weekly 5K race along River Road every Sunday at 9 am if you are interested in an impromptu fitness test.

Burnaby Lake

This 10K loop is great for nature lovers. The trail around Burnaby Lake is gravel, with lots of spots to check out the view of the lake. If you’re lucky, you can spot some wildlife like beavers, rabbits, and various birds like herons and osprey from the Viewing Tower.

Intermediate Routes

Run the bridges


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Let’s step it up a notch and add a bit of elevation. A good way to do that in the city centre is to incorporate the downtown bridges into your route. Take your pick from the Burrard, Cambie, or Granville bridges… or why not all three in one go? They are quite different from each other and can pose an additional challenge for beginner runners. You can also try running up the causeway and over the Lion’s Gate Bridge. Taking a car on the causeway disguises the gradual incline it actually has. When you run it, your legs will feel it.

Pacific Spirit Park


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This large park near UBC is popular for runners, cyclists and hikers for a good reason. Immersing oneself in the fresh smell of the forest and “getting lost” in your thoughts amongst the trees are definite mental health benefits. The park can also add a little spice to your workout since you can plan a route along the northern hillier area towards Spanish Banks. These trails come to mind: Salish Trail West Canyon and Spanish Trail.

Find the urban hills


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Start from the False Creek Seawall and work your way up to the highest point in Vancouver. That’s Queen Elizabeth Park, if you didn’t know. Head to the top, enjoy the view and run back down. Another option is Kitsilano. If you start at Vanier Park and run south (aka uphill), you will have worked up an appetite for an après run treat at one of the many cafes nearby. Marine Drive to UBC is also a long uphill, although it’s a gradual climb. Or just head towards your closest hill and embrace the free glute workout you’ll have. Remember, do it for the downhills.

Advanced Routes

“House to Grouse”


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Here’s a challenge that is popular among some runners. It’s called “House to Grouse.” Essentially, you run from your home (or a certain starting point) to the top of Grouse Mountain. Capilano Road/Nancy Greene Way is already at least 5 km of solid uphill. Add to that the extra distance from your home plus heading over one of the long North Shore bridges (ideally, take the Lion’s Gate Bridge). For an extra challenge, climb up the Grouse Grind/BCMC and run back home. Are you up for it?

Baden Powell Trail


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The Baden Powell Trail is an expansive 48-kilometre hiking trail across several North Shore mountains. The trail varies in difficulty and elevation at various parts, but it’s the technicality of the terrain that makes it challenging. If the thought of adding roots, rocks, and mountain bike trails piques your interest, grab some trail shoes and head to, in my opinion, the most accessible trailhead for it, which is at the start of the Grouse Grind. Another option is to park at Cleveland Dam and follow the Baden Powell west towards Cypress Mountain. Get ready for a tough climb.

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Jeannine AvelinoJeannine Avelino

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