BC Canada, has a lot of amazing hiking trails. I am a big believer and fan of local tourism. I believe that your home town has plenty to offer in terms of adventure. You just have to take your time to look and you will find that your home town is actually full of hidden gems. You don’t have to go to a far away place to experience exploring a new land, sometimes, your very hometown has plenty of wonderful places to visit that you are unaware of!
Back in 2011 and 2012, I went on a massive hiking spree. I decided to hike as much moderate level to difficult level hikes, based on vancouvertrails.com. I made sure I only hiked trails that looked fun and has an awesome scenery. In my upcoming blog posts, I will be showing pictures and talking about each hikes that are worth mentioning. I will talk about my experiences and hopefully create a mini guide to help others who are interested in challenging the various different trails.
I’ve done about 20 different hikes in the Vancouver Lower Mainland. Here is a list of them along with a perceived level of difficulty. Here are the hikes along with a brief description:
Easy Hikes (In order of difficulty from hardest to easiest):
Quarry Rock – Easy hike to do. Great for beginners with a nice view at the end for your effort. I enjoyed this hike. This hike takes about two hours to complete.
Dog Mountain – Another easy hike. The hike itself is boring but the view at the end is pretty nice. It’s a good hike to do if you are an absolute beginner just getting into the hiking scene. This hike takes about one and a half hours to complete.
Mt. Thom – Easy hike but terribly boring. The view at the end is anti climatic, you don’t really see much…I wouldn’t recommend this hike. This hike takes about two hours to complete.
Coquitlam Crunch – This is a fun hike to do if your goal is to get a work out in. The air in this hike is very fresh and if you go on a sunny day, you’re sure to get a nice workout. I recommend it for the purpose of exercise. This hike takes about one and a half hours to complete.
Moderate Hikes (In order of difficulty from hardest to easiest):
Garibaldi Lake – I have hiked Garibaldi Lake twice now and it’s definitely a challenging one! It’s brutal on the knees on the way back down but the view at the lake is SPECTACULAR! Totally worth it, even if you just hike it once. This hike takes about five and a half hours to complete.
High Falls Creek – This hike was pretty fun. The trail head was hard to find. It’s this tiny white sign that says High Falls Creek but you can barely see it. The hike was lots of wires you can grab hold off to climb and the hike is quite steep. The only downside to the hike is the way down is very hard on the knees. There’s actually a very cool waterfalls in the hike where a cool breeze shoots up and makes you feel very refreshed. I recommend this hike to anyone that’s interested in trying something different from the mainstream hikes. This hike takes about five hours to complete.
Goat Mountain – The trail head for this hike starts at the top of Grouse Mountain. This hike is terrible, it’s full of mosquitoes and muddy patches. The trail is poorly marked and not fun to navigate. Did I mention the mosquitoes? Don’t do this hike, it’s that bad. This hike takes about six hours to complete if you also hike the Grouse Grind.St. Mark’s Summit –
St. Mark’s Summit – This hike looks better on the picture than the actual hike itself. There’s nothing special about this hike but I suppose it’s still neat to try. This hike takes five hours to complete.
Grouse Grind – Everyone’s done the Grouse Grind, no need to give this a thorough review. It’s the most common hike in Vancouver. When you ask people if they want to go hiking, this is the first hike they mention; which makes no sense cause this hike doesn’t have a nice view, it’s more of an exercise. This hike takes about an hour and a half to complete.
Lynn Peak – Another terrible hike. It’s full of rocks and mosquitoes. The view at the top is nice but it’s mosquito land. If you’re new to hiking, I suppose it’s not bad to give it a shot but I personally did not enjoy this hike. This hike takes about five hours to complete.
Elk Mountain – This is a great hike! It’s quite challenging and it’s super steep! It starts out very easy but don’t be fooled because a series of steep incline is coming up. The view at the top is very nice and you can literally just run down to get back to the parking lot. I recommend this hike for a nice view and if you plan on training for a special event such as Tough Mudder. This hike takes about four hours to complete.
Mt. Cheam – One of my favorite hike of all time. This hike is total bullshit. Right at the start of the hike, the view is already stunning. It’s also one of the rare hikes in Vancouver where it’s out in the open as oppose to being stuck inside a forest (blah!). The drive to the trail head is quite long and dangerous though. You need to have a four wheel drive vehicle that is pretty high up the ground. A car will definitely not make it to the top, you need a pick up truck or an SUV or an all terrain vehicle. The hike itself isn’t too difficult and has a very rewarding view. Hopefully you survive the drive up the trail. This hike takes about four hours to complete.
Stawamus Chief – This is one of the generic hikes here in Vancouver. The most common one is the Grouse Grind and this one comes in second. With that being said, it is still an awesome hike and definitely worth the hype. It’s not too difficult and the chains and ladders makes it really fun. Highly recommended! This hike takes about four hours to complete (all three peaks).
Eagle Bluffs – This hike is good for beginners or for families. I saw quite a few families with their kids doing this hike. The view at the top is nice. It’s a decent hike, it’s a good hike to do to warm you up before the harder hikes. This hike takes about three hours to complete.
Cabin Lake – This hike is actually part of Eagle Bluffs. If you hike this trail in May, you can just hike straight up Cypress Mountain in the snow. Then you can slide down the mountain in the snow which is very fun. This hike takes about three hours to complete.
Hard Hikes (In order of difficulty from hardest to easiest):
Lions Binkert Trail – This is the HARDEST and most DANGEROUS hike I have ever done. I truly hate this hike but I not regret doing it. The hike is very long winding and the trail is poorly maintained the higher you get. The trail is slippery with loose soil at the higher parts, you have to scramble on rocky areas. The top part of the Lions is an optional hike with dangerous ropes. I will talk about that more in detail in another post. Unless you are a daredevil or like taking risk, I would not recommend this hike. This hike takes 10 hours to complete if you hike the optional West Lions.
Black Tusk – This hike is epic! One of the best and hardest hikes in Vancouver. This is probably the MOST BREATHTAKING hike. Hiking the actual Black Tusk is dangerous because it is a vertical rock climb with loose rocks. It’s optional and the park rangers usually do not recommend people to hike it. I think it’s worth it but it’s definitely not safe and I was shaking in fear during the process. I will go more into detail in future posts. Completion time for this hike is 12 hours. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Panorama Ridge – This hike is my first true challenge. I had my eye on Panorama Ridge for a long time and it was one of those hikes that felt like a dream should I ever completed it. The hike is just as epic as Black Tusk. I will definitely make a detailed post about this hike in the future. Completion time for this hike is 12 hours. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Mount Frosty – Another bullshit hike. You need to be thoroughly prepared for this hike because there is tons of nasty surprises if you aren’t. The hike begins in Manning Park and it starts out like most hikes which is inside the forest. It’s long, windy and boring. The way down is brutal on the knees. At the very top, you better be wearing hiking shoes cause it’s all snow and your feet will get wet. The sun is blazing strongly and you will get burnt like my girlfriend and I when we challenged this hike. Make sure you bring sun screen and sunglasses if you decide to do this hike. I do not recommend this hike because it is not as epic as Black Tusk or Panorama Ridge and it takes just as long. This hike takes 12 hours to complete. NOT RECOMMENDED!
Wedgemount Lake – This is a really nice hike. It’s similar to doing three Grouse Grinds in a row except there is a very nice view at the end. The lake is very relaxing and tranquil. Nothing really special worth mentioning other than it’s a solid hike that I highly recommend. It takes about seven hours to complete.
My top three favorite hike:
The top three MOST DANGEROUS hike in this list:
The Lions Binkert Trail – Climbing West Lions
Black Tusk – Climbing the Chimney
Mount Cheam – The driving to the trail head part
If you have any questions about hikes here, feel free to ask, I can give you tons of tips on how to prepare for them.