Essential tips for first-timers doing the Grouse Grind

Jul 16 2020, 10:54 am

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Please note: As recommended by BC’s provincial health officials, if you choose to participate in events 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. 


With Grouse Grind open for the 2020 season, many locals will be taking on the challenging hike.

Some of those who take the trail will be seasoned veterans. For those who aren’t, however, the first time going up the Grind can be daunting, 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.

Try some of Vancouver’s easier trails first

The Grouse Grind can be very challenging, especially for unseasoned hikers.

If you bike, play sports, go to the gym, or do any sort of physical activity, you’ll likely be more than fine.

For those that are still a little worried, however, it wouldn’t hurt to try an easier hike or trail first.

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 during or after the Grind.

Wear proper workout clothes and footwear

Workout wear truly is king for the Grouse Grind; jeans and sneakers just won’t cut it.

Proper running or hiking shoes also mean a lesser chance of slipping and falling.

Bring an extra shirt and a towel

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 can go a long way during the Gondola ride down, and others will thank you for it.

Hydration is key

During peak summer, dehydration is a serious possibility while hiking the Grind. Always factor in the weather and temperature before setting out; bringing at least one litre per person would be a safe bet.

Break the hike down in quarters

The Grouse Grind is broken up into four quarters. The first quarter is the longest, but it’s actually the least steep. The second and third quarter are the steepest and a real grind (ha), and the last quarter is easier than the second and third.

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 lets you move through the Grind at your own pace. There’s no shame in being passed, especially if it’s your first time. 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.

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