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12 Best Day Hikes in Vancouver – From a Local

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If you love hiking then Vancouver is calling your name!

There are SO many amazing hikes near Vancouver! The hiking trails are one of the main reasons we decided to move to Vancouver and even though we tackle as many as we can each year, our hiking bucket list seems to keep growing. There are hikes ranging from Easy – Medium – Hard – Difficult.

In this guide, I list the very best day hikes in and around Vancouver overall, no matter the difficulty. Also included in this guide are the details of each hiking trail, including:

  • Distance
  • Time taken
  • Technicality
  • Tips and what to expect on each hike
  • Whether the hike requires a permit or not

There are a lot of more difficult hikes located in Vancouver, however if you prefer the easier hikes but still want a hike with an awesome view at the end, check out our 10 Beautiful Easy Hikes Near Vancouver Guide. It doesn’t have to be a hard hike to have an absolutely gorgeous view at the end!

couple sitting at viewpoint at Saint Marks Summit at sunset

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Everything you need to know about hiking in Vancouver

🙋‍♀️ Tips for hiking in Vancouver in Summer

Summer is the busiest season for hiking in British Columbia and for good reason. The weather is beautiful and the trails are no longer slippery with snow or ice. For getting the best hiking experience for any hike that you do near Vancouver in Summer we recommend the following:

  • Plan ahead and arrive at the trailhead early. In Summer, everyone is out hiking in BC and carparks fill up quickly. Get there super early in the morning to make sure you get a spot.
  • Research whether the trail well in advance. Some trails require day passes which book out as soon as the booking system opens. More information on this under each hiking trail.
  • Be prepared for bugs. They are ruthless!
Couple standing on mount at sunset in British Columbia

👕 What to wear hiking in Vancouver

When hiking, especially in the mountains, we like to make sure we have plenty of layers. The reason for this is that the higher in elevation you get, the colder and windier it can be.

The below list is our usual list of what we pack, however we always check the weather in the mountains before we go and depending on the temperature, we will leave our beanies and puffer jackets or fleeces behind.

The sun is hot but the higher you climb, the colder it can get.

Couple standing at Quercus Viewpoint overlooking Howe Sound at sunset

Hiking Boots – Kerry’s loves the Oboz Bridger Mid B-Dry Boots and Dave’s favourite boots are his Scarpa Kailash Plus Gore-Tex Backpacking Boots.
Hiking Socks – Good hiking socks are important to make your boots as comfortable as possible! Our favourite hiking socks are Smartwool Hike Classic Edition Light Cushion Crew Socks and the Darn Tough Hiker Midweight with Cushion Micro Crew socks.
Merino Top / Tee – Merino is a great material to hike in so we use Merino tops to hike. Our favourite Merino tops are the Tech Lite II Crewe T-Shirts from Icebreaker!
Kerry’s Leggings – Kerry wears leggings on every hike and her favourites are the Lululemon Align pant.
Men’s Hiking Pants – A great option for men’s hiking pants are the Patagonia Quandary Pants.
Fleece – Our favourite fleeces are the Patagonia Better Sweater 1/4 Zip (Kerry’s) and a Mac Pac Fleece from Australia (Dave’s).
Puffer Jacket – Dave’s favourite puffer jacket is the Arcteryx Cerium LT Hoody and Kerry’s favourites is the Rab Microlight Alpine Down Jacket.
Rain Jacket – We bring our raincoats along on all of our hikes, because you know.. just in case!
Beanie – Some of our favourites are from Dakine and Eddie Bauer.
Hat – A hat is so so important when hiking during Summer in BC as the sun is extremely strong. Tilley makes some really great hats for hiking.
Day Backpack – Our favourite backpack for day hikes is the Osprey Tempest 20 Backpack.
Overnight Backpacks – Both of our camping backpacks are from Osprey. Dave has the Osprey Exos 58 Pack and I have the Osprey Aura AG 65 Pack.

The Most Beautiful Must-do Hikes in Vancouver!

Below is our list of some of the best hikes in and around Vancouver. The list is in no particular order and the hikes vary greatly in difficulty levels which we have listed in the stats. These difficulty levels are based on our personal opinions.

Click here to open the map in Google Maps!

1. Wedgemount Lake – Garibaldi Provincial Park

Distance: 12.2km / 7.5miles return
Time: 6-8 hours
Elevation: 1,200m / 3,937ft
Difficulty: Difficult
From Vancouver: 2 hours
Dog Friendly: No
Toilets: Yes, in the carpark and at the lake BYO toilet paper
Day Hike Permits Required: No

Couple standing at sunset at Wedgemount Lake

Wedgemount Lake is a gorgeous turquoise alpine lake high in the mountains located within Garibaldi Provincial Park near Whistler. You can do Wedgemount Lake as a day hike or a backpacking trip.

If you decide to camp, you will need to reserve the campsite prior to staying. We loved spending the night at Wedgemount Lake and even went for a dip in the water to cool off.

This hike is quite difficult due to the steepness which lasts most of the hike. There is also a section at the end with a bit of a scramble up a boulder field but in my opinion it is worth the effort!

2. Saint Marks Summit – Cypress Provincial Park

Distance: 10.5km / 6.5 miles
Time: 4-5hrs
Elevation: 587metres / 1,925ft
Difficulty: Medium
From Vancouver: 30mins
Dog Friendly: Yes
Toilets: Yes, at the trailhead
Day Hike Permits Required: No

couple sitting at Saint Marks Summit at sunset

St Marks Summit is a hike that is part of the Howe Sound Crest Trail located in Cypress Provincial Park in Vancouver which takes you to views overlooking the Sea to Sky.

The Saint Marks Summit hike is 10.5km / 6.5 miles with 587m / 1,925ft elevation and takes around 4-5hrs return including time to stop and enjoy the viewpoint. We think the views from the top are some of the best views in Vancouver!

Overall, the hike is of moderate difficulty and we were able to reach the top in just under 2 hours but we were going pretty fast. The hike is made up of a series of switchbacks.

3. Joffre Lakes – Joffre Lakes Provincial Park

Distance: 10km / 6.2miles 
Time: 4-5hrs 
Elevation: 370metres 1,213ft.
Difficulty: Medium 
From Vancouver: 2 hours 45 mins 
Dog Friendly: No 
Toilets: Yes, at the trailhead and at the middle lake – BYO toilet paper
Day Hike Permits Required: Yes – free day pass through BC Parks

girl standing on log at Joffre Lakes - middle lake

Joffre Lakes is an absolute dream! It is a hike that takes you to not only one beautiful blue alpine lake but three! Joffre Lakes is located in Joffre Lakes Provincial Park (yes – they have their own Provincial Park) which is about a 2 hours 45 mins drive from Downtown Vancouver.

The best way to get to Joffre Lakes from Vancouver is by car along the Sea to Sky Highway. The lakes are located in Pemberton, about an hour past Whistler.

The hike is of medium difficulty due to the incline, however the trail is pretty well maintained. Joffre Lakes can be completed as a day hike or a backpacking trip where you can camp at the designated campground which you will need to reserve prior.

4. Panorama Ridge – Garibaldi Provincial Park

Distance: 30km / 18.64 miles
Time: 11hrs
Elevation: 1,520metres / 4,986 ft
Difficulty: Difficult
From Vancouver:  1.5hrs
Dog Friendly: No
Toilets: Yes, at the trailhead and at several points along the hike
Day Hike Permits Required: Yes – free day pass to be booked 2 days prior on BC Parks.

Girl sitting up at Panorama Ridge at sunset

The hike to Panorama Ridge is probably the most famous hike in Whistler and in Garibaldi Provincial Park. The view of the bright blue Garibaldi Lake from up on the ridge is mind blowing and worth every single kilometre.

It is a massive hike and we have only ever done it as a camping trip to break up the hike, however, we have heard many people say that they actually find it easier as a day hike because they don’t have to carry the heavy overnight backpack.

You can hike to Panorama Ridge in a day, or you can camp overnight at one of the campgrounds, Taylor Meadows, Helm Creek or Garibaldi Lake.

5. Dog Mountain – Mount Seymour Provincial Park

Distance: 5km / 3.1 miles
Time: 2.5hrs 
Elevation: 150metres / 492ft
Difficulty: Easy – Medium
From Vancouver: 30-40mins 
Dog Friendly: Yes 
Toilets: Near the end of the parking lot by the North Shore Search and Rescue office.
Day Hike Permits Required: None required in the Summer. In the Winter a free day pass is required which can be booked 2 days prior on BC Parks.

couple standing on Dog Mountain at sunset

This absolute stunner and family friendly Dog Mountain Hike in Mount Seymour Provincial Park is one of the most popular hiking trails in North Vancouver. Dog Mountain is a pretty easy hike, with only 5km / 3.1 miles and 150m / 492ft elevation.

The hike will take you around 2.5 hours in total with a stop to enjoy the view. This is also a very popular Winter hike as the trail is well maintained in the snow.

We have hiked Dog Mountain multiple times in both Summer and in Winter. It is a great last minute hike to do when you don’t know what trail to hike.

6. Pump Peak – Mount Seymour Provincial Park

Distance: 7.1km / 4.4 miles
Time: 3-4 hrs 
Elevation: 474m / 1,555ft
Difficulty: Moderate
From Vancouver: 30-40mins 
Dog Friendly: Yes 
Toilets: Near the end of the parking lot by the North Shore Search and Rescue office.
Day Hike Permits Required: None required in the Summer. In the Winter a free day pass is required which can be booked 2 days prior on BC Parks.

Tent camping on Pump Peak, BC

Pump Peak is a great day hike to do in any season, however, during the Winter, you will be crossing over in Avalanche territory so make sure you are well prepared.

You can also camp up near the summit of Pump Peak but there are no designated camping spots or facilities so you have to find a spot of the rock slabs for your tent and pack out EVERYTHING you take in.

The 360 views from Pump Peak are incredible on a clear day. You will still be able to see Vancouver but will feel like you are in the middle of the backcountry surrounded by mountains.

7. The Stawamus Chief – Squamish

Distance: Peak 1: 4km, Peak 2: 5km, Peak 3: 7km return
Time: 4-6 hours
Elevation: Peak 1: 535m, Peak 2: 580m, Peak 3: 627m
Difficulty: Hard
From Vancouver: 1 hour
Dog Friendly: Yes, but the trail includes ladders and chains so you will have to carry your dog up certain sections.
Toilets: Yes, at the trailhead
Day Hike Permits Required: None

Man sitting on the First Peak of the Chief

The Stawamus Chief Hike or “The Chief” as it is more commonly called, is a popular hike in Squamish in the Stawamus Chief Provincial Park with epic views overlooking the town, the Sea to Sky Highway and Howe Sound. It is more technical than the also very popular Grouse Grind, therefore making it harder.

If you have ever visited Squamish, you will have seen the large granite rockface next to the Sea to Sky Gondola that might make you think of Yosemite National Park in the USA. This is the Stawamus Chief and the 3 awesome peaks that you will be hiking to.

The views from The Chief are of the milky blue Howe Sound and town of Squamish below.

8. Murrin Loop Trail to Quercus Viewpoint – Sea to Sky Highway

Distance: 1.8km / 1.11 miles
Time: 1.5hrs 
Elevation: 160metres / 524ft
Difficulty: Easy
From Vancouver: 45mins 
Dog Friendly: Yes on leash, however prohibited from the main beach and picnic area 
Toilets: Yes at the carpark

Day Hike Permits Required: None

Couple sitting at viewpoint overlooking Howe Sound along Murrin Loop Trail

Murrin Loop Trail to Quercus Viewpoint is an extremely easy and short hike along the Sea to Sky Highway with some of the best views over Howe Sound.

It is only 1.8km / 1.11 miles and 160metres / 524ft elevation but still has the most incredible views! We did the Murrin Loop Trail at sunset and it was so worth the hike back in the dark.

I recommend doing the Murrin Loop Trail if you have any spare time on the way to or back from Whistler or Squamish.

9. Mount Cheam – Chilliwack

Distance: 8.4km / 5.2miles return 
Time: 4-4.5 hours
Elevation: 668m / 2,191 ft
Difficulty: MediumHard
From Vancouver: 2 hr 40 mins
Dog Friendly: Yes
Toilets: Yes, at the trailhead
Day Hike Permits Required: None

Couple standing on top of Cheam Peak in Chilliwack

Cheam Peak is an epic peak on top of Cheam Mountain which you can hike to from the end of a pretty crazy 4×4 road in Chilliwack. When the clouds are clear, or low, the views from the top are insane and you might even be lucky enough to get a cloud inversion!

The hike is 8.4km / 5.2 miles return with an elevation gain of 668 metres / 2,191 ft. The trailhead is just over 2.5 hours drive from Vancouver, making it the perfect weekend hiking adventure!

In my opinion, Cheam Peak is the best hike in Chilliwack. For amount of hiking effort versus views, this hike is an 11/10. The downside to the hike is making it up the bumpy forest road.

10. Lindeman Lake – Chilliwack

Distance: 3.6km / 2.2 miles
Time: 1.5 hours
Elevation: 300 metres / 984 ft
Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
From Vancouver: 2 hours

Dog Friendly: Yes
Toilets: Yes, at the trailhead and at the lake
Day Hike Permits Required: None

couple sitting on rock at Lindeman Lake in British Columbia

Lindeman Lake is a great hike for beginner hikers and is extremely popular, especially during the Summer months. The lake is a bright turquoise colour from the glacial water that flows into it and you can see right to the bottom.

To get a spot in the parking lot, you will need to get there early, as it fills up quickly. Although it is a bit of a drive from Vancouver, Lindeman Lake is a great hike to do as the lake is beautiful!

11. Tunnel Bluffs – Lions Bay

Distance: 11.5km / 7.1 miles
Time: 4hrs 
Elevation: 470 metres / 1,541ft
Difficulty: Easy – Medium
From Vancouver: 30mins 
Dog Friendly: Yes 
Toilets: Yes, at the trailhead
Day Hike Permits Required: None

Girl looking at view towards the sea to sky highway on the Tunnel Bluffs Hike

The Tunnel Bluffs Hike is a popular trail that leads you to an absolutely epic viewpoint that looks out towards Bowen Island and the Sea to Sky Highway! For hikes

The hike is moderately long but not too tough as the majority of it is along a wide trail and relatively flat with most of the elevation in the first 2km. Tunnel Bluffs is 11.5km / 7.1 miles with an elevation of 470 metres / 1,541ft.

We did this hike 2 weeks in a row when we first moved to Vancouver because we loved it so much!

12. Golden Ears Summit – Golden Ears Provincial Park

Distance: 26.6km / 16.5 miles return to the summit. (24km / 14.9 miles return to the campground)
Time: Approximately 10 hours return on average but ranges greatly from person to person
Elevation: 1,700 metres /5,577 ft to the summit (1,300 metres / 4,265 ft to the campground)
Difficulty: Extremely Difficult
From Vancouver: 1 hour
Dog Friendly: dogs are allowed however please research the trail and be aware of your dogs ability.
Toilets: Yes, at the trailhead, halfway at the Alder Flats Campground and at the Panorama Ridge Campground
Day Hike Permits Required: During the Summer, you will need a day pass to visit Golden Ears Provincial Park.

Couple standing at viewpoint at Panorama Ridge campground, Golden Ears

The first thing we have to say about the Golden Ears Summit hike is that it is super hard which is why it is last on this list. We would not recommend this hike for a beginner hiker. It is not just a hike but about half of the hike involves scrambling and a bit of climbing.

You can do the Golden Ears Summit as a super long day hike or a backpacking trip. If you choose to backpack and camp, you can stay with at the Alder Flats campground which is halfway through the hike, or at the Panorama Ridge campground which is just below the summit and has insane views from the tent pads.

Although this hike is difficult, it is absolutely epic! The views from the top are bonkers.

💭 Our Thoughts

The hiking in Vancouver is some of the most incredible we have done in our entire lives! Every day I discover new trails that get added to our hiking bucket list.

If you like hiking and epic views, come to Vancouver! You will not regret it!

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