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  • Writer's pictureCaitlyn Mackie

5 Must-do Hikes near Vancouver

Updated: Jun 13, 2018

"Where's that hike that you just did??"

"How did you get to that spot??"

"What's your favourite hike in Vancouver???"

To start off can I just say that I AM IN LOVE WITH VANCOUVER. I am so so so grateful and lucky that I get to live in such a beautiful place. big fan. I love bragging about all that there is to do.


Read here on some tips on how to be a good human while hiking. thx.

OK SO let's get to it with a list of some must do hikes while in Vancouver.

Tunnel Trail (Howe Sound)

- 8km roundtrip

- 650m elevation gain

- Trailhead location just off the sea to sky

- (Driving directions to parking lot are here)

Google Maps Copyright

I am always hesitant to tell people where this hike is when I'm asked. It is such a gem of Vancouver, and a photographer's paradise of a sunset spot. It's pretty much enjoyable to hike year round, but the snow is gone by May if you're trying to avoid that;

The trailhead is located just off the sea to sky highway, you have to park in the parking lot on the left side and cross into the bushes. There, you will find the trailhead with a map of all the different trails in the area. The lookout spot I write of is called tunnel bluffs.

You've gotta earn the views for this one. But once you've conquered that elevation in such a short distance, you are rewarded with a flat trail for the second half of the hike to reach the cliff drop that looks over Howe Sound.


hot dogs or legs?


Watersprite Lake

is first of all only accessible by a 4wd vehicle with high clearance.

- 17km roundtrip

- 660m elevation gain

- located near Squamish

- directions are here

Google Maps Copyright

Once you begin hiking from the parking lot, get ready to witness beautiful, crystal clear alpine lake, surrounded by peaks and evergreen. There is also a cute little hut that is photogenic and cool to stay in if you book in advance. (It's just been renovated in the past year!)

Don't let the distance scare you. Just be prepared and bring the water & snacks you need for the day. It is worth it!

This hike showcases mountain peaks in the southern region of Garibaldi Provincial Park, Martin Peak, Dreadnought Peak, and extensive views of the Watersprite Creek Valley. There really isn't a dull part of this hike. Through forests and wild flower fields only to then reveal an up close encounter with the mountains.

St. Marks Summit

-North Shore hike

- 5km roundtrip

- 460m elevation gain

copyright Google Maps

A North Vancouver favourite. Cypress Mountain has sooo much to offer. I'd say give yourself about 2-3 hours to get up there.

More breath taking views of Howe Sound. It never gets old. If you go early season (anytime before mid June) there is going to be snow that you will have to hike through. So just be prepared.

From the Cypress Mountain downhill parking lot, head north towards the nearby chairlift and look for the Howe Sound Crest Trail sign. The trail follows alongside the several ski runs until a sign that points to the right to the Howe Sound Crest Trail.

peaceful, rewarding evening.

Panorama Ridge

- 30km roundtrip

- 1520m elevation gain

- Past Squamish (2 access points)

Most people do this hike as an overnighter - camp spot reservations have to be made before hand (here).

There are two access points - Garibaldi Lake, and Cheakamus Lake. I hiked it in from Cheakamus lake - no reason really, just for something different and for a less trafficked trail. Camped at Helm Creek, and in the morning made the final hike to the ridge. If you hike in from Garibaldi Lake, camping at Taylor Meadows would make more sense (as per the map above)

The morning hike to the final viewpoint is a beautiful one. Through meadows, past glacial lakes, and up and up. Passing by the mighty Black Tusk (which could also be a final destination on the second or third day of hiking), finally making it to the top of the ridge.

Taylor meadow campground

Alex and the Black Tusk in the background

The final views. Garibaldi lake glowing below.

The Chief

- 11km roundtrip

- 600m elevation gain

- Squamish

This is my fifth local favourite, and although it's a pretty heavily trafficked trail, it is still a magical experience. I tend to want to avoid locations with lots of tourists, so it took me a while to check this one off the list.

Hikers can complete all three peaks of the Chief in a day or just choose to do a shorter trip to the South Peak that still offers a spectacular view.

The beginning of the hike isn't the most enjoyable (unless you love cardio), as you are walking up steep stairs for the first 40 minutes or so. I'd say give yourself 2-3 hours to get to the top of the first peak.

As you are nearing the top of the hike there's some cool rocks, ropes, and ladders you have to make your way up, and it makes you feel like a real mountaineer let me tell ya.

This hike offers scenic views of Howe Sound and several mountains in Garibaldi Provincial Park.

Tate climbing up

Reaching first peak, waiting for the sun to come up

We even ran into some local highliners! So cool.

There are soooo many more hikes in BC that I have yet to conquer and document, but I hope you enjoyed this sneak peak of local hikes in Vancouver!

You can follow along on my Instagram for live updates on hiking locations.

And I'll also be posting new blog posts about more beautiful locations every month, so stay tuned!

Thanks for reading, now get outside & explore!

Safe hiking :)

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