Vancouver has so many incredible hikes and I have sorted through all of them to find the best ones and ranked them by easy, moderate, or challenging hikes. This list only includes hikes in Metro Vancouver, and none from the Fraser Valley or Squamish, or else this list would be very long. I also have not included any city parks like Stanley Park, Pacific Spirit Park, or Burnaby Lake because again, the list would just be far too long.
Take a look to see what might suit your hiking level or fit your plans best. There are many more hikes in Vancouver, but these are the ones that I think are worthwhile doing at every hiking level. I hope this guide helps you to slowly get yourself into the hiking season or to start hiking for the first time.
Metro Vancouver Hikes by Difficulty
Easy Hikes in Metro Vancouver
1. Lighthouse Park, West Vancouver
With up to 6km of hiking trails that can be as short or long as you like this is a fantastic park to visit year-round and in any weather conditions. There are some hills but nothing that is too challenging. You will find beautiful views of the ocean and a lighthouse here.
For more information check out my full guide to Lighthouse Park here.
2. Capilano Canyon, North Vancouver
This is one of my favorite easy local getaways year-round and in any weather. There are many trails to explore with the longest loop being about 8km, though you can wander around all day here and make it much longer.
There are some hills and stairs which still can be a bit of a workout. Find bridges, a dam, and river canyons at this park, and check out my full guide here for more information.
3. Lynn Canyon, North Vancouver
This is a favorite for locals and visitors alike and is wonderful year-round and in any weather. The main loop takes you along the clear river, over a suspension bridge, and past waterfalls in only about 3km. Thi park still has many sets of stairs for a little workout. Add on the Rice Lake Loop if you want to hike for a bit longer.
4. Bowen Lookout, West Vancouver
This sweet but short 4.5 km hike will take you up a gradual incline on Cypress Mountain to a view of the ocean and the city. Though the view is not a massive 360-degree view it is still nice for a short walk in the woods.
The way back is past Yew Lake and through an educational forest where you can find all sorts of interesting flora. This trail can be done in the winter as a snowshoe trail as well.
5. Cypress Falls, West Vancouver
This trail is only about 3km long and has little elevation gain though you will still find yourself climbing a few hills. Be sure to take your time and find your way to the upper falls to make this a worthwhile trip. Be sure to download a map before you go because the upper falls trail is not well marked. Hikeable year-round.
6. Mystery Lake, North Vancouver
This is a fantastic little swimming lake on Mount Seymour. The trail is only 2.5 km long and the majority of the way up is on a wide trail with a gradual incline. You can treat yourself to a relaxing day by the lake upon reaching your destination.
As half of this trail turns into a ski run in the winter, this hike is only available in the summer months.
7. Dog Mountain, North Vancouver
This 6km hike may be considered moderate by some because it is quite hilly, though overall elevation gain is minimal. This is a very popular hike that leads you to a view of the city and Howe Sound.
This trail is also a very popular snowshoe (or microspikes are better) trail in the winter when I personally believe it is more beautiful.
8. Quarry Rock, Deep Cove
This 4 km trail may be considered moderate for some as there are several sets of stairs to conquer on this hike, and others will consider it to be quite easy. The lookout gives you beautiful views of the town of Deep Cove, the water, and Vancouver in the background and can be completed year round.
There are several extensions you can add to this hike to make it a longer or more challenging day which you can read about in my full guide here.
9. Sasamat Lake, Belcarra
This 3 km trail takes you around the edge of Sasamat Lake with almost no elevation gain. You will find boardwalks, a floating bridge, several hidden beaches, and beautiful mountain views. This is a great hike to take year-round and in any weather.
10. Jug Island, Belcarra
This hike may also be considered moderate for some. This 5km trail does have some hills but they are achievable by anyone, it’s a popular trail for families with young kids.
This trail leads you to a small beach with views of the North Shore mountains and of course, Jug Island as well. A great hike to do year-round and in any weather.
11. Minnekhada Park, Coquitlam
This park has many different trails that allow you to choose whichever distance suits you best. All of the trails are pretty easy with a few small hills that will take you to lookouts. The longest trail is 7 km long and takes you to the High Knoll Lookout. This is a great park to visit year round.
12. Lower Falls, Maple Ridge
This 5.5 km trail is wide, well maintained, and largely flat, it can even accommodate strollers. The trail takes you along the river and brings you to a gorgeous set of falls that are an incredible clear blue. This is a popular spot for swimming in the summer, though the water is cold. This is a great year-round hike.
Intermediate Hikes in Metro Vancouver
1. Mount Gardner, Bowen Island
This hike is just a short ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay and is a great getaway hike. Though it is possible to drive closer to the trailhead, most people coming from the mainland will take the ferry and start from the terminal making this a 16 km hike with 800 m of elevation gain (find out more about Bowen Island here).
The slope is gradual and you gain the elevation over time keeping this a moderate hike. This hike will deposit you at the top of Mount Garnder where you will have incredible views of the Howe Sound, surrounding islands, and Vancouver.
This hike is especially special because it is one of the few summit hikes you can do year-round as it is low enough to rarely get snow.
2. Whyte Lake, Horseshoe Bay
This hike may be considered easy for some and moderate for others. This 4 km trail has about 200m of elevation gain, and you climb gradually the majority of the way to the lake.
The final destination is a small lake with a dock where you can swim in the summer if you would like to, or just relax and have a picnic. The real stunning part of this hike is the forest you walk through. It is dripping in bright green moss and other flora. It is stunning in any weather and is accessible year-round.
There are several ways to get to this lake but starting just off Highway 1 and going via the Baden Powell Trail is the best course in my opinion.
3. Tunnel Bluffs, Lions Bay
This hike may be considered hard for some, especially back when the trail went straight up the side of the mountain from Highway 1. You can no longer park at Highway 1 and you must park in Lions Bay to access this hike now.
The hike is 11 km long with 500 m of elevation gain, most of which is conquered in the first 2 km. The first 2 km are a slog but then the rest of the trail is largely flat and leads you out onto a large rock outcropping that has beautiful views of the ocean and the mountains.
This hike can be done year-round but be sure to check recent weather and trail reports to see if there is ice or snow on the trail in the winter.
4. Eagleridge Bluffs and Cabin Lake, West Vancouver
There are several ways to reach Eagle Bluffs but the most common way is the 8.5 km trail with 450 m of elevation gain that starts at the Cypress Mountain parking lot.
This trail is very steep for the first 2 km or so then levels out, and dips back down to get you to the lookout, which is a view of the Howe Sound and Vancouver, it is well worth the trek.
About halfway to Eagle Bluffs, you will come across Cabin Lake which is also a great place to stop, go for a swim if you desire, and make that your final destination instead of the bluffs.
This can be done in the winter as a snowshoe trail as well.
5. Hollyburn Peak, West Vancouver
This 9 km trail at Cypress Mountain has 450 m of elevation gain and is probably more popular in the winter as a snowshoe trail. This trail takes you along a gradual slope then steeply upwards shortly before you summit. The summit has beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and Vancouver.
6. Lost Lake and Brothers Creek, West Vancouver
This 8.5 km loop takes you up 400 m in elevation gain through a dense forest, past waterfalls, and around two lakes. The slope is pretty gradual so it won’t leave you too exhausted, but is still with a pretty good workout. This trail becomes snow-free in June, though you can do the lower part of the trail year-round.
7. Grouse Grind/BCMC, North Vancouver
I have always considered the Grouse Grind less of a hike and more of a fitness challenge, but nonetheless, it is one of Vancouver’s most iconic “hikes”.
This trail is 2 km but has 800 m of elevation gain in that short time, and it is largely made up of man-made stairs, making this essentially a giant Stairmaster, even the Canucks come here to work out sometimes.
At the top, you must take the gondola down, or take the paralleling BCMC trail down which is still very steep and difficult but a little less busy.
These trails are both challenging, but they are short, so I am including them in the moderate section because it is just a short period of pain. I would recommend only doing these trails in the summer.
8. Goat Mountain, North Vancouver
This trail has two starting points, the first is at the top of the Grouse Mountain gondola (paid), where this is a 7 km trail with 400 m of elevation gain and considered moderate, even with the very steep section just before the summit.
Or there is the option of starting at the bottom of Grouse Mountain and taking the BCMC trail to get to the Goat Mountain Trail making this a challenging trail at 12 km with 1200 m of elevation gain, which is the free option.
Whichever way you choose, Goat Mountain has stunning views of the surrounding mountains and Vancouver. Be sure to download a map before you go as there are many intersecting trails.
Only accessible in the summer.
9. NorVan Falls, North Vancouver
This 14 km trail has little elevation gain but is considered moderate because of its length. The trail is long and tiring though there aren’t many hills to climb. You will be rewarded with a stunning tall waterfall.
This hike is best done in the summer but can be done year-round, just check for recent weather conditions and trail reports to see if there is snow on the trail in the winter.
10. Kennedy Falls, North Vancouver
This 12 km trail has 500m of elevation gain that comes as a series of hills on this forested hike and brings you to a beautiful fanning waterfall.
This is a great hike year-round but take caution during or after a big rain as there are many stream crossings that may become impassable in bad weather.
Be sure to stay left when you hit the big cedar that is fenced off. Also note that the Mount Fromme Parking lot has a three-hour time limit and this hike takes closer to four hours, take the risk or try to find parking in the nearby neighborhood.
11. Mount Fromme, North Vancouver
The most common way to do this hike starts off of St Georges Ave, which is a residential area so be sure to be respectful. This hike is 10.5 km long with 900 m of elevation gain, most of which is gained at the beginning of the hike and then it flattens out. You will find views of the mountains, and an obstructed view of the city.
This hike is best done in summer though some people will do it in the winter with microspikes.
12. Buntzen Lake, Anmore
This 10.5 km trail takes you around the edge of Buntzen Lake and has a few hills but not many. This trail is moderate due to its length, and because of that you will still find yourself tired at the end of the day.
This hike can be done year-round and in any weather.
13. Diez Vistas, Anmore
This hike is on the challenging side of the moderate category and takes you along the west ridge above Buntzen Lake. This trail is 13 km long with 650 m of elevation gain and gives you many views of the city and the water (shorten it by making it an out and back trail).
This hike is best done starting in April. It can be done earlier, but caution must be taken due to icy conditions.
14. Swan Falls, Anmore
Another trail at Buntzen Lake. This trail is 9.5 km long and takes you along the edge of Buntzen Lake until you veer off and take a steep incline that covers the 300 m of elevation gain on this hike where you will have ropes to guide you to the secluded waterfall.
This hike can be done year-round but take caution in the winter as it can be slippery.
15. Pinecone Burke Provincial Park, Coquitlam
There are many trails in this park, the most popular of which is the trail to Crystal Falls. This trail (as of February 2021) is in the process of changing to accommodate residents of the area, which you can read more about in my waterfalls article here (#9).
There are many trails in this area all at about a moderate level, be sure to download a map before you go and note that there is often snow in the higher trails during the winter.
16. Menzie Trail, Maple Ridge
This trail is considered a point-to-point trail making it 8 km, but if you are only traveling with one car, this trail becomes 16 km. There is minimal elevation gain but the land is constantly throwing small hills at you so it ends up being quite a good workout.
This trail is accessible year-round but there can frequently be ice or residual snow on the trail as it doesn’t get much sunlight, and the streams can rise after a rain so check recent trail and weather reports before you go in the winter.
17. East Canyon and Upper Falls Loop, Maple Ridge
The Upper Falls at Golden Ears are some of my favorite falls in the Vancouver area. The best way to see them is by taking the 10.5 km loop that goes along the East and West Canyon. This trail has 400 m of elevation gain which is gained rather gradually.
The trail to the falls is very easy to miss to keep a keen eye out for trail markers and be sure to download a map on your phone before you go. This trail is best used in the spring and summer and the trail to the falls can be muddy and icy in the winter.
18. Alder Flats, Maple Ridge
This 11.5 km trail takes you up 450 m in elevation gain as you follow the same path that would take you to Golden Ears Peak. This part of the trail is beautiful and a great choice for an easier hike in Golden Ears.
Challenging Hikes in Metro Vancouver
1. Brunswick Mountain, Lions Bay
This 15 km trail takes you up 1600 m in elevation gain making this a very hard and full-day excursion. Reaching the top you will be blown away by the 360 views of the surrounding mountains and Howe Sound. An incredible hike to do in July, August, or September.
2. The Lions, Lions Bay
The Lions are the most iconic mountains in the Vancouver skyline but to get to the top of them you have to climb for 15 km and 1500 m of elevation gain. This is another tough, all-day trail that is well worth it when you see the incredible surrounding views.
There are several ways to get to the peak but the Binkert Trail starting at Lions Bay is the most popular way to go. This trail is accessible starting in July.
3. Mount Harvey, Lions Bay
This hike also starts at Lions Bay and has gorgeous views, just like the Lions and Brunswick, but it is a little bit steeper with an 11 km distance and 1400 m of elevation gain. You will definitely be sweating at the end of this one but it will all be well worth it. You can begin hiking this mountain in July.
4. Mount Strachan, West Vancouver
Strachan is a fantastic hike that is often overshadowed by the ever-popular Eagle Bluffs that also starts at Cypress Mountain.
This hike is 7 km long and has 600 m of elevation gain. The trail is definitely a leg burner but the views at the top are incredible. Be sure to go to the second peak, which requires a small dip into the valley and then another incline, to get the absolute best 360 mountain views.
I would also recommend walking the ski run for the first 1 km or so as the trail that goes next to it is overgrown. This hike is best done from July to October.
5. Saint Marks Summit, Unnecessary Mountain, and Howe Sound Crest Trail, West Vancouver
Saint Marks Summit is another iconic hike in Vancouver. The trail to Saint Mark’s is 10.5 km with 600 m of elevation gain, and though it has some steep parts I would rate it as more moderate. The view is of Howe Sound is very “Instagram famous”.
If you are up for it, you can continue on to Unnecessary Mountain, as soon as you pass Saint Mark’s the trail will become instantly quieter and you can enjoy the serenity and beauty of this trail. The entire Unnecessary Mountain Trail is 16 km long with 1100 m of elevation gain, making it challenging.
Finally, both of these summits are on the Howe Sound Crest Trail which is a 26 km point-to-point trail that has about 1700 m of elevation gain. This trail ends at Porteau Cove and begins at Cypress Mountain. The traverse is stunning and you will have the opportunity to do small detours to The Lions, Brunswick, Hat, and Mount Harvey.
This is normally done as a multiday trip and is a great adventure for experienced hikers. All of these hikes are accessible starting in July.
6. Crown Mountain, North Vancouver
This trail, like Goat Mountain above, has two starting points, either at the top of the Grouse Mountain gondola (paid) which puts this hike at 9 km with 900m of elevation gain, or at the bottom of Grouse Mountain where you would add on the BCMC trail making this a 15 km trail with 1600 m of elevation gain. Either way, this is a difficult trail with incredible views and a crown rock formation at the top.
The hardest part about this trail is that after you summit Grouse Mountain, you have to descend all the way into a valley and then climb up Crown Mountain, two mountains in one hike is a lot for one day.
This hike can only be done in the summer.
7. Lynn Peak and South Needle, North Vancouver
This trail in Lynn Headwaters Regional Park takes you up a tough incline then walks you along a ridge to as many peaks as you desire. The best effort to reward ratio probably sits at the South Needle.
South Needle is a 14 km hike with 1400 m of elevation gain. It is a tough hike but you will be rewarded with incredible views of the mountains and the city. This hike is best done starting in June.
8. Coliseum Mountain, North Vancouver
This hike follows the same flat trail as the NorVan Falls trail I listed above, then turns off and starts climbing steeply. This hike is 24 km long with 1400 m of elevation gain.
This is a tough hike that will take all day so be sure to be prepared with plenty of daylight, food, and water. The reward is stunning mountain views. You can begin hiking this trail in June.
9. Hanes Valley Trail, North Vancouver
This is a point-to-point trail in which you can either organize two cars or you can take the bus to the starting point at the beginning or end of your hike. This trail is 17 km with 1350 m of elevation gain.
I would recommend parking your car at Grouse Mountain, then taking the bus to Lynn Canyon and starting the hike from there. There is varied terrain and amazing views throughout.
When you arrive at Grouse Mountain I would recommend paying to download on the gondola rather than taking the BCMC trail to the base of the mountain. If you do the BCMC down, be prepared to tack on another 2.5 km of walking downhill.
The trail can only be done in the summer and be well prepared with lots of water and food.
10. Mount Seymour Trail, North Vancouver
This trail has both a moderate and a hard option because this trail has three peaks. If you choose to conquer all three peaks it is an 8.5 km trail with 600 m of elevation gain. If you choose to conquer just the first peak it is closer to 7 km with 500 m of elevation gain.
The first peak has beautiful ocean and city views and the other two peaks have mountain views. I’d recommend doing the whole trail but do what is most comfortable for you. The first peak can also be done as a snowshoe trail in the winter, but I would wait to do the rest in July.
11. Dilly Dally Loop, Anmore
This hike starts at Buntzen Lake and takes you on the east ridge above the lake for a total of 24 km with 1600 m of elevation gain. This is a tough hike that will take the whole day but you will be rewarded with stunning water and mountain views.
It’s best to do this hike in the summer, but if you want to do it in the winter go prepared for icy and muddy conditions.
12. Golden Ears, Maple Ridge
This is a 22 km trail with 1700 m of elevation gain. This is a tough hike that will take you all day, or it is common to make this a two-day trip and camp overnight at Alder Flats or up top at Panorama Ridge.
The views at the end of this hike are stunning and expansive. There are mountains and valleys all around you and you will forget about the pain of getting to the top.
Another great thing about this hike is that it is frequently (mostly) snow-free in spring, depending on the year’s weather patterns.
13. Alouette Mountain, Maple Ridge
A Golden Ears alternative at 20 km with 1200 m of elevation gain. This hike is slightly shorter with a bit less elevation gain but it is still tough and will still lead you to incredible views.
There are two different routes but I would recommend starting from Mike Lake, though it is longer, it is easier on the body. This trail is usually accessible in June, but be sure to bring bug spray if you go then.
14. Evans Peak, Maple Ridge
This is a 10.5 km trail with 1000 m of elevation gain. This is a steep trail but still offers varied terrain so you won’t get too bored. Be sure to download a map before you go so you won’t miss the turn-off.
Just like the two other Golden Ears trails above this trail will be incredibly rewarding with beautiful mountain views. Accessible in early spring.
Honorable Mentions (Hikes Outside of Metro Vancouver)
There are a few hikes that I felt I just had to find a place for on this list because they are must-dos in the Vancouver area, but are not in Metro Vancouver.
1. Easy – Lindeman Lake, Chilliwack
Lindeman Lake is a gorgeous blue lake at the end of a 3.5 km trail with about 250 m of elevation gain. The hill to the lake can feel long, but that’s just because of the excitement to arrive. A great spot to go for a swim in the summer, though the trail is usually accessible year-round.
2. Moderate – Mount Cheam, Chilliwack
This is probably on the harder side of moderate due to some steep sections, but there are also lots of flat bits to catch your breath. The trail is 8.5 km long with 700 m of elevation gain.
You will see lakes and wildflowers along the way and you will be rewarded with incredible 360 mountain views at the top, including a magnificent view of Mount Baker. You can start hiking here in July.
Please note that the road to the trailhead is not friendly to small cars.
3. Hard – Panorama Ridge or Black Tusk, Squamish
There are several peaks in this area that are absolutely stunning that all come in a little under 30 km with about 1500 m of elevation gain. These hikes can be achieved on a very long day trip, but are more likely to be done in a two-day trip after camping at Garibaldi Lake.
The lake is pure blue and the mountains all around are incredible. These hikes are best done in June and later.
I hope this list helps you ease into hiking or find just the level of difficulty you are looking for, let me know how you go in the comments. Happy hiking!
Welcome to Alpine Feeling! My name is Talon, and I am a Vancouver local who loves hiking and all things outdoors. I am here to do my best to provide you with outdoor guides to the Vancouver area and beyond.