People that live in the Vancouver area know how beautiful it is. For outdoor lovers, there are many Vancouver area hikes that offer spectacular views and lookouts. Here are 25 of the best Vancouver hiking trails that you need to put on your list to do this summer. These BC Lower Mainland hikes range in difficulty, so research and don’t try to tackle something that is beyond your ability. Also, in order to keep Vancouver hiking trails pristine, read up on leave no trace principles before you hit the trail. This list includes challenging hiking trails in Greater Vancouver, day trips from Vancouver and family friendly hikes in the Lower Mainland. So many ways to enjoy beautiful British Columbia! Read on for my favourite hiking trails close to Vancouver.
With difficulty ranging from very easy to difficult, here are some hikes in the Lower Mainland Vancouver area that you may want to check out this summer. I have some from the Squamish and Whistler, too, since they make a great day trip from Vancouver.
Never hike without leaving information with someone on where you will be, and never hike past your ability. Check weather conditions as some of these hikes are not accessible part of the year. Follow hiking etiquette and leave these hikes in a better condition than you found them so that others can enjoy, too.
- Iceberg Lake
- St. Mark’s Summit
- Wedgemount Lake
- Tunnel Bluffs
- Watersprite Lake
- Lindeman Lake
- Quarry Rock
- The Stawamus Chief
- Elk Mountain
- Joffre Lakes
- Slhanay Peak Trail
- Mount Woodside
- Bowen Lookout
- Lynn Canyon
- Grouse Grind
- Lighthouse Park
- Admiralty Point
- Seton Lake Lookout
- Garibaldi Lake
- Panorama Ridge
- Dog Mountain
- Mystery Lake
- Hunter Road Trail
- Cascade Falls
Iceberg Lake is located on Rainbow Mountain in Whistler, BC. This Vancouver area hike will take you into the mountain, while following the picturesque trail through the forest. The trail’s most popular attraction is definitely Iceberg Lake with its surrounding meadows covered in flowers from July to September.
I did this Whistler area hike in early August, and it was still freezing at the top. However, the trail is very well maintained and very easy to follow. It took us just under three hours to complete the hike and climb to the top. Iceberg Lake is one of the hiking trails close to Vancouver that makes a great day trip.
In terms of difficulty, I would rate this Whistler area hike as an average one. I didn’t think it was that hard, but then, I was hiking with a group of people (which definitely contributed to the enjoyableness of this hiking experience).
The elevation gain is 870 meters and it will take you 15 km in total to get there in the back. Pack snacks my friends!
St. Mark’s Summit
St. Mark’s Summit is located on the Howe Sound Crest Trail in Cypress Provincial Park, BC. This is one of those hiking trails close to Vancouver that offers impressive views of Howe Sound. This is one of the classic hikes right outside of Vancouver in Lions Bay.
The hike isn’t too demanding as there are only 460 meters of elevation gain. I actually thought it was pretty easy when I did it. It is a total of 11 km to get there and back. I was enjoying the hike so much that I wasn’t really checking time.
If you like this list of hiking trails close to Vancouver, you might also like A Weekend Getaway to Sooke on Vancouver Island, Admiralty Point Hike in Belcarra Regional Park or Peru – The Lares Trek with G Adventures.
This Vancouver area hike was definitely the one of the hardest I did this year, but also the one that I have the best memories from. It is one of the most difficult hikes because of its steep elevation gain the whole time. I’m going, to be honest with you, there is barely any flat areas on the trail!
The elevation gain is 1160 meters and it takes the total of 12 km to get there and back. It took us 3 hours to get to the top and about 2 hours to get down the next day. We spent the night up there – this was my first over-night hiking trip ever! So, yeah…I will definitely always remember it.
And our hiking destination was simply breathtaking. I just adore Wedgemount Lake, it’s such a stunning place! We went mid August, when the meadows are burning with wildflowers, offering an extraordinary photo setting.
The Tunnel Bluffs hike is a sort of mainstream hike in Vancouver. North of Lions Bay, this scenic trail is very popular among hikers. With the elevation gain 650 meters and the total distance of 8 km, this hike is a pretty easy one. However, the trail is very steep, but you just get used to it and simply enjoy the view – the trail has many beautiful viewpoints.
Every time you take a break, you can enjoy the view of Howe Sound and its numerous islands. The best time of the day to hike Tunnel Bluffs is in the morning – there is less traffic than on other nearby trails and the view from the top is breathtaking.
It took me two hours to climb to the top and one hour to get down and I absolutely loved it. I went on this hike a few times this summer.
Watersprite Lake hiking trail is located near Squamish. The elevation gain is 660 meters, so, at first, I thought it was an easy hike. However, it is long, with the total travel distance 17 km. It took us about three hours to get to the top and additional two hours to climb down.
We did this hike in mid-July and there was still a lot of snow at the top. The view was breathtaking. The turquoise waters of Watersprite Lake and the mountain peaks in the background are a perfect setting for your Instagram snapshots. You’ll love it….seriously….look at that view!
You won’t get tired on this Chilliwack area trail. This trail is pretty easy, with the elevation gain 200 meters and the total distance of 3.5 km. It is not a long trail but it is still beautiful. At the end of your hike, you’ll get to a pretty amazing lake at the top. The trail is mostly straight up, so it is a nice hike for a beginner.
Quarry Rock trail is basically the easiest hike I have ever done. It is also a very popular Vancouver area hike, so I would suggest going either on a weekday or in the early morning. The elevation gain is 100 meters and the total distance is 3.8 km.
This is a great hike for beginners and those who love spending time outdoors without getting too tired at the end of the day. And don’t forget to grab some honey doughnuts after you climb down – the best post-hike snack ever. 🙂
The Stawamus Chief
Known as the Chief among locals, this huge cliff is home to one of the most popular hikes in the Sea to Sky Corridor. It towers more than 700 meters above the Howe Sound and offers a spectacular view of its waters below. The trail is a challenging hike, as it goes straight up from the start to the top. Honestly, I thought this hike was fair. I would describe it as the stair master that never ends lol!
I did this hike on a somewhat cloudy day, so I wasn’t busy at all. The elevation gain is 600 meters and the total distance is 11 km.
Elk Mountain in Chilliwack is a really fun hike. I went with two friends and got up to the top in an hour and 30 minutes. We climbed up just in time for sunset and the view was just breathtaking. You can see Chilliwack, Cultus Lake, and the surrounding Fraser Valley area from the top.
The elevation gain is 700 meters and the total trail distance is 8 km.
Joffre Lakes hike trail is located near Pemberton, in Joffre Lakes Provincial Park, BC. Because of stunning views that it offers along the trail, it is a very popular hike destination. Joffre Lakes comprises three stunning, turquoise glacier-fed lakes. The lakes are called Lower, Middle, and Upper Joffre Lakes.
We only visited the second lake, which isn’t the whole elevation gain or the full trail distance, and I didn’t really keep the track of how long it took us to get there.
It is not a very demanding hike, but with a steady uphill climb, this trail still offers a challenge. The elevation is 370 meters and the distance is 10 km. Once you reach those beautiful lakes, you’ll be astounded by the surreal blue color of their waters and the mountaintops still covered in snow. A truly amazing scenery.
The water is ICY cold, but bring a bathing suit for a quick dip before the hike down.
With patches of leftover snow speckling the surrounding peaks, Mt. Cheam is a beautiful place to catch the sunrise or sunset. This hike is located in Chilliwack, BC in the Fraser Valley, and one of my favorite hiking trails in Greater Vancouver. One of the best parts of this hike is that it offers a 360-degree view of Chilliwack and the surrounding valley. This is like the gold standard of scenic views!
It’s a pyramid-shaped peak that rises up to over 2100 meters in the air, so you’ll definitely get some incredible views from this hike once you get to the top (and along the climb, as well). It will take you around four hours round trip, but it will be so worth it. If you want to see the lovely meadows of this mountain decorated by blooming wildflowers, make sure to visit during late June through mid-August.
Slhanay Peak Trail
This loop trail hike boasts dramatic, sweeping scenery, which is no surprise—the hike entails climbing up a steep cliff to get to the top. One good thing to note for anyone nervous about heights is that most of the steepness lies at the beginning of the trail. So, at least you can get it out of the way early.
It’s located in the Stawamus Chief Provincial Park and is a moderate level of difficulty. It may take you around four to five hours to complete the whole thing. It’s another one I wouldn’t miss out on, though! It’s a great option when you’re looking for day hikes around Vancouver.
Little tip: make sure to venture out to some of the lookouts just off of the main trial. Don’t just hold your breath for the summit! The lookout views are fantastic as well. Keep in mind that this trail can be quite rugged at times, and markers are not present throughout the whole hike. It might be a good idea to bring a map with you.
Of all the easy Vancouver hiking trails I did, Mount Woodside had one of my favourite scenic views. Paragliders often take their initial launch of the side of this mountain to sail across the beautiful valley, which just shows how popular this place is for its views. However, even if you’re not looking to go flying off the side of Mount Woodside, it makes for a pretty nice hike. You might also want to have lunch at the launch spot!
This hike is located in Agassiz near Harrison Hot Springs, BC. It’s great if you’re looking for a decent workout, as it is over 9 km long and is rated as moderate to difficult. It’s an out and back trail, and foot traffic is usually pretty light. You can find picturesque wildflowers featured here, which is an added bonus since you’ll definitely want to take photos.
Bowen Lookout is one of those Vancouver area hikes that leaves you feeling all warm and fuzzy afterward. Why? You get amazing views of Howe Sound and Bowen Island, a pretty good workout, and a good dose of your daily nature needs (if you’re anything like me)!
Situated near the Cypress Mountain ski area, it’s a steep yet short climb. This is great for those who don’t like spending half of their day climbing a mountain. However, those who do love spending their time outdoors all day often do this hike as a brief side-stop on their way to on the way to St. Mark’s Summit.
This is a loop trail, and one that is heavily trafficked. Avoid peak visiting hours if you’d rather avoid those crowds! It can be done within an hour, but you’ll probably want to linger and take your time enjoying the views.
If you are backpacking in the Vancouver area, you will love hiking Lynn Canyon. The area actually has multiple hiking trails to choose from that are really nice, so you’re spoilt for choice here! The best part is that they’re fitting for any level of hiking experience as well.
This hiking area also features a 30-foot pool you can go swimming in, so bring your bathing suit if you decide to seek it out. It’s a popular spot for both locals and tourists, so be wary that it might get crowded at times, especially in the summer months. Fair warning—the water is cold, even in the summer, so it will definitely refresh you! There are picnicking areas as well if you don’t think you can take the water temperature.
There’s a large stairway after the pool that crosses the canyon, leading toward the park’s north entrance. You can keep following that path to explore the Northern region of the park, the Seymour Demonstration Forest and Rice Lake Park entrance. Alternatively, you can loop back around to the Lynn Canyon suspension bridge.
Known by many as “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster,” this hike is definitely a good workout option. It will take an hour and a half to two hours on average, depending on your level of hiking experience. On it, you’ll gain over 850 meters of elevation. If you make it all the way to the top, you will have ascended 2830 stairs!
If you’re really competitive and want to test your training, you can participate in the annual Grouse Grind Mountain Run. This run takes place every September, adding to some of the reasons it’s one of the best hikes around Vancouver.
Filled with beautiful old growth forestry, this hike is one you won’t easily forget. This park and super easy hiking trail is located on the shores of West Vancouver, and features some of the largest Douglas Fir trees in the entire Greater Vancouver area! You’ll also get to take in the breath-taking views of the surrounding water.
This is an easy hike and should take you around two hours to complete. It’s a good option for those searching to go hiking near Vancouver, since it’s only about a 40-minute drive from downtown. If you are looking for family friendly hikes in the Lower Mainland, add this to the list.
Upon venturing around this hiking trail, you’ll get to soak in plenty of nature. Besides the famous Douglas Firs you will also spot plenty of Western Red Cedar trees, which are just as impressive. However, if you really just want to see the lighthouse, you can take the wide trail that only takes about a ten-minute walk to reach it.
Located in Belcarra Regional Park, Admiralty Point is another of my favourite hiking trails close to Vancouver. This is a good one to do if you’re looking for a calm and peaceful experience. It’s not challenging, and it gives amazing views of Admiralty Point, which is why it’s a great choice for family friendly hikes in the Lower Mainland. The Point and highlight of the hike shows off the beauty of the Indian Arm, North Shore (Mount Seymour and Deep Cove), Burnaby Mountain, and Burrard Inlet.
This is a good one to take your kids on a little nature trip for a few hours. Admiralty Point is 2 kilometers from the parking lot, and even continues onward for another kilometer to Burns Point. This area has lovely views of Burrard Inlet across to Barnet Marine Park. You can also take some side trips to Maple Beach and Cod Rock, so this hike is really customizable to how far and how long you’d like to be hiking.
Seton Lake Lookout
If you are going to be in Whistler or Squamish, this is a stop to make. Of all the Whistler area hikes, this is probably one of the most Instagrammable. The reason is because it has a famous, very photogenic point—a horse shoe bend in the road, and a part of the Sea to Sky Highway. It looks out to Seton Lake and is located just south of the town of Lillooet. It’s just under a mile out and back, so very do-able for just about anyone!
To reach this stunning vista, find the big pullout area just before the road’s last switch back. You can park there and then follow the start of a trail that you can see across the road. Take this trail along the steep cliff until you can see the switchback clearly, and the lake a little farther off.
At the lookout, you will see the bright turquoise-colored Seton Lake, surrounding cliffs and impressive mountains. You might be able to get some of the beautiful wildflowers that grow there in your photo as well. It’s also a nice place to stretch your legs and enjoy a break from driving on Highway 99.
This hike can be difficult at times, but trust me when I say that it’s so worth it! You’ll see this once you reach the two smaller lakes, and finally, Garibaldi Lake. These turquoise gems are so nice to stare at, no matter when you go (although the best recommended times to visit this lake trail are from April through November).
You’ll enjoy the views of snowcapped mountains which form an impressive background behind the lake itself. The area is also located within Garibaldi Provincial Park, which means that it features lots of other natural formations such as glaciers, meadows, and even waterfalls! It takes around six hours to complete, and reaches an elevation of about 820 meters.
This hike is particularly long, stretching out at almost 29 kilometers, and is located near Cheakamus 11 in BC. The loop trail is heavily trafficked, and only recommended to experienced hikers. The pristine blue of the glacial lake is so very worth the challenge, though! It’s a good one to do when you’re searching for hikes in the Vancouver and Whistler area, since it’s only about a 20-minute drive.
Driving is the best way to get there for sure, since there isn’t reliable public transportation. On the way to this hiking spot, you’ll get to enjoy mountain ridges, panoramic sea views, and green islands dotted within them.
While some very experienced hikers can complete this trail within one day, it’s probably better to plan to spread it out since the whole thing takes 11 hours to complete on average. The best times to come to conquer this hike are from the months of June through October.
Dog Mountain is a great choice for hiking trails close to Vancouver—it’s conveniently situated just under an hour away. Specifically, the hike is located at Seymour Mountain and toward the north of Vancouver. This is a wonderful trail to stop at in order to enjoy a clear lake view, beautiful spring flowers, and mountain summit views which stretch all the way toward the city.
It takes about two hours on average to complete this hike, so it’s a good one to try and knock out in the morning or for a nice sunset trek. This short and easy trail is a great way to get wonderful views of Vancouver, especially on a clear day. It’s available year-round.
Despite the ease of this trail, it’s worth noting that there are slippery spots and tree roots to watch out for. Make sure you’re able to easily navigate your steps carefully. It’s well-marked, which makes things easier, and because of how popular it is, it’s maintained quite well.
Located at Mount Seymour, this lake trail is another one that’s great for all levels. It takes just over an hour to complete, and it’s located a little under an hour from Vancouver. It’s also perfect if you’re looking for a refreshing swim on a hot summer day, so plan accordingly if you’d like to take a dip! You’ll find lots of locals using this spot as a swimming hole during the summer.
This is a good trail for families who like hiking and who would enjoy a nice picnic near the water’s edge. There, you’ll be sure to find serene and beautiful views where you can relax and take photos. The lake has perfectly reflective waters on calm, clear days. It’s also an ideal place for Vancouver area hikes enthusiasts who are looking to cross another interesting trail off of their list.
Hunter Road Trail
Hunter Road Trail is a Fraser Valley hike that is in Mission (my home town) in the community of Steelhead. It is an actual logging road and provides spectacular views of Stave Lake at the summit. It is about 8 km round trip with an elevation gain of 230 m. There is very little parking, so it is best to go off season or mid-week.
This is one of my favourite family friendly hikes in the Lower Mainland, making it a popular destination. If you are making the trip from Vancouver, it is a great day trip combined with Cascade Falls.
Cascade Falls is located just outside of Mission in the Fraser Valley within Cascade Falls Regional Park. It is a short walk (with some stairs) to the falls from the parking area, making this a very easy hike for all ages. You can find the suspension bridge at the top of the trail, which gives a fantastic view of the waterfalls. If you are looking for family friendly hikes in the Lower Mainland, add this to the list.
What Vancouver area hikes have you done that you liked? There are many hiking trails close to Vancouver to provide years of recreation. Backpacking in the Vancouver area never gets boring! Let me know if you have any details that you think I should add to these BC Lower Mainland hikes and Whistler area hikes.