10 Bucket List Hikes To Conquer Near Vancouver This Summer

Hiking season is here again! 

By Nicole Hui

Hey Vancouver, happy hiking season—aka one of our favourite seasons! After a long season of what felt like never-ending rain and even the coldest Vancouver June Day in decades, we are finally enjoying sunny skies that are perfect to kick off hiking season. Fun (or not so fun) Fact: we could all use some peace after this chaotic year. Fun Fact: hiking is the perfect remedy. The outdoors is healing and it’s free to all, so go enjoy it this summer! 

And to save you the time of researching, we have done it for you and have several amazing B.C. hiking trails in and near Vancouver that you should add to your bucket list this summer.  

When we say nature has healing powers, we’re speaking from experience. We at Union Gospel Mission have seen firsthand the transformative powers of the outdoors! That’s why we created Expeditions, UGM’s hiking and wilderness program. This outdoor recreation program is offered to men within UGM’s Alcohol & Drug Recovery Program. 

Expeditions provides opportunities for men to challenge themselves physically, explore the beauty of this world, and engage meaningfully with each other—all while working towards a life-changing goal. From simple day hikes around Vancouver to multi-day wilderness expeditions, these trips are intentionally designed to help men in their recovery journey. And it does help! Many of the men in recovery at UGM credit Expeditions as one of the key factors that led to healing. 

“I was numb in my addiction. I didn’t understand how beautiful this world is. These hikes didn’t just help my recovery, they were my recovery… I wouldn’t have had a chance in recovery without Expeditions. This program saved my life. It gave me my life back.” – UGM Expeditions Participant⁠

So go experience the wonders and healing of the beautiful outdoors this summer with these 10 B.C. hiking trails near Vancouver. Before you venture out, make sure to check out these adventure safety tips. Also take some time to research the traditional owners and caretakers of the land and learn about whose Indigenous land you’re exploring on.

1. Lighthouse Park | West Vancouver

This is a beautiful spot that has tons of different, easy hiking trails that provide varying views. From peaceful forest scenery to breathtaking cliffs, ocean views and a picturesque lighthouse, this park has it all!

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 2 hours

Roundtrip Distance: up to 6 km

Elevation: Minimal

A UGM Expeditions Alumni enjoying a hike

2. Dog Mountain | North Vancouver

A fan favourite and for good reason. Dog Mountain offers incredible views without a treacherous hike. You’ll even pass by a lake along the way. It’s located on Mount Seymour Provincial Park. 

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 2 hours

Roundtrip Distance: 5 km 

Elevation: Minimal

A UGM Expeditions Alumni enjoying a hike

3. Panorama Ridge | Whistler

Arguably the most beautiful hike in the entire province, Panorama Ridge offers surreal views of the insanely blue Garibaldi Lake and surrounding mountains. You do have to put in hard work to get to it, but that’s part of the fun! 

Many prefer to camp in Garibaldi Provincial Park to make it more manageable, like our Expeditions participants, who did a multi-day backcountry trip here! They were blown away by the scenery when they completed this hike. 

Difficulty: Difficult

Time: 9 to 11 hours

Roundtrip Distance: 30 km

Elevation: 1520 meters

A UGM Expeditions Alumni enjoying a hike

4. Garibaldi Lake | Whistler

If you’re not up for the long trek to Panorama Ridge (totally fair!), the hike to Garibaldi Lake is much shorter and still breathtakingly beautiful. The lake is known for its beautifully blue tones and scenic mountain views. 

Difficulty: Intermediate

Time: 4 to 5 hours

Roundtrip Distance: 18 km

Elevation: 820 meters

A UGM Expeditions Alumni enjoying a camping trip

5. Tunnel Bluffs | Lions Bay

This spectacular hike offers sweeping views of Howe Sound and the Sea to Sky region. When it’s a clear day, you can see out to Bowen Island, Keats Island, and even the Sunshine Coast. Definitely a B.C. trail you have to try this summer! 

Difficulty: Intermediate

Time: 4 hours

Roundtrip Distance: 11.5 km

Elevation: 470 meters

6. Stawamus Chief | Squamish

One of the most popular hikes in B.C., the Chief is a trail that Vancouverite should conquer at least once. There are three different peaks. You can choose to hike all of them in a day or you can hike one individual peak. Each peak offers a different view. The most popular peak is the first one, because it offers the most unobstructed views of Howe Sound. 

Difficulty: Intermediate

Time: 2 to 6 hours

Roundtrip Distance: 4 to 7 km (depending which peak you do)

Elevation: 600 meters

7. Buntzen Lake | Belcarra

For a nice, relaxed walk with scenic lake views, look no further than Buntzen Lake. There are several trails in the lake area, but the one that loops around Buntzen Lake is a popular one—because it offers forest and lake scenery and it’ll even bring you across a suspension bridge. 

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 2.5 to 3.5 hours

Roundtrip Distance: 10 km

Elevation: 110 meters

8. Golden Ears | Maple Ridge

Located in Golden Ears Provincial Park, this trail boasts unbelievably beautiful views for those who are up for the challenging trek. The climb is steep but it is oh so worth it—just make sure you’re prepared for the long day. 

Difficulty: Difficult

Time: 10 to 12 hours

Roundtrip Distance: 24 km 

Elevation: 1500 meters

A UGM Expeditions Alumni enjoying a hike

9. Rice Lake | North Vancouver

This trail is perfect when you’ve only got a little bit of time to spare but still want to enjoy the peaceful serenity of the great outdoors. Rice Lake is a calm spot located in the Lynn Headwaters Regional Park in North Vancouver. You’ll likely see people fishing and relaxing on the benches all around the lake. 

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 1 hour

Roundtrip Distance: 3 km

Elevation: Minimal

10. Cascade Falls | Mission

Want to visit a suspension bridge but not down to pay admission? Then Cascade Falls is calling you! After a short walk, you’ve arrived at a beautiful waterfall with a suspension bridge. What more could you want? 

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 0.5 hours

Roundtrip Distance: 0.75 km

Elevation: 40 meters

 

Go enjoy the great outdoors and the healing powers of nature. Expeditions is just one way that life-changing recovery happens at UGM. We believe in a holistic approach to recovery —and immersing oneself in the outdoors does wonders for spiritual, mental and physical health.

 

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Written By: Nicole Hui