5 Amazing Day Hikes Near Vancouver, British Columbia
As Vancouver's hottest days are upon us, this is the perfect time to start planning some day hikes in the Pacific NorthWest!
What I find most amazing about our home base in Vancouver is living in an urban environment but still having amazing backcountry wilderness on our doorstep. All of these 5 hikes are within 1-2 hours driving distance from the city of Vancouver and they can be completed in a single day.
1. Dog Mountain
The Dog Mountain bluffs offer the best-hike-to-view ratio in the Lower Mainland. It is a quick 25 minutes drive from downtown and it only takes about 1 or 2 hours to complete.
The trailhead begins just past the Bear’s Paw lodge at the far end of the Mount Seymour parking lot. In the summer, the Dog Mountain bluffs and the other ridgelines higher up in Mount Seymour Provincial Park are an excellent place to watch meteor showers and observe the northern lights. While you can’t camp on the Dog Mountain bluffs, there are many backcountry camping spots in the park where you can camp with a view of the sparkling lights of Vancouver from your campsite.
2. Stawamus Chief
Photo by OutdoorVancouver.ca
The Stawamus Chief, or “The Chief”, is the second largest free standing granite outcropping in the world (after the Rock of Gibraltar). There are three domed summits you can hike to, all accessed by a trail that starts on the side of Stawamus Chief Provincial Park near Shannon Falls. The lowest dome takes about 3 hours and the highest dome takes 5 hours (all times are return trips).
The Chief in Squamish is also a world-famous rock climbing destination. Many professional climbers will spend the summer months living in the Stawamus Chief Provincial Park campground at the base. There are also day climbing tours available in the nearby town of Squamish to climb one of the many challenges routes on the front face.
For more info feel free to check out this link by Outdoor Vancouver
3. St. Mark’s Summit
A spectacular view over the mouth of Howe Sound. You can see Bowen Island on top left, the smaller Anvil Island to the right and the mountains of Vancouver Island fade into the clouds in the distance.
St Mark’s summit is an intermediate hike that starts by the Cypress Mountain day lodge. It winds 11 km along the Howe Sound Crest Trail. It takes about 5 hours to get to the summit and back.
If you’re really ambitious and you want to hike the entire Howe Crest Sound Trail it takes 1-2 days to hike the full 32 km. There are many other mountains along the trail that have much better views like the Binkert Lions, Unnecessary Mountain and Mount Harvey, but St. Mark’s Summit is the easiest hike and the other peaks can be difficult to reach until mid-to-late summer when the snow has melted.
4. Mount Cheam
Mount Cheam is the highest peak in the Fraser Valley but also one of the easiest climbs thanks to a logging road that gets you within a one-hour hike of the summit. The road is snowed-in for most of the year so the best time to go is between July and October.
The backcountry forest road can be accessed from Chilliwack Lake road and you will need a 4×4 vehicle. You can find more information on how to get there on the Mount Cheam hike page provided by Vancouver Trails.
5. Garibaldi Lake
The view of the aqua blue waters of Garibaldi Lake and Mount Garibaldi from the Panorama Ridge.
The 3-hour hike up to Garibaldi Lake is a tedious trek along seemingly endless switchbacks. But once you arrive at Garibaldi Lake you will be blown away by just how insanely beautiful this glacial lake is. While it can be done in a day, it is better to spend a few days at the beautiful campground along the southern shore.
Book ahead at the Garibaldi Lake Provincial Park campground and from there you can hike to Panorama Ridge, the Battleship Islands, Black Tusk (a highly recommended 3 hour hike from the campground where you can see Whistler and the Pacific Ocean from the same peak), Cheakamus Lake and the amazing wildflowers in the Black Tusk meadows (best seen between the middle of July and middle of August).
There you have it, our 5 Amazing Day Hikes in Vancouver, BC this Summer! Looking to Rep Your Pacific NorthWest on the trails? Pick up your PNW Lifestyle Swag here!