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12 Beautiful Overnight Hikes Near Vancouver

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Best Backpacking Trips Near Vancouver

Are you looking for outdoor adventure near Vancouver? Some of the best overnight hikes we have EVER done are near Vancouver which is one of the reasons we live here!

This is a list of easy to challenging backpacking trips near Vancouver with some that could be done over 2 or 3 nights rather than 1. Some of these are extremely popular and you will need to pre-book camping permits for and some are less well known and easier to get a campsite at the last minute.

Most of these backcountry camping spots are within a couple of hours drive from Vancouver with the exception of three, one of which is on the Sunshine Coast and the other two on Vancouver Island.

In this guide, I will SPILL ALL THE TEA on the most incredible overnight backpacking trips near Vancouver, along with their hiking stats, how to book permits and what to expect in terms of difficulty.

Panorama Ridge Campground at sunrise in Golden Ears Provincial Park

🌲 Leave No Trace

Before heading out into Beautiful British Columbia’s backcountry, please remind yourself of the Leave No Trace Principles. Take everything back out that you take in, take only photos and respect the wildlife and other people. You can read more on the 7 LNT principles here.

⛺ Backpacking Gear Essentials

Backpacking can be a little expensive to get into but once you have all the gear, it’s like having a super cheap adventure holiday getaway every weekend!

🎒 For a full list of all of our backcountry camping gear, check out our gear list here!

Best Backcountry Camping Trips Near Vancouver

Panorama Ridge

Distance: 31.4km / 19.5 miles | Elevation gain: 1,525 m / 4,991 ft | Time: 9 -12 hours | Difficulty: Challenging | Nights: 1-2 | Reservation required: Yes

couple standing at the Panorama Ridge viewpoint at blue hour

Panorama Ridge in Garibaldi Provincial Park is known as one of the best views in Canada and it definitely lives up to the hype. Your jaw will drop and your heart will skip a beat when you reach the viewpoint.

The Panorama Ridge viewpoint itself looks out over Garibaldi Lake which is a crazy deep blue in colour from above.

You can do Panorama Ridge as a day hike or you can hike over 1 or 2 nights by camping at one of the campgrounds, Taylor Meadows or Garibaldi Lake.

To camp, you do need to reserve your campsite spot on the BC Parks reservation system.

Wedgemount Lake

Distance: 12.2km / 7.5miles | Elevation gain: 1,200m / 3,937 ft | Time: 6-8 hours | Difficulty: Challenging | Nights: 1 | Reservation required: Yes

Girl sitting in Tent on tent platform at Wedgemount Lake

Wedgemount Lake is two things: Absolutely STUNNING and an absolute GRIND. The hiking trail is uphill and very steep the entire way and hiking it with a heavy overnight backpack will crush your soul.

In saying that, we have done Wedgemount Lake as a backpacking trip 2 years in a row now and we love it. The campsite is so beautiful, you will feel like you have entered paradise! There are camping spots by the lake and also above the lake. We have camped at both and cannot decide on our favourite.

Wedgemount Lake’s water is a light, milky turquoise and the lake is set against a mountainous backdrop with a glacier.

To camp, you will need to reserve your campsite spot on the BC Parks reservation system.

Pump Peak

Distance: 7.1km / 4.4 miles | Elevation gain: 474m / 1,555 ft | Time: 3-4 hours | Difficulty: Moderate | Nights: 1 | Reservation required: No

Tent camping on Pump Peak, BC

Pump Peak is located on Mount Seymour and is a great hike to do in the Winter but also great to do as a backpacking trip in the Summer! There are no official campsite or facilities at the top, but there is plenty of space for wild camping. When looking for a camp spot, make sure you don’t camp on any of the vegetation.

The 360 views from the top of Pump Peak are insane! This is one of those Vancouver hikes where you feel like you are truly out in the middle of nowhere because you are surrounding by mountains on one side of the peak but then on the other side, you can see Downtown Vancouver! It’s a crazy feeling!

Tin Hat Mountain

Distance: 4.2km / 2.6 miles | Elevation gain: 296m / 971 ft | Time: 1-2 hours | Difficulty: Easy – Moderate | Nights: 1 | Reservation required: No

couple sitting on the steps of Tin Hat Hut on Tin Hat Mountain

Tin Hat Mountain is located in Powell River on the Sunshine Coast, which means you have to catch not one but two ferries to get there. (more on how to get to the trailhead in our guide here). I recommend spending at least 2 nights in Powell River to make the most of long 7 hour journey to get there.

Tin Hat is part of the Sunshine Coast Trail and has its own hut which you can sleep in or you can pack a tent and camp for the night.

There are 360 views from the summit, which is about 10 minutes past the campground area, of Powell River and the surrounding mountains.

5040 Peak

Distance: 6.9km / 4.3 miles | Elevation gain: 928m /3,044 ft | Time: 3.5-5.5 hours | Difficulty: Hard | Nights: 1 | Reservation required: No

girl on 5040 Peak at sunrise in the smoke

5040 Peak is one of the best backpacking trips on Vancouver Island! It is a super steep hike but not too long and the view from the peak are absolutely incredible!

There is a hut at the saddle which you can book to sleep in or you can bring a tent and camp either on the saddle, down the trail a little at Cobalt Lake or the summit of 5040.

The hike itself is a grind. It is extremely steep with lots of root scrambling where you will find that you will need to use your hands.

Note: You will need a 4×4 high clearance vehicle to reach the trailhead.

Golden Ears Summit

Distance: 26km / 16.1 miles | Elevation gain: 1,627m / 5,337 ft | Time: 12-14 hours | Difficulty: Challenging | Nights: 1 | Reservation required: Yes

Couple standing on top of camping platform at Panorama Ridge campground, Golden Ears

Golden Ears Summit is located in Golden Ears Provincial Park, about a 1 hour drive from Vancouver. Apart from the Howe Sound Crest Trail which we have yet to do, Golden Ears Summit is the hardest hike on this list.

The campsite is also the most beautiful campsite we have ever camped at! There are a handful of camping platforms on each side of the ridgeline with absolutely incredible views!

The hike itself is long, steep and totally exhausting. I had a nap when we reach the campground and on the way back down my feet almost dropped off. 😅 There are also some pretty exposed sections which will not be for everyone.

You will need to reserve a backcountry camping pass to spend the night at Golden Ears Summit. You can do so on the BC Parks website.

Joffre Lakes

Distance: 10km / 6.2miles | Elevation gain: 370metres 1,213ft | Time: 3.5-5 hours | Difficulty: Moderate | Nights: 1 | Reservation required: yes

girl standing on log at Joffre Lakes - middle lake

Joffre Lakes, located up near Pemberton, is one of the best beginner backpacking trips near Vancouver! It is about a 2 hour 45 minute drive from Vancouver to the Joffre Lakes trailhead. It is also one of the most popular so it can be hard to obtain a backcountry camping permit on the weekend.

The Joffre Lakes trail takes you to not 1 but 3 beautiful turquoise alpine lakes. The campground is located up at the 3rd lake, on the other side of the lake.

To camp, you will need to reserve your backcountry campsite on the BC Parks reservation system.

Howe Sound Crest Trail

Distance: 29km / 18.01 miles | Elevation gain: 1,800 m / 5,905 ft | Time: 10-15 hours | Difficulty: Super Challenging | Nights: 2-3 | Reservation required: No

couple sitting at Saint Marks Summit at sunset
Saint Marks Summit Viewpoint

The Howe Sound Crest Trail is one of the most challenging hikes in British Columbia and it can also be hard to follow the trail at times. We haven’t actually done this hike yet as we don’t feel experienced enough.

The trail takes you to some popular viewpoints such as Saint Marks Summit and Mount Brunswick and is a point to point trail so you will need to arrange to leave one car at the end, which is near Porteau Cove or arrange a pick up.

Garibaldi Lake

Distance: 18km / 11.2 miles | Elevation gain: 820m / 2,690 ft | Time: 5-7 hours | Difficulty: Hard | Nights: 1 | Reservation required: Yes

girl standing at Garibaldi Lake at sunset

The Garibaldi Lake Campground is one of the possible campgrounds to stay at for hiking Panorama Ridge, however a lot of people choose to just hike to the lake and back.

Garibaldi Lake is beautiful and the campground has some great facilities! The lake is also a really awesome swimming spot and it was surprisingly a lot warmer than we were expecting!

The hike itself mostly consists of gentle switchbacks, however, they do feel like go on FOREVER.

To camp, you will need to reserve your backcountry campsite on the BC Parks reservation system.

Elfin Lakes

Distance: 22km / 13.7 miles | Elevation gain: 600m / 1,968 ft | Time: 6 hours | Difficulty: Moderate | Nights: 1 | Reservation required: Yes

Elfin Lakes in another hike in Garibaldi Provincial Park that lead you up to some gorgeous tent platforms in the mountains next to a couple of small lakes.

Elfin Lakes is a popular overnight trip to do during both Summer and Winter as there is a cabin that you can sleep in. In Winter, the hike turns into a fun snowshoeing trip to the cabin.

To camp, you will need to reserve your backcountry campsite on the BC Parks reservation system.

Watersprite Lake

Distance: 17km / 10.6 miles | Elevation gain: 660m / 2,165 ft | Time: 7 hours | Difficulty: Moderate | Nights: 1 | Reservation required: Yes

Watersprite Lake is a trail in the Squamish area that takes you to a gorgeous turquoise alpine lake. There are tent platforms and other campsites spread out around the lake and the lake is perfect for a cold dip!

This hike is less popular and well known than Garibaldi Lake but just as beautiful.

To make campsite reservations, book here!

Mystic Beach

Distance: 4km / 2.5 miles | Elevation gain: 65 metres / 213 ft | Time: 2 hours | Difficulty: Easy | Nights: 1 | Reservation required: Yes

couple standing at waterfall on beach at sunset

Mystic Beach is located on Vancouver island along the Juan De Fuca Trail which means you need to catch the ferry across from Vancouver.

Mystic Beach is a gorgeous and very wild beach with a waterfall that runs into the ocean! At sunset, the water from the waterfall looks like liquid gold! The best time to visit Mystic Beach is during Spring when the waterfall is at its strongest.

You can camp anywhere along the beach on the sand. If you would like to camp, you need to reserve a spot through BC Parks.

Things to Take on a Backpacking Trip

Are you thinking about going on an overnight hike and not knowing where to begin when it comes to gear? I’ve got you covered with my guide on Backpacking Gear Items that You Need this Adventure Season!

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