hikes in North Shore
Hiking on Vancouver’s North Shore is incredible. Spanning North Vancouver and West Vancouver, it doesn’t get much better than hiking in Vancouver’s North Shore.
The North Shore is all mountains, meaning just about any trail will get your blood pumping. Hiking on the North Shore is a great way to get outdoors without a long drive from Vancouver.
From hikes in North Vancouver you can marvel at views of downtown Vancouver, Vancouver Harbour and the Indian Arm. Venture further west on the North Shore and you will be hiking in West Vancouver, with incredible views of Burrard Inlet and Howe Sound.
The scenery changes drastically as you explore different parts of the North Shore, from alpine forests to crystal-clear lakes, to craggy mountain peaks. The stunning backcountry offers mesmerizing views from three main mountains: Cypress, Seymour and Grouse. With a huge network of trails, hikers alike will find something here, with ski trails to trek in the winter and beautiful, forest lined hills in the summer.
Those who dare will be rewarded with unparalleled views on the multiple summits crossing the Howe Sound Crest trail, while Norvan Falls offers a magical waterfall at the height of the path, and for the little ones, Capilano River Regional Park is sure to delight with canyon views and old-growth trees.
The Top 10 North Shore Hikes
These ten epic hikes in the North Shore bring some of the best hikes in North Vancouver and West Vancouver. These hikes mix family-friendly walks with remote, rigorous treks that you can stretch over two days to complete. But regardless of time or fitness level, hikers will be blown away by the rolling hills, wildflower meadows, pristine lakes and of course, jaw-dropping mountain peaks that won’t soon be forgotten. Better yet, with so many options, the North Shore remains a destination to be visited over and over again. Below are the 10 best hikes in Vancouver’s North Shore:
- Howe Sound Crest Trail: This is a legendary hike and a must-do for all experienced hikers. Be warned, this trail is incredibly challenging, but also highly rewarding with multiple summit views and fun, backcountry camping spots.
- Norvan Falls: Set out on this year-round trail for an easy hike at a lower elevation than most spots in the North Shore. This spot is especially popular for dog-walkers and leads to a scenic waterfall.
- Crown Mountain: Next to Howe Sound, this is one of the most difficult hikes on the North Shore, leads to a pointed summit. This one is also for experienced hikers only, but those who are fit enough will be rewarded with incredible summit views of the North Shore Mountains.
- Mount Seymour: This hike is easy to access from the many ski-resorts located around the trail. Delight in several viewpoints on the way to the upper summit, or feel free to turn back sooner knowing you already took in incredible views.
- Hanes Valley: If you are a serious trail runner, this can be completed in a loop, or for most hikers, this is as a point-to-point hike. Scramble over big rocks and steep canyons in the Hanes Valley, then carry onward to Grouse Mountain Resort.
- Capilano River Regional Park: This central park trail has something for everyone. There are numerous, paths throughout the park so you can make the hike as short or as long as you wish. It's a great place for kids, and has a huge dam, salmon hatchery, and several old-growth trees.
- Mount Strachan: This is another difficult hike offering terrific views and also an interesting historical monument for an airplane wreck for the Royal Canadian Navy T-33 Jet, which crashed in 1963.
- Whytecliff Park: This park has some nice short walking trails, perfect for families to enjoy trails along the beach. The BC Ferries vessels can be seen coming and leaving Horseshoe Bay, and wildlife can also be spotted, including seals and if extremely lucky, even orcas.
- Coliseum Mountain: Embark on a full-day hike at Coliseum Mountain, where at the summit hikers will find panoramic, 360-degree views. This is an extension from Norvan Falls, for hikers looking for an extra challenge.
- Dog Mountain: This is another popular hike in Mount Seymour Provincial Park. The trail is technical, but doesn’t have much elevation gain. It makes a great place for an after-work hike.
When is the best time to hike in the North Shore?
A large amount of the trails within the North Shore can be completed all-year-round, but some are season dependent. Since some areas are covered by large mountain summits, the parks might not see much sunlight—meaning rain and snow can stick to the ground much longer than usual. For that reason, early summer to late fall is the best time for most hikes within the North Shore. The ground is typically less muddy, with drier terrain to make for easier and safer hiking.
How to plan a trip to the North Shore?
Not sure where to start on planning your trip to the North Shore? No sweat, we have a full guide on planning your trip to the North Shore outlining all our insider secrets, like how to get here, where to stay, and the best food and drinks in the area.
Frequently Asked Questions about the North Shore
Are there a lot of bears in the North Shore area?
To be honest, yes, there are bears in the North Shore area. Hikers should always be prepared and well-versed on dealing with bears before setting out on a hike. It is important to give a bear space and do not run! Use a bear spray if it approaches and never turn your back.
Which trail is the hardest to complete in the North Shore?
There are multiple challenging hikes in the North Shore area, but completing the entire Howe Sound Crest Trail is definitely the hardest hike. But it crosses multiple summits and you won’t find better views over all of Vancouver than on this trail.Read More
The best hikes in North Shore
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