When you’re seeking out a well-rounded hiking destination, you can’t do a whole lot better than Vancouver. The surrounding area has hikes for novices and experts alike, and the various peaks near the city offer views that showcase the stunning natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Furthermore, it’s not a bad place to spend the evenings once you’re actually through hiking. That’s not something people always consider when looking for outdoor getaways, but in Vancouver, the combination of great hikes, cozy places to stay, and evening activities is about as good as it gets.
Vancouver is right on the Pacific Coast of British Columbia, which means stunning views both inland and out over the sea. As mentioned, the area provides something for every level, from beginners to experts. And provided you stick to the safest and most popular hiking season (basically late spring through early fall), you should essentially be comfortable taking things at whatever pace you prefer.
One of the easier hikes to try if you’re a beginner or you’re traveling with less experienced outdoorsmen is Dog Mountain in Seymour Provincial Park. It’s only about a two-hour trek (roughly 4.5km), and starts at the Mt. Seymour Ski Resort. There’s a lake along the trail, and you may see some friendly dogs while you’re out as well (though people are required to keep their dogs leashed).
For a medium-level trail, try the Ten Views Trail, or Diez Vistas, near Buntzen Lake. One of the most popular hikes in the Vancouver area, this four- or five-hour trek covers about nine miles. And its name – “Ten Views” – refers to ten breathtaking views one experiences around the perimeter of Buntzen Lake.
If more challenging hikes are more your speed, you might want to check out The Lions, a seven-hour hike that covers around the same distance as Diez Vistas, but includes more than 1,000 feet of elevation change. The “Lions” that the name refers to are twin peaks in the Vancouver area. The hike is best accessed via a parking lot at Lion’s Bay, though this can fill up with others out looking for a physical challenge, so it’s recommended you get there early in the day to get a spot (and to allow for an all-day excursion!).
These are some of the best hikes in the area, covering all different levels of expertise. However, there are many more options, so if you’re aiming for a longer trip, have no fear: There’ll be a fresh trail for every day you spend in Vancouver.
Where to Stay
Unless you’re looking specifically for a camping outing, you can always appreciate a comfortable place to rest your head at night after a long day on the trails. If you’re day trekking to the peaks and coming back to the city at night, then an iconic hotel like Wedgewood Hotel and Spa is perfect. It’s known for terrific service, and you’ll feel as comfortable as you can be among the luxurious accommodations. It’s also close to some excellent areas for shopping and eating out, meaning you can get a bit of a feel for the Vancouver area.
The River Rock Casino Resort is another great option for lodging, just south of Vancouver. One of the great remaining live alternatives to Canada’s online slot games and casino sites, it’s a gorgeous resort complete with a full range of gaming options. From slots to table games you’ll have lots of casual ways to entertain yourself without having to go anywhere on your tired legs. And as for comforts, the resort has lovely beds, great views of the harbor, and in-house dining options that will be a treat.
What To Do At Night
Besides the shopping and casino options alluded to above, Vancouver proper offers some fantastic nightlife diversions if you have the energy to go out in the evening. If you want to stay focused on activity during your vacation, you can always aim for a late-afternoon or evening yoga class that will help you stretch your sore muscles. Or, if you want to get an arm workout to balance things out after a long day of hiking, you can look into some sunset kayaking on the water.
If you’re more interested in heading out for a drink to get a feel for the town, there are plenty of bars and pubs to check out. Pub 340 Pinball Arcade has games to play while you drink, or you can just stroll down Main Street to see what sort of place appeals to you when you see it. There is no shortage of good places for a drink and a bite to eat around Vancouver.
Hopefully, this gives you a sense of why Vancouver – even beyond the hikes themselves – is a great place for this sort of trip. Mixing hiking with this sort of high-end leisure and low-key relaxation can make for an ideal getaway.