7 Incredible After-work Sunset Hikes in Vancouver
There’s no better feeling than being at an incredible viewpoint and being able to watch the sun go down, (even if it does mean being annoyed by pesky mosquitoes for a little while). One of the best things about living in Vancouver, is that during the Summer, the days are long enough for you to be able to do an after work hike during the week and get a killer view of the sunset!
There are loads of hikes not too far from the city, with views of Downtown Vancouver, the ocean and the surrounding mountains. In my opinion, being at a viewpoint on top of a mountain is one of the best places to watch the sunset in Vancouver so all of these hikes take you to an incredible viewpoint of some sort!
In this guide I reveal a list of the best sunset hikes in Vancouver, as well as tips on how to hike back in the dark, how to battle the mozzies and more!
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Are Sunset Hikes Worth It?
You might be wondering… Why in the world would I put myself in a situation where I have to hike back through the forest in the dark.
Honestly I think sunset hikes are addictive. They are now my favourite time of the day to hike and I can barely imagine doing a hike to a pretty viewpoint during the day for photos. If I’m doing a hike purely for exercise or to get outside then it’s a different story but for photos and to enjoy the view, sunset or sunrise are SUPERIOR.
So in other words, YES YES 1 thousand times YES, sunset hikes are worth it.
For a full guide containing all of the things we take hiking, check out our hiking gear guide!
How to Prepare For a Sunset Hike
You probably see LOADS of hikers on social media constantly hiking to incredible viewpoints for sunset and making it look like a walk in the park. Don’t let this fool you. Hiking in the dark is a big deal, actually pretty terrifying AND something that you need to fully prepare for because it increases the risk of you getting lost and also bumping into wildlife.
There are a few things that you should make sure you do every time you go on a sunset hike.
- Tell a friend where you are going and what time they can expect you to return.
- Bring a headlamp and make sure the batteries are charged.
- Make lots of noise (more than usual) when hiking back in the dark so that any wildlife can here you coming.
- Bring bear spray and know how to use it! You should always have bear spray with you when hiking during the day in Vancouver, however this is your reminder that you also need it when hiking at night time.
- Bring lots of food, water and layers (such as a fleece and/or puffer jacket) as it does often get colder once the sun goes down.
- Research the trail, check the conditions and make sure you have offline maps downloaded.
- Mosquito Repellent! The bugs are awful at sunset! Especially at the beginning of Summer!
- Research the parking situation. Some parking lots, such as Cypress Mountain and Mount Seymour, close their main lots in the evening so you will need to park outside of the gate, further down the mountain to avoid getting locked in.
- Arrive 45 minutes to 1 hour before actual sunset so that you can enjoy the view and figure out where you want to take your photos from. The 30 minutes leading up to sunset also usually provide some of the best golden light.
- Don’t forget your camera! Some of our most favourite hiking photos are from sunset hikes because the light is just SOO pretty!
📸 Tips for Sunset Photography
Sunset and sunrise are some of the best times for photography! I recommend reaching the lookout about an hour before sunset so that you have enough time to set up your shot, capture the golden light and relax and enjoy the sunset.
There are loads of times where we have found ourselves in a rush on a hike where we arrive right as the sun is setting and then come away with a pretty average photo because we haven’t had the time to figure out a good composition.
🌲 Leave No Trace
The 7 Leave No Trace principles are important to be aware of to help keep Beautiful British Columbia beautiful.
Nature is there for us to enjoy but also respect and leave the way we found it but as well as respecting nature, we should also be treating each other with nothing but kindness. To remind yourself of the 7 Leave No Trace principles, check out the LNT website.
The Best Sunset Hikes in Vancouver
All of these hikes are located not too far away from Downtown Vancouver, with the exception of Tunnel Bluffs which is located in Lions Bay, about a 35 minute drive from Downtown.
Dog Mountain – Mount Seymour
Distance: 5km / 3.1 miles return | Time: 2-2.5 hours | Elevation: 150m / 492 ft | Difficulty: Easy
Dog Mountain is a great first sunset hike to do! It is short, with not too much elevation and a popular trail, even at sunset. The views of Downtown Vancouver, Stanley Park and the Fraser Valley are gorgeous and there are some great photo opportunities to be had!
It is located in Mount Seymour Provincial Park from the trailhead at the top of the top parking lot, however, if you do Dog Mountain as a sunset hike, you should park in the P2 parking lot, a little further down the road just before the gate.
Quarry Rock Lookout – Deep Cove
Distance: 3.8 km / 2.4 miles return | Time: 1.5 hours | Elevation: 100m / 328 ft Difficulty: Easy
Quarry Rock Lookout is an awesome after-work sunset hike in Vancouver. It is fairly popular because of how easy it is, so you will probably come across other people on the trail and at the lookout.
The hike is located in Deep Cove in North Vancouver and the viewpoint gives you stunning views over the water. Parking is often quite tricky as it is a small parking lot but there are is an alternative trail that you could park at and hike in from, making the hike EVEN shorter!
Saint Marks Summit – Cypress Provincial Park
Distance: 10.5km / 6.5 miles return | Time: 4-5 hours | Elevation: 587m / 1,925 ft | Difficulty: Moderate
Saint Marks Summit is my favourite sunset hike in Vancouver! It is a little longer and harder than the first 2 hikes in this list, but the views make up for it! They are INSANE and the sunsets up there are absolutely golden before turning to pink and purple.
St Marks Summit is part of the Howe Sound Crest Trail and the epic views from the top look out over Howe Sound. The hike starts on Cypress Mountain but make sure you park outside of the main gate as this gets locked at night!
Hollyburn Mountain – Cypress Provincial Park
Distance: 6.9km / 4.3 miles return | Time: 2.5 – 3.5 hours | Elevation: 415m / 1,361 ft | Difficulty: Moderate
Hiking to Hollyburn Mountain at sunset is a magical experience that shouldn’t be missed! Hollyburn Mountain or Hollyburn Peak as it is often called, is located in Cypress Provincial Park and offers breath-taking views of Vancouver and the surrounding Mountains.
I have not done this hike in Summer yet, but I was able to experience a colourful, vibrant sunset in Winter from the viewpoint at the top that made me feel like I had stepped into an alternate universe. Hiking to Hollyburn Peak to watch the sunset is well worth the effort!
Tunnel Bluffs – Lions Bay
Distance: 11.5km / 7.15 miles return | Time: 4 hours | Elevation: 470m / 1,541ft | Difficulty: Moderate
Tunnel Bluffs is SUCH a great sunset hike! To get to the trailhead, you do need to drive up the Sea to Sky Highway from Lions Bay but the view is worth the extra travel time.
Tunnel Bluffs is a super popular hike, even at sunset, but there is plenty of space at the viewpoint and we found it a really lovely experience to share the sunset with fellow hikers and then hike back in the dark with loads of other hikers doing the exact same thing as us. There was a real sense of community.
As golden hour approaches, the sky lights up and the sun reflects off the water below, creating a dreamy scene that you will find yourself taking hundreds of photos of! The viewpoint rewards you with panoramic views of the coastal mountains, the Sea to Sky Highway and Howe Sound, making it the perfect spot to enjoy a sunset picnic with friends.
Bowen Lookout – Cypress Provincial Park
Distance: 4km / 2.5 miles return | Time: 1.5 hours | Elevation: 110m / 360 ft | Difficulty: Easy
Bowen Lookout is a great choice if you are looking for an easier sunset hike that still has amazing mountain views!
Bowen Lookout is located in Cypress Provincial Park and you can actually add it on as a little detour to St Marks Summit if you feel like it. It is a great spot for sitting and watching the sunset. The sunset at Bowen Lookout transforms the views of Vancouver and the surrounding mountains into a something magical. Bring some snacks and your camera and relax while enjoying this awesome view! Watch out for the cheeky birds and squirrels!
Pump Peak – Mount Seymour
Distance: 7.1km / 4.4 miles return | Time: 3 – 4 hours | Elevation: 474m / 1,555 ft | Difficulty: Moderate
Pump Peak on Mount Seymour is one of the best after-work sunset hikes in Vancouver! The 360 degree views overlooking Vancouver and the surrounding mountains from the top are awesome! Pump Peak is a really popular Winter hike, however, during Summer it is just as beautiful!
Golden hour at Pump Peak casts a golden glow across the mountains and the sky transforms into a canvas of vibrant colours.
Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the beauty of this spectacular sunset hike on Mount Seymour!
💭 Our Thoughts
Dave and I both love the satisfaction of hiking up to a viewpoint for sunset, however I don’t think we will ever actually start to enjoy hiking in the dark. It will always be worth it though.
Although hiking in the dark can be scary, it is extremely rewarding and you will find that almost 100% of the time it will be worth it!
I hope you enjoy your next sunset hike and stay safe out there!
You might also enjoy:
- 11 Best Hikes Near Squamish (including Easy Trails)
- What to Wear on a Day Hike: Gear Guide
- Moody & Mystical Rainy Day Hikes Around Vancouver
- 21 Best Views in Vancouver
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