Norvan Falls Hike
Distance: 14km / 8.7 miles Time: 3.5-5hrs Elevation: 195metres / 640ft From Vancouver: 35mins Dog Friendly: Yes Toilets: Yes just past the parking lot
If you love waterfalls and suspension bridges, then you are going to love Norvan Falls!
The Norvan Falls Trail is an easy but long dog friendly hike located in Lynn Headwaters Regional Park in North Vancouver. The hike is 14km return with an elevation gain of 195m and will take you anywhere from 3.5-5 hours to complete. Because the trail is so flat, you can also do the Norvan Falls Trail run which is very popular amongst the locals.
The trailhead is about 35 minutes drive from Downtown Vancouver. The trail can be used for most of the year, however in Winter don’t make the same mistake as us and forget to bring along your micro spikes. Due to the trail running parallel to the river, it can get extremely icy and slippery. We learnt this the hard way.
You will find everything you need to know about hiking Norvan Falls Hike in this guide along with some extra tips and the differences between Norvan Falls and Kennedy Falls to help you choose which waterfall hike is best for you. We also have a full guide on the Best 16 Waterfalls Near Vancouver if you are a lover of waterfalls!
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📍 Where is Norvan Falls
Norvan Falls is located in Lynn Headwaters Regional Park in North Vancouver. From Vancouver, it will take you around 35 minutes driving time to reach the parking lot.
Click here to open the map in Google Maps!
🚗 Where to park for the trailhead
Park in the Lynn Headwaters Entrance Parking Lot and not the Rice Lake Parking Lot like we did as this will add on 4km to your hike. Our feet were very sore by the end of our hike. There are toilets located in the carpark but not along the trail.
Once parked, walk across the Lynn Creek Bridge and turn left to find the trailhead. You will see some signage with a map next to the start of the trail.
🚌 How to get to the Norvan Falls Hike trailhead without a car
If you don’t have a car, don’t worry! You can get to the Norvan Falls trailhead without a car. From Downtown Vancouver, catch the 210 bus from EB W Pender St @ Seymour St. The trip is about 40 minutes. You will get off at EB McNair Dr @ Ramsay Rd and walk 800metres to Lynn Headwaters Entrance Parking Lot. See map above for the parking lot location.
⏰ How Long Does the Norvan Falls Hike Take?
Norvan Falls will take around 3.5-5 hours depending on how fast of a hiker you are. The trail is long but with little elevation so we found that we could hike faster than usual.
🥾 Norvan Falls Hiking Trail Difficulty
The Norvan Falls hike is long but fairly flat making it an easy – moderate hike. There are some sections with a bit of incline and a very small section where you will have to navigate over some roots and rocks, however for the most part it is a very simple hike and great for kids!
The trail is well maintained, unlike its neighbouring trail, Kennedy Falls.
❓ Is the Norvan Falls Hike Worth it?
We did Norvan Falls on a pretty gloomy rainy day and we found it totally worth it to get outside in nature and see a stunning waterfall with the added bonus of a suspension bridge. On a sunny day however, unless you are OBSESSED with waterfalls, I personally think that there are better hikes out there such as Saint Marks Summit, which has incredible views overlooking Howe Sound on a clear day!
🕐 When is the Best Time to Hike to Norvan Falls?
The best time for any waterfall hike is during Winter or Spring when the waterfall is at its best after all of the rain. Norvan Falls is a great day hike and so we recommend starting first thing in the morning so that you have plenty of time to complete the hike. Bring along a packed lunch, some snacks and plenty of water and make a full day of it!
Norvan Falls is also a great rainy day hike. Waterfall hikes are a great thing to do on a rainy day in Vancouver, so why not save Norvan Falls for a rainy day.
❄ Hiking Norvan Falls in the Winter
Norvan Falls is one of the best Winter hikes in Vancouver because it is fairly flat and the trail is easy to follow. Usually it won’t be snow covered unless Vancouver has had a freak snow storm like one of the ones we have had recently. If you choose to do this Norvan Falls in Winter when the ground is icy and super slippery like we did, be sure to bring along some micro spikes. You can check out our micro spikes and purchase these using the below links.
Without micro spikes, when the trail is icy, you will take double the time to complete the hike and risk slipping and hurting yourself. On this occasion, we didn’t have our micro spikes with us and it was extremely slow going in some sections of the trail. Ultimate regret. The reason for this is that the trail runs alongside a river and so builds up ice very easily when the weather is extra cold.
🥾 Norvan Falls Trail Description
Overall, the Norvan Falls trail is pretty flat and well maintained. It runs along the river so can get quite cold in Spring, Fall and Winter. The trail consists of a dirt path covered in classic BC roots and mud, some wooden bridges and a suspension bridge at the end.
The first section of the trail is extremely popular for dog walkers. This part of the trail is the widest and the busiest. After this, the trail breaks off into a narrower hiking trail and you will cross a few wooden bridges whilst weaving through the trees next to the creek. Just over halfway into the hike, you will come to a clearing with views of the mountains. We stopped here for some water and a snack before continuing on up the trail.
Continuing on, you will need to take a left at the intersection after the clearing. The right is a loop that will lead you back the way you came.
The next part of the trail leads you more into the forest and is more root covered. You will also find that you will be climber slightly uphill in sections. This would have to be the hardest section of the trail but also the most peaceful. The forest is extremely magical and we really enjoyed spotting mushrooms on the moss covered trees.
Eventually, you will come to the end of the trail. Turn left for the suspension bridge and turn right for the falls. We spent about an hour here taking photos and eating our lunch. It was so nice to sit down and rest our feet for a bit.
🐻 Are there Bears on the Norvan Falls Trail?
Black bears are seen pretty regularly in the Lynn Headwaters Regional Park, so make sure you carry bear spray with you.
📄 Other Useful Tips
- Bring plenty of food and water. This is a long trail and you will get hungry.
- Leave No Trace (LNT) – There is a trash can along the start of the trail on the wider part of the trail. Once the trail becomes narrower there are no more trash cans, so pack out what you bring in. Take only photos! You can read more on the 7 LNT principles here
- The trail can be pretty cold during the Winter/Spring as it takes you through the forest alongside a river. Then of course at the falls themselves you will find it pretty cold when you stop for a break. Be sure to bring layers with you. We recommend wearing a Merino hiking shirt, a fleece, an insulated jacket and a windbreaker/raincoat. If you are hiking in Spring, Fall or Winter, we also recommend bringing a beanie, a neck warmer and gloves.
- Check the opening hours of the park. These change seasonally so you will need to double check metrovancouver.org Do not leave your vehicle inside the park overnight or after hours, it will initiate an emergency response.
Norvan Falls VS Kennedy Falls – How to Choose
I would describe Norvan Falls as the less adventurous version of Kennedy Falls. Here are the main differences to help you choose which hike is best for you.
|Norvan Falls Trail||Kennedy Falls Trail|
|Most of the trail is maintained||70% of the trail is unmaintained|
|No scrambling||Lots of scrambling over roots and rocks|
|Less likely to get mud all over you||You will get muddy|
|14km distance with 195m elevation||10km distance with 150m elevation|
|Has a suspension bridge at the waterfall||No suspension bridge but you will pass the Big Cedar Tree|
Other Hiking Trails Nearby
There are loads of hiking trails in North Vancouver, from beautiful forest trails to epic viewpoints overlooking Vancouver. Some of our favourites are:
Lynn Canyon Loop
Distance: 2.6km / 1.6miles | Time: 45 mins – 1 hour | Elevation: 108m / 354 ft | Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
The Lynn Canyon Loop takes you to Twin Falls, 30 Foot Pool and the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge. The hike is not too hard and a great one to do on a cloudy or rainy day. In Summer, you could even go for a dip in 30 Foot Pool, but make sure you try to get there early because this place is extremely popular in Summer!
Saint Marks Summit
Distance: 10.5km / 6.5 miles | Time: 4-5 hours | Elevation: 487m / 1598 ft | Difficulty: Moderately difficult
Saint Marks Summit is one of the best hikes near Vancouver because the views are to die for!
The trail is located in Cypress Provincial Park around 30 minutes drive from Vancouver. You could also do Bowen Lookout as a side trail when hiking Saint Marks Summit. The hike is part of the Howe Sound Crest Trail and offers views above the Sea to Sky Highway which are even better during sunset.
Dog Mountain Hike
Distance: 5km / 3.1 miles | Time: 2.5 hours | Elevation: 150metres / 492ft | Difficulty: Easy – Medium
Dog Mountain is an awesome easy – medium difficulty hike located on Mount Seymour. This trail can be hiked during any season, even Winter in the snow. It is a great trail to practise your snowshoeing or you could just wear micro spikes to stop from slipping.
The viewpoint from Dog Mountain looks out downtown Vancouver, Stanley Park and the Fraser Valley!
💭 Our Thoughts
We loved the Norvan Falls hike. It felt like a real adventure, however, it IS long and you WILL have sore feet by the time you return to your car. We recommend taking the day to do this hike so that you aren’t in a rush, especially if you plan on doing this one in Winter or early Spring when the ground is icy.
This hike is a great day out and 100% worth the long walk! We even saw a few families on the trail so if you have kids that are good walkers, this may be a great adventure day out for you.
You might also enjoy:
- Hiking to the Beautiful Kennedy Falls in North Vancouver
- How to Visit Cascade Falls, BC and its Suspension Bridge
- Lynn Canyon Hike (Suspension Bridge, 30 Foot Pool & Twin Falls)
- 21 Best Views in Vancouver
- Best Hikes in Vancouver
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