Ayy ayyy, it’s hiking season and I feel like this is all I’ve been talking about! Check out my most favourite challenging hikes for the summer!
BC is known for its amazing scenery. Many celebrities come on vacation here to escape the city and mellow out in nature. I feel very lucky to live here and be able to enjoy the beautiful hikes and adventures that are just a close drive from my house! BC has a vast variety of hikes, from farther up North in the Okanagan, to all the way West on Vancouver Island.
My list will be focusing mainly on hikes in the Lower Mainland of BC. This way, if you are in town for a business trip or just leisure, you may be able to sneak away and experience one of these magical hikes for yourself! Most of the hikes will be quite challenging, but I threw one in there that is a little easier and shorter with a nice view at the top 😉
If you want to learn more information about hiking in Vancouver, or specifically about these hikes, visit Vancouver Trails. I always check out this website before setting off on my next adventure for safety tips, hike durations, and seasonal warnings.
#1. Joffre Lake
This has ought to be my hands-down favourite hike I’ve ever had the pleasure to accomplish. Not only is there one beautiful crystal clear blue lake, but there are three!! The hike itself takes around 4 hours round-trip and is considered an intermediate hike. But it is well worth it and the difficulty isn’t too high. The trail opens up into the mountains and you are able to view the peaks quite well. It is surely breath-taking!
I would recommend bringing a lunch and eating it at one of the peaks since it is a little bit longer. This hike begins outside of Pemberton, so it is a small drive away (approx 2.5 hours). Unfortunately, they have recently banned dogs from partaking on this hike, to preserve the natural essences of the park.
#2. Garibaldi Lake
This lake is up next on my to-do list. I will be venturing out on this puppy in the next couple weeks since the weather is starting to be so nice here in Vancouver. You’re in luck because you must drive on the sea-to-sky highway to get to this location from the city. You get to drive along the coast of mountains and enjoy a scenic route even before the hike!
This hike is no joke sitting at 18km from start to finish. There are spots you are able to camp if you wish. But it is again, another bright blue lake that is surely to catch your eye and be something you never forget! Although it is long, it definitely seems really worth it. Again, I would suggest bringing a lunch and leaving early for the hike because it is outside the city, closer to Whistler, BC.
Check out my Instagram in the next week or so to see my boyfriend and I climbing Garibaldi Lake Trail!
#3. The Chief (Stawamus)
This hike is the hardest hike I’ve ever done. It starts off with many sets of stairs to climb over and over and over, luckily that part ends, but then you have to start scaling the side of a mountain with chains and ladders. I went into this hike thinking it was going to be a bit easier, and then realized part way through that it was kicking my butt haha. I would still recommend the hike because even the first peak, which had an amazing view, was challenging yet rewarding.
That is what I love about hiking, you challenge yourself into new environments and then get rewarded at the top with a beautiful view that makes all the hard work worth it!
This hike had three peaks, but only two of them are marked, and they aren’t even marked that well so we did not attempt the third peak. It took us 3.5 hours for the first peak. The drive again, is the sea-to-sky so I would recommend seeing it! If you end up feeling a bit lazy and still want to see this view though, they have created a gondola to go up the side and experience it as well. (I suggest the hike because its cheaper and you get to work out and see the view anyways!)
#4. Grouse Grind
I have a love/hate relationship with this painful hike. It is a bit shorter than the last three on the list but it is very tough. Imagine climbing 300 sets of stairs back to back to back. I do love me some stair master but it doesn’t really compare! The last time I did this hike it took me around an hour. I haven’t tried it this season yet but I have set myself a goal to complete it before the end of summer in quicker than an hour.
This hike is nice because it is on Grouse Mountain, a little closer to home for me and can be completed in a shorter amount of time if you just wanted to squeeze a hike into your day. The thing about this hike is that you must pay to gondola down the side of the mountain after you complete it. The top of the mountain has many amenities such as restaurants, look-outs and a grizzly bear exhibit. I know how crazy people go for grizzly bears across the world so that’s something really cool for you to say you’ve seen!
#5. Quarry Rock
Many people may have mixed feelings about this hike, and that is because it is such a widely popular hike in the Lower Mainland that everyone and their mom has done this hike. What that means is that there are way too many people on this hike at the same time. But good news guys, the municipal of North Vancouver has created regulations about how many people can be doing the hike at the same time. How Vancouver is that?! We have to restrict people from doing hikes so we can maintain the integrity of the hike and the park.
This hike is the easiest of them all but still is a bit challenging. I have found myself thinking about doing this hike when I don’t have much time during the day. It is only a 30 minute drive from my house which makes it very accessible.
Before/After the hike you are can enjoy Deep Cove Bay which is at the base of the mountain. They have water activities to rent such as paddle boarding, kayaking, and canoeing. I’ve tried the hike at night before, and it isn’t suggested because I swear I almost got eaten by a bear but it makes for a good story and photo haha!
These are my top 5 hikes I would suggest anyone looking to get out into nature to try. They are all marked as intermediate so keep that in mind but I have made it clear which are easier than others! ENJOY AND HAPPY HIKING ♡
Let me know in the comments of any hikes that you’ve done that may be comparable. Or if you’re from Vancouver, what do you think of these hikes, and any that you think I’ve missed?