Ignore TLC and keep chasing waterfalls! Waterfalls are such a great outdoor activity because usually they are accessible year-round and are beautiful in any weather (more year-round hikes here).
Many of the hikes on this list aren’t even hikes, just short walks to see a beautiful sight. These are the best waterfalls near Vancouver in my opinion, ranging as far north as Whistler, and as far east as Hope.
I love checking out a waterfall in the rain because they are usually gushing and much less crowded than on a sunny day (more rainy day hikes here). I will give you all of the details on the best time to go and all of the other information you will need to go waterfall chasing in the list below.
Waterfalls near Vancouver
Waterfalls North of Vancouver
1. Norvan Falls, North Vancouver
NorVan Falls is surely one of Vancouver’s most iconic falls. These falls are tall and skinny and absolutely beautiful. If you have microspikes going there in the winter is equally, if not more, beautiful as the falls can be partially frozen.
This trail is 14km long with minimal elevation gain and is located in Lynn Headwaters Regional Park, which is home to many other beautiful hikes as well. The trail is mostly flat but it is still tiring and takes a good amount of time.
The parking lot is large but will still fill up fast on the weekend. If it has rained recently the trail will be muddy. Though this trail is basically at sea level the forest is dense so when it snows, the snow sticks for a long time, meaning in the winter you will likely need proper snow gear to do this trail. If there hasn’t been any snow, then this is a great hike to do year-round and even in the rain!
2. Kennedy Falls, North Vancouver
Big Cedar and Kennedy Falls trail is a 12km trail with about 500m of elevation gain. The trail is quite hilly and you will find stream crossings and steep bits with rope to help you along. Be sure to stay left when you hit the big cedar (the one surrounded by a small fence) and continue on to Kennedy Falls which fans out beautifully over the rocks.
The trail is fun but also exhausting as there are so many technical bits. It is achievable in the rain but expect a lot of mud and be prepared for some strong current stream crossings as they rise in the rain.
Please note that the parking is at Mount Fromme which has a three-hour limit and this hike takes closer to four hours to complete. You can try to find a parking spot in the nearby neighborhood if you are more comfortable with that.
3. Lynn Canyon, North Vancouver
Lynn Canyon is known for its suspension bridge, but this short 3km loop takes you past some gorgeous turquoise water and cascading falls. Be sure to check out the 30-foot pool as well!
This is a very popular place and it’s well worth it to make the trip here. There are several additions you can make to this trail if you want to make it a longer day, such as Rice Lake. This is a great place to go year-round and I especially love it when it raining because the crowds are much smaller.
4. Brothers Creek, West Vancouver
Brothers Creek can be a variety of different lengths. You can go up and around Lost Lake in the summer, or take the smaller loop that goes along the Baden-Powell Trail. Be sure to go along the Baden-Powell section to see one of the waterfalls, the other falls are on the west side of the river, near the top of the loop, be sure to keep an eye out for this one.
The lower part of this trail is mostly snow-free year-round, and the area around Lost Lake is snowed in until June. The shorter loop is about 6km, the Lost Lakes Loop is closer to 8.5km. Both have about 400m of elevation gain. If you want to just see the falls, stay left on Baden-Powell and you will find the falls about 1km in.
5. Cypress Falls, West Vancouver
This is a nice short and easy hike at 2.5km with minimal elevation gain. You can access these falls year-round but look out for mud in the rainy season.
If you want to get the most out of these falls be sure to make your way to the upper falls. The upper falls are much more stunning than the lower falls, and it only takes a short while longer to get to them. Be sure to download a map before you go because it can be a little confusing to reach this destination.
6. Shannon Falls, Squamish
Everyone who has driven the Sea to Sky Hwy has probably seen Shannon Falls from their car window. These falls are just off the highway and don’t even require any hiking. Though the fall are beautiful from the car window, they are even more stunning up close. Definitely stop and check them out the next time you are heading north.
These falls are thunderous as you stand below them and you will feel tiny. If you are up for it, I would recommend taking the short 500m trail up to the viewpoint near the top of the falls as well for a different perspective.
7. Crooked Falls, Squamish
These massive falls are at the end of a steep 5.5km trail with 500m of elevation gain. The falls are very impressive and you can get right up close and personal with them.
There is only a small parking lot so be considerate of other hikers arriving after you, and be sure to stay on the Sigurd trail at the fork.
8. Brandywine Falls, Whistler
Brandywine Falls are probably my favorite falls in the Vancouver area, though they are a bit far away. These falls, like Shannon Falls, are only a short walk from the parking lot just off the Sea to Sky Hwy on your way to Whistler and is a very worthwhile detour.
The easy viewpoint is only accessible in the summer and it’s only about a 10-minute walk that is flat. The tall falls plunge down into the pool below for a beautiful sight. There is a badly maintained trail that you can use to get to the bottom of the falls if you are feeling more adventurous.
If your final destination is Whistler, you will find many more amazing waterfall hikes there.
Waterfalls East of Vancouver
9. Swan Falls, Port Moody
This 10km trail starts out easy and flat as it takes you along the shore of Buntzen Lake. At the end of this hike, it gets challenging as the trail gets steep, rocky, and slippery where you will have ropes to aid you. The reward is the stunning Swan Falls.
The falls are usually significantly quieter than the rest of the Buntzen Lake trail due to its technicality. Though you can go here year-round, be cautious in the winter and after the rain because it can become slippery when wet.
10. Crystal Falls, Coquitlam
Crystal Falls used to be easily accessed through a neighborhood, but the residents have now made the trail that went behind their properties private property and have made parking very difficult so there are new trails developing to get to Crystal Falls (which is in a provincial park).
The way to get there now (as of the writing date in Feburary 2021) is by parking at the Pinecone Burke parking lot off of Harper Road and taking a trail called “Bullet Dodger”, which earned its name because it goes near a gun range. You will not actually be dodging bullets, but you will likely hear the noise in some parts of the trail which can be unnerving. This trail is not yet well maintained and is very steep (though I suspect it will be remade in the future to be more accommodating).
Eventually, you will hit Crystal Falls Trail and turn right, this whole trail is about 6km long and will be quite strenuous. Be sure to download a map before you go.
Another option is to take Woodland Walk to Crystal Falls Trail and turn left to head downwards towards the falls. This option is also badly marked and I would highly recommend downloading a map before you go. This option is a little longer but a little less steep. Prepare for some snow in the winter months.
Hopefully, this trail will be sorted out sooner than later so it is easy to reach these gorgeous falls!
11. Upper/Lower Falls, Maple Ridge
There is a set of falls in Golden Ear Provincial Park that are both stunning in their own right. They are on the same river but the trail connecting them is oddly under-maintained and hard to find.
The trail to Lower Falls is 5.5km, a nice wide, well-maintained trail that can even be stroller friendly. The falls at the end of this hike have beautiful blue water that is cold but is still popular for swimming.
The Upper Falls are more stunning in my opinion but harder to get to and not great for swimming. These falls are accessed from the East Canyon Trail. Just under 2km up the trail, you will find a 3-foot rock and some light trail markers to show you the turn-off to Upper Falls. It is very hard to spot so I would recommend downloading a map and keep an eye on it. It’s another 500m or so downhill to get the falls on a trail that is not well maintained.
The falls are so worth the rough trail, I would recommend getting there in the morning for the best daylight and relaxing on the rocks for awhile. You can continue around the entire East Canyon loop for a total of 10km, or you can try to make the connection to Lower Falls.
Again, the connector trail between Lower and Upper Falls is tough to find, and it is not well maintained. Be sure to look at your map and keep a very keen eye out for trail markers. On the East Canyon Trail, the connector trail is before the turnoff to Upper Falls.
These are excellent to do as two separate trails as well. Both trails can usually be done year-round, but I would recommend doing them on a sunny day and checking for recent snowfall before heading out in the winter.
12. Steelhead Falls, Mission
This easy 2km trail leads you over boardwalks and up and down stairs to get to these fanned falls. The trail is nice and simple and great for kids or anyone who wants to stretch their legs for a beautiful reward. You can also head over to the Stave Falls Dam if you want to see water at work.
13. Cascade Falls, Mission
These falls are a bit out of the way at a 1.5-hour drive from Vancouver, but they are absolutely beautiful if you are in the area or need to get out of the city for a while.
This is an easy 500m walk to see some stunning cascading falls, just as the name implies. They fall into a blue pool and you can get nice and close by walking along the suspension bridge that goes over the water.
You can do this walk year-round, but it may get icy in the winter so be prepared with proper footwear if you plan to go on a cold day.
14. Bridal Veil Falls, Chilliwack
These falls are easily accessible off of Highway 1 though they are a 1.5-hour drive from Vancouver. Bridal Veil Falls are at the end of an easy 1km round trip hike with a small amount of elevation gain.
This spot is very popular and will get busy on a summer day on the weekend. The falls are tall and wide and fan out over the rocks, it will well worth it to fight the crowds if you cannot go on a weekday.
The park is closed in the winter, but people will still park along the side of the road on the way into the park and walk in, adding a bit of distance to your hike.
15. Flood Falls, Hope
These falls are only a little further past Bridal Veil Falls on Highway 1 and are great to do on the same day. These falls are a must-see in the spring, otherwise, they are nothing but a trickle. This waterfall is skinny but very tall and your neck will hurt from trying to see the top.
There is a small parking area just off the road which can be busy on a sunny weekend. The trail is only about 1 km round trip will little elevation gain.
Check out my guide for a road trip to Hope from Vancouver if you want the best time visiting Bridal Veil Falls and Flood Falls and other amazing places here.
I hope you have fun getting out and chasing waterfalls! Let me know what you think of them in the comments and if there are some I need to go chase that aren’t on this list. Happy chasing!
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.