Vancouver’s Best Hiking
- Best of Vancouver and Victoria
- Vancouver Island: High Tea to Low Tide
- Vancouver’s Totem Poles
- Vancouver’s Best Hiking
- Family Fun in Vancouver & Victoria
- Focus on Vancouver and Victoria
- Vancouver Weekend Getaway
- Victoria Weekend Getaway
- A Tour Through Time
- Inside Passage Cruises
- Outdoor Adventures
- Winter Fun in Vancouver & Victoria
While Vancouver is not a particularly good city to explore on foot, it does have a number of wonderful urban and wilderness parks where taking a walk is a wonderful way to leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind. Here are a few favorites.
Stanley Park, an urban oasis crisscrossed with hiking trails and encircled by a 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) promenade that hugs the shoreline. The promenade is always busy, especially in late afternoon and on weekends, but you’ll find most other trails a lot less used. A good alternative to one long section of the promenade is to ascend the steps immediately north of Lions Gate Bridge to Prospect Point (and maybe stop for a snack at the café), then continue west along the Merilees Trail, which follows the top of the cliff band to Third Beach. Along the way, an old lookout point affords excellent views of Siwash Rock and the Strait of Georgia.
Pacific Spirit Regional Park
This 762-hectare (1,880-acre) park out near the University of British Columbia offers 35 kilometers (22 miles) of hiking trails through a forested environment similar to that which greeted the first European settlers over 200 years ago. A good starting point is the Park Centre (604/224-5739), which has a supply of trail maps. The entire park is crisscrossed with trails, so although getting seriously lost is impossible, taking the wrong trail and ending up away from your intended destination is easy. The Imperial Trail, starting at the corner of King Edward and 29th Avenues, is a personal favorite. It passes through a forest of red cedar and fir, crosses Salish Creek, then emerges on Southwest Marine Drive, at a monument commemorating the journey of Simon Fraser. From this lofty viewpoint, the view extends across the Strait of Georgia. This trail is 2.8 kilometers (1.7 miles) one-way (allow one hour).
The provincial parks along the North Shore contain outstanding scenery and wildlife, crystal-clear lakes and rivers, and established hiking trails that are generally well maintained and easy to follow.
© Andrew Hempstead, from Moon Western Canada, 3rd Edition