Vancouver Hiking – Part One

Steph here! Cel’s been picking up the slack on writing blog posts, so I’m getting back into it with some local hiking info.

One of the big things people in Vancouver tend to HUGELY overspend on is entertainment. Fortunately, if you’re into outdoor activities Vancouver is a haven for cheap/free entertainment! We took up hiking at the end of last summer and have discovered a bunch of great trails that are easily accessible without a car (public transit and one with a short ferry ride), and reasonably well marked and maintained.

Killarney Lake

The first is Killarney Lake, on Bowen Island. You catch a ferry there from the Horseshoe Bay terminal for about $11 round trip, and it’s very easy to get to the ferry by transit. Once you get off the ferry, you’re a short distance from Crippen Park. Here’s a map of the park:

http://www.metrovancouver.org/about/maps/Maps/Crippenmap.pdf

The park is very scenic and the terrain is very easy. We spent about two hours round trip working our way in to the lake and going around it, but you could go much faster.

KillarneyLake

One thing to keep in mind for the return trip to Vancouver is that the ferries stop running for a few hours in the middle of the day, so try to plan around that unless you want to be hanging around for three hours.

Lighthouse Park

Another great place to explore is Lighthouse Park in West Van. It’s easily accesible from downtown Vancouver via the 250 bus. From the bus stop, you literally walk across the street and you’re there. Here’s a map of the park:

http://westvancouver.ca/sites/default/files/dwv/assets/parks-rec/docs/Trail-Maps/LHP_Hiking_Trail_Map.pdf

The park has a ton of trails, and you could very easily go there several times and take a completely different route each time. We spent a couple of hours doing a circuit that went around the entire park, including time spent laying in the sun on some nice rocks. The edges of the park are very lovely, and look very much like this:

LighthousePark

The difficulty will vary depending which route you take, but most likely would be pretty easy as there were very few steep areas.

Norvan Falls

The next two trails are both in Lynn Headwaters park, which has a direct bus from downtown Vancouver, the #210. From the end of the bus line, just head north along Lynn Valley Road until you hit the park. There are many maps in the park, but here’s one as well:

http://www.metrovancouver.org/about/maps/Maps/LynnHeadmap.pdf

The terrain is definitely more challenging on this one, and the trail is much less maintained once you get past the early stages that get a lot of trail running. Just keep an eye out for the yellow reflective trail markers nailed to trees here and there, watch your steps, and you should be fine. The region has all kinds of swamps and ravines, but the park board has but nice bridges or bridge-like-objects over most of them. Here’s what a bridge-like-object looks like:

NorvanFalls

We spent several hours here, during which we were stupid and got lost due to not following the markers, and I fell in a swamp. In any case, the falls are lovely at the end and it’s a decent, mostly level hike.

Lynn Peak

Finally, we did a very challenging hike also in the Headwaters park called Lynn Peak. The terrain was very steep and rough, but the trail was well marked. It’s about comparable to the Grouse Grind in elevation gain, but quite a bit longer. Fortunately, the steep, brutal parts are generally followed by somewhat flatter switchback sections. The day we did the trail was overcast so the final viewpoint wasn’t really much to write home about, but I imagine on a clear sunny day it would be beautiful.

LynnPeak

Those are our more notable hikes from the second half of 2013. We should be able to get out and start exploring some new ones by sometime in February, so these will hopefully be somewhat regular posts. Happy hiking!

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2 Comments

  1. Staying with the North Shore, here’s one I try to do at least once a week. From downtown you only need to allow around 3 hours round trip: the Capilano Pacific Trail. This more or less follows the Capilano River as it descends from the Cleveland Dam and flows into the Pacific. Very handy transit-wise. Up-route (harder): any West Vancouver bus from Downtown to Park Royal, with return from Cleveland Dam on bus #236 to Lonsdale Quay then Seabus. Down-route (easier): Seabus to Lonsdale Quay connecting with bus #236 up to Cleveland Dam, returning Downtown from Park Royal.

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