A Complete Guide to the Horseshoe Bay Lookout
There’s nothing we love more than a secret sunset spot! No doubt you will have seen this place pop up on your Instagram from time to time. The Horseshoe Bay lookout is complete with its very own picnic platform (as we like to call it). It is one of Vancouver’s best sunset spots to enjoy with friends or relax by yourself! You can sit on the platform or the surrounding rocks if the platform is full, and watch the ferries go by on the water below you.
Even thought it is one of the best views in Vancouver, it is also a bit of a hidden gem as the secret platform isn’t the easiest to find. We actually got a bit lost the first time we went, so we have decided to help you out by giving you specific instructions on how to find it.
This guide includes details on how to get to the Horseshoe Bay Lookout or the Horseshoe Bay Sunset Platform as some people call it, by car and public transport, where to park and how to find the platform.
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Where is Horseshoe Bay
Horseshoe Bay is best known for its ferry terminal, “Horseshoe Bay Terminal,” but is also a suburban location with around 1,000 residents living there. It is technically still classified as West Vancouver, although the very Western tip of West Vancouver.
You can get a ferry from Horseshoe Bay to locations such as Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, Langdale on the Sunshine Coast and Bowen Island.
The best way to reach the Horseshoe Bay Lookout is by car, which will take around 25 minutes from Vancouver. If you don’t have your own car, consider hiring an Evo or Modo. We have tried both of these car sharing services and prefer Modo for the cleanliness of their vehicles.
What is the Horseshoe Bay Lookout
The Horseshoe Bay Lookout is a spot just off the main road where you have an amazing view of the water and the ferries going in and out of Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal. At some point, someone attached a wooden platform to make it a more comfortable place to sit and enjoy the view. Now that the platform is there, more and more people visit the spot to watch the sunset with friends.
There is limited space on the platform but don’t worry too much if you don’t get a spot. There is plenty of space on the rocks surrounding the platform to sit to take in the view.
How to get to Horseshoe Bay From Vancouver
From downtown Vancouver to Horseshoe Bay Lookout it is a 30 minute drive or by bus it will take around 50 minutes including a walk. Alternatively, if you don’t have a car and would prefer not to catch the bus, you could use a car sharing service such as Modo or Evo.
Click here to open the map in Google Maps!
You will need to take the Trans-Canada Highway (Hwy 1 W) and take Exit 2 towards Horseshoe Bay Drive.
About 1km after taking Exit 2, on your left-hand-side, you will see a sign that says “Residential Area. Avoid Using Engine Brakes.” Right beside this sign, you will see a short path that leads you right up to the platform! Make note of this for once you have found a parking spot.
Where to Park for the Horseshoe Bay Sunset Lookout
This is where you really need to pay attention, because we ended up missing all of the possible parking spots and doubling our driving time because there is no where to turn around for quite some time. I hope that this guide stops you from making the same mistake as us!
The first parking spot that you will come to is the closest to the lookout, however it is not a parking lot but more of a small pull-out that will fit around 4-5 cars.
A couple of hundred metres after you pass the “Residential Area” sign, you will come to a small parking lot on your left. We found this was the easiest place to park for the Horseshoe Bay Lookout as there was more space for cars and it wasn’t too far from the lookout.
You can catch Bus #257 (Horseshoe Bay Express), from downtown Vancouver. You will need to get off at the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal and walk about 2km (25 minutes) to the platform. It isn’t the most pleasant walk, as you will need to walk alongside the busy Horseshoe Bay Drive. The walk is outlined in the above map which you can use on Google Maps.
Things you Should Know Before Visiting the Horseshoe Bay Lookout
- This space is for everyone. Treat others with kindness only.
- Leave No Trace – This is something I cannot stress enough. We want to keep beautiful places like this one exactly how we found it. Pack out everything you bring to the lookout and don’t take anything that belongs at the lookout home with you.
- When walking from your parked car to the lookout, take extra caution as you will be walking along the side of the highway.
- In Winter, Fall and Spring, wear warm clothes and don’t forget your puffer jacket as it can get cold up there.
- It is a little scramble up to the viewpoint so I recommend wearing enclosed shoes.
- Don’t forget your camera!
How to Find the Horseshoe Bay Secret Platform
You can find the Horseshoe Bay Platform, along Horseshoe Bay Drive on the east side of the bay. This road runs just under the Sea to Sky Highway.
Once you have parked your car using the instructions above, use the map in this guide to lead you straight to the lookout. Walk back along the road towards Vancouver and find the red and black sign with a picture of a truck that says, “Residential Area. Avoid Using Engine Brakes.”
You will notice that the sign is next to a rocky area that seems to act as a kind of wall along the side of the road. This is where you will need to climb up to reach the platform and why I recommend wearing enclosed shoes for better grip on the rocks. When you reach the top of the rockpile, you will see the platform and the amazing view of Horseshoe Bay just past it!
Sunset at the Horseshoe Bay Lookout
The Horseshoe Bay Lookout is one of the best sunset spots in Vancouver and due to its increasing popularity on social media a lot of people know it! This means that the spot can get quite busy at sunset, especially on the weekends. This spot is for everyone so go check it out while respecting other people. Who knows, you might even make a new adventure buddy!
I recommend arriving at the platform about an hour before sunset to give you enough time to enjoy the view before the sun goes down and it gets too dark and cold.
Other Things to do Near Horseshoe Bay
As you have already made the trip out to Horseshoe Bay, why not check out some other awesome viewpoints nearby.
Lighthouse Park is about a 12 minute drive from Horseshoe Bay. The park has a few different hiking trails, and a picturesque lighthouse which is only a 10 minute walk to get to from the parking lot.
Apart from the view of the lighthouse, there is another gorgeous spot that is worth checking out called Starboat Cove. This spot is about a 15 minute walk from the lighthouse.
Cypress Mountain Lookout
The Cypress Lookout is on the way up to Cypress Ski Resort along the Cypress Bowl Road. This is another of the great sunset spot in Vancouver and you will often find photographers here during golden hour. From Cypress Mountain Lookout you can see views of Mount Baker and Vancouver Island.
The parking lot is not very big but we have never had a problem finding a spot. There are toilets and picnic tables at the lookout so you can spend ages up there enjoying the view.
This spot is only a 10-15 minute drive from Horseshoe Bay, so a great place to stop at on the way back to Vancouver.
You might also enjoy:
- 21 Best Views in Vancouver
- How to Hike St Marks Summit at Sunset
- 10 Beautiful and Easy Hikes Near Vancouver
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