Wedged between the Pacific Ocean and the base of the North Shore Mountains Vancouver, British Columbia provides adventure junkies unparalleled access to the outdoors. No matter the season and no matter what kind of adventure you seek, Vancouver will deliver. From kayaking to hiking, to snowshoeing, to world class mountaintop experiences; you can do it all in Canada’s greenest city.
If you are planning your first trip to Vancouver and you are looking to get your adventure on, check out these five outdoor activities:
Kayaking False Creek
False Creek is small ocean inlet that separates the downtown peninsula from the rest of greater Vancouver. The beginning of False Creek is marked by Granville Island and the Burrard Street Bridge and concludes at the Telus World of Science. This inlet is a thriving waterway filled with expensive yachts, water taxis, dragon boaters, and kayakers.
To kayak on False Creek you will need to rent boats or join a day tour. Eco Marine Paddlesport Centres runs a location on Granville Island and is a perfect launching point for exploring False Creek. Eco Marine offers kayak rentals, however, their guided tour of False Creek should not be missed. By joining their three-hour tour you will learn about the waterways industrial history, modern art installations, and local community.
Exploring Grouse Mountain
A year-round destination, Grouse Mountain has been dubbed the peak of Vancouver. Located between Mount Seymour and Cypress Mountain this gondola accessible peak offers travelers a bit of everything coastal mountain culture has to offer.
In the winter months, Grouse Mountain offers visitors the ability to go snowboarding, skiing, snowshoeing, ziplining, and ice skating. While the skiing and snowboarding on the mountain are good, the activity not to be missed is the Snowshoe Grind. This four and a half kilometer trek will take you to the summit of Dam Mountain and provide sweeping views of downtown Vancouver, the North Shore Mountains, and the Grouse Mountain ski area.
During the summer months, Grouse Mountain’s alpine flowers bloom and bring with them opportunities to hike, view coastal wildlife, go to the top of a wind turbine, and splurge on scenic helicopter rides.
Kayaking Deep Cove
Deep Cove is a small community sandwiched between the Indian Arm (a branch of the Burrard Inlet) and the base of Mount Seymour in North Vancouver. Historically, Deep Cove was a favorite fishing and clamming area of the First Nations people. Today, however, it has become an outdoor enthusiast’s playground, with water sports being its main draw.
In order to explore the waters surrounding Deep Cove, you will need to rent kayaks or join a guided tour. Deep Cove Kayak offers rentals and a number of different tour options.
The best time to kayak this area is early in the morning. Early morning will provide you with the smoothest water, little power boat traffic, and the opportunity to view the resident seals without interruption.
Hiking in Mount Seymour Provincial Park
With the best views of Vancouver, the Mount Seymour trail is a popular hiking route in summer and early fall. Located in Mount Seymour Provincial Park the hike to this mountain’s summit should only be completed by experienced hikers. The nine-kilometer trek will take you up over 450 meters through old-growth forests, past ponds, and over jagged rocks. Hikers should allow five hours to complete this hike.
For those less experienced, consider a hike along the Dog Mountain trail. This five-kilometer hike over roots and rocks will provide views of downtown Vancouver (on a clear day) which rival the views from Mount Seymour. Due note that due the lower elevation of this hike the trail can be wet and slippery. Proper, closed toe, footwear is highly recommended.
Snowshoeing at Cypress Mountain
Located in the Cypress Provincial Park, Cypress Mountain offers some of the best Nordic winter recreation in Vancouver. With over 11 kilometers of trails, Cypress Mountain provides guided and self-guided snowshoeing adventures during the winter months along with equipment rentals.
The trails in this area wind through sub-alpine forests and lead to Hollyburn Lodge; a small gathering place in the middle of the Nordic recreation area. The lodge hosts weekly events and contains a café restaurant where snowshoers can take a warming break.
What are your favorite outdoor adventures in Vancouver? Let me know in the comments below.