20 beautiful waterfalls you need to visit around Vancouver

Jul 26 2016, 7:01 pm

It’s that time again, when we go hunting for mountains, lakes, trails and beaches around Vancouver, to bask in the great outdoors in glorious sunshine.

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But it’s easy to forget the thundering waterfalls that are hidden all around us, shimmering in the sunlight, obscured by thick forest or pure remoteness.

So here are 20 gorgeous waterfalls you can explore around Vancouver. Some are only a short walk from the highway, others require more adventurous paddling, but all are well worth it.

North Shore

Norvan Falls

Chasing waterfalls today #TLC #norvanfalls #explorebc

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What: The hike to Norvan Falls will have you clambering over streams, tree roots and rubble as you make your way through groves of old-growth cedar – but it’s all worth it when you get to the falls for lunchtime.

How long: 5 hours or 14 km

Where: Trail starts and ends at the parking lot of Lynn Headwaters Regional Park.

Get there: A 40-minute drive from downtown Vancouver, or take the Seabus plus bus 228 instead.

Kennedy Falls

#kennedyfalls in North Vancouver. Great hike… #vancouver #badenpowell

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What: Kennedy Falls is your payoff for a rugged hike into the backcountry, across roots, creeks and fallen trees, past an old-growth cedar, with several trees growing on it, ending at this spectacular waterfall.

How long: 5 hours or 10 km

Where: Trail starts and ends at the top of Mountain Highway.

Get there: A 30-minute drive from downtown, or take bus 210 instead.

Granite Falls

What: Unless you’re tackling the multi-day Indian Arm Trail, you’ll need to kayak to Granite Falls. These are some of the biggest waterfalls in the Indian Arm Provincial Park – and home to a scenic campsite, if you feel like overnighting.

How long: 4 hours or 18 km paddling from Deep Cove

Where: From Deep Cove, paddle the west shore to Croker Island, take the west channel between Croker and the Mainland, once you round the northern end of Croker you will see Granite Falls on the east shore.

Get there: Deep Cove is a 30-minute drive from downtown Vancouver.

Silver Falls

☀️-light sneakin’ through to celebrate the first day of summer 2016

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What: Silver Falls are about two thirds of the way up Indian Arm and like Granite Falls, are easiest to reach by kayak from Deep Cove. Tucked away in a nook of the steep west shoreline, they can be easily missed.

How long: 3 hours or 12 km paddling from Deep Cove

Where: From Deep Cove, paddle the west shore of Indian Arm, going past Lone Rock Point and Best Point.

Get there: Deep Cove is a 30-minute drive from downtown Vancouver.

Twin Falls

What: Twin Falls are on the Baden Powell Trail, near Lynn Valley Suspension Bridge. They’re easy to get to and there’s a wooden bridge viewing platform, which gets pretty busy in the summer.

How long: 20 minutes or 1 km

Where: East of the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge in Lynn Headwaters Regional Park.

Get there: A 40-minute drive from downtown to Lynn Headwaters Regional Park, or take the Seabus plus bus 228 instead.

Cypress Falls

#cypressfalls #northvancouver #pacificnorthwest #vancitybuzz #vancityhype #amazing_longexpo #canon_photos #waterfalls #pnw

A photo posted by JPamplinPhotography (@jpamplinphotography) on

What: Cypress Falls are easy to reach on a hike that takes you along Cypress Creek on the North Shore, through forests of moss-covered, old-growth trees. You’ll actually see two gorgeous waterfalls as they pour into the canyon below.

How long: 1.5 hours or 3 km

Where: Trail starts and ends at Cypress Falls Park – Woodgreen Place, West Vancouver.

Get there: A 30-minute drive from downtown, or take bus 253 Caufield all the way there instead.

Metro Vancouver

Kanaka Creek Cliff Falls


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What: The Cliff Falls area of Kanaka Creek in Maple Ridge is a great spot for an easy hike through the forest, past calm creeks and rushing rapids. Enjoy a picnic with a view of the waterfall then finish up with a visit to the local salmon hatchery. 

How long: 2 hours or 4 km

Where: Trail starts and ends at Cliff Park – 251 Street, Maple Ridge.

Get there: A one-hour drive from downtown Vancouver.

Widgeon Falls

What: A trip to Widgeon Falls, north of Pitt Meadows, allows you to combine a canoe ride, a scenic hike and some wading all in one day. Keep an eye out for herons, deer, and bears as you make your way from shoreline to waterfall through thick forest.

How long: 5 hours or 6 km

Where: Paddle starts and ends at Pitt Lake, at the end of Neaves Road, north of Pitt Meadows. If you need a canoe, try Pitt Lake Canoe Adventure Rentals on 778-984-5334 or 604-460-8837.

Get there: One hour and 15 minutes driving from downtown Vancouver.

Swan Falls

What: Swan Falls, near Buntzen Lake in Anmore, are reached by a steep, intermediate hike around the lake. Not only will you get a gorgeous view of the waterfall from below, you’ll also be able to reach the bluffs near the top of the falls too.

How long: 3.5 hours or 10 km

Where: Trail starts and ends at the dog off-leash area in the Buntzen Lake Recreation Area parking lot, off Sunnyside Road in Anmore, north of Port Moody.

Get there: A one-hour drive from downtown Vancouver.

Gold Creek Falls

What: The walk to Gold Creek Falls in Golden Ears Provincial Park is short but sweet. Starting near Alouette Lake in Maple Ridge, the trail meanders over moss, past mountain vistas and through rainforest to reach fantastic views of the falls from above and below.

How long: 2 hours or 5.5 km

Where: Trail starts and ends at the last parking lot on Golden Ears Parkway near Alouette Lake in Maple Ridge.

Get there: One hour and 30 minutes’ drive from downtown Vancouver.

Crystal Falls

Adventure time come on grab your friends 👭

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What: Scenic Crystal Falls in Coquitlam are easily accessible on a short trail, running along the Upper Coquitlam River. Wander through a moss-covered forest, hop over tiny streams playing along the path, and pack a picnic for when you reach the falls.

How long: 2 hours or 7 km

Where: Trail starts and ends at an unmarked trailhead on Karley Crescent, where it meets Shaughnessy Street, in Coquitlam.

Get there: A 45-minute drive from downtown Vancouver.

Sawblade Falls

I cried when we got lost at the end and ended up on the “dodge bullet” bike trail behind the gun rage

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What: You can reach Sawblade Falls, in the mountains above Coquitlam, on the Woodland Walk Trail. Through forest and over creeks, the trail takes you first to Woodland Falls and then after several switchbacks to the much more spectacular Sawblade Falls.

How long: 3 hours or 8 km

Where: Trail starts and ends to the left of the metal gate at the end of Harper Road, just before the PoCo & District Hunting & Fishing Club, in Coquitlam.

Get there: A 45-minute drive from downtown Vancouver.

Sea To Sky

Shannon Falls

What: Shannon Falls are the perfect place to stop for a breather on the way to Whistler, being only a few steps from Highway 99 and the Stawamus Chief. The third highest waterfall in BC, it’s a popular spot, so brace yourself for the crowds.

How long: 5 minutes or 350 metres

Where: Trail starts and ends at the Shannon Falls Provincial Park parking lot off the Sea To Sky Highway south of Squamish.

Get there: A 45-minute drive from downtown Vancouver.

Brandywine Falls

What: Brandywine Falls are another great spot to stretch your legs on the drive to Whistler. With only a short walk, you’ll get a glorious view of the cascades falling into a cavern full of rockslides below. Further along, you can also see Daisy Lake.

How long: 30 minutes or 1 km

Where: Trail starts and ends at the Brandywine Falls parking lot off the Sea To Sky Highway, about 11 km south of Whistler.

Get there: One hour and 40 minutes’ drive from downtown Vancouver.

Crooked Falls

What: You can reach the remote Crooked Falls on the Sigurd Creek Trail, a tough, uphill hike north of Squamish that will reward you with spectacular views. Note – this is a wilderness area so be prepared.

How long: 4 hours or 6 km

Where: 36 km north of Squamish; the Sigurd Creek trailhead is on the left side of the road 2.4 km after turning left onto Ashlu Road from Squamish Valley Road.

Get there: One hour and 30 minutes drive from downtown Vancouver.

Monmouth Falls

Who needs lakes when you can swim in waterfalls. #monmouthcreek

A photo posted by Adrianna Lundrigan (@onnabearxo) on

What: Monmouth Falls, northwest of Squamish, are great for canyoning, if that’s what you’re into. You’ll have to paddle across the Squamish River then hike a trail on the other side, but rumour has it, it’s totally worth it. Beware strong currents and ground wasps.

How long: 8 to 10 hours

Where: Start your paddle from Squamish River Dyke Road at Spit Road, off Government Road, north of Squamish.

Get there: A one-hour drive from downtown Vancouver.

Alexander Falls

It’s better to witness something once than to hear about it a 1000 times. Go Explore!

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What: Previously only accessible by remote forest service road, the area around Alexander Falls, near Whistler, has been opened up a lot since the Olympics. Now there’s no hiking necessary to see these amazing falls cascade down 43 metres of rock.

How long: No hike needed!

Where: About 10 km south of Whistler, on the Callaghan Valley Road, just before Callaghan Country Ski Resort.

Get there: One hour and 30 minutes drive from downtown Vancouver.

High Falls

don’t look down. #highfallscreek

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What: The trail to High Falls is aptly named – if you’re afraid of heights, it may not be for you. Do not look down. Use the ropes and scramble over those rocks. In return, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the waterfall and several mountain vistas.

How long: 5 hours or 12 km

Where: Trail begins about 23.5 kilometres down the Squamish Valley Road, off the Sea To Sky Highway.

Get there: A two-hour drive from downtown Vancouver.

Rainbow Falls

The waterfall was like 50ft high It was gorgeous

A photo posted by Chloe (@chloe__dj) on

What: Rainbow Falls, near Whistler, are reached on the Rainbow Lake trail along 21 Mile Creek. It is a little steep, but it’s a short trail so an easy stop along the Sea To Sky. If you feel like making a day of it, you can continue on to Rainbow Lake.

How long: 40 minutes or 1.4 km

Where: Trail starts about 7 km down Alta Lake Road, off the Sea To Sky Highway, north of Whistler.

Get there: A two-hour drive from downtown Vancouver.

And finally….

If you happen to be out near Chilliwack…

Bridal Veil Falls

What: Bridal Veil Falls, near Chilliwack, are easy to access and beautiful to behold, named for the veiling effect of the water cascading over the smooth rock face. And while you’re there, make sure you stop for pie in the airport. Trust us, it’s amazing.

How long: 15 minutes or 800 m

Where: On Bridal Falls Road, off Harrison Hotspring Road, east of Chilliwack in Rosedale.

Get there: One hour and 30 minutes driving from downtown Vancouver.

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