Grouse Grind Trail
The Grouse Grind Trail is a physically demanding route in North Vancouver that attracts over 150,000 hikers annually. Affectionately known as “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster,” this short 2.9 km hike has an elevation gain of 789 m, meaning you will need to be on top of your strength and endurance game to enjoy the spectacular views from the summit of Grouse Mountain!
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Route Description for Grouse Grind Trail
Although the Grouse Grind is Vancouver’s most used trail, it had an early but relatively slow start in the adventure hiking scene. The first record of hiking in the area dates back to 1894, when a group of hunters shot a blue grouse on the mountain and named it in honour of the bird. The following decades saw an increase in outdoor activity in the area, with the modern route being developed in 1981 by mountaineers looking for a challenging route that would help them build stamina for longer hikes. They definitely succeeded, creating a grueling uphill climb that would become a staple in the Vancouver area to the present day.
The trail begins to the right of the Grouse Grind gondola in a well-marked area generally used by hikers for stretching before their ascent. Heading east, hikers will pass through a gate and over a small bridge before reaching a fork in the trail that marks off the Grouse Grind trailhead.
Turning left at the fork, you will begin your ascent through the first quarter of the Grouse Grind Trail, hiking over rocks and man-made wooden steps before reaching another bridge that spans a small, dried up creek bed. After a few hundred meters, you will see a sign marking your completion of the first quarter of the trail.
As the tree canopy is quite thick along the trail and does not offer any viewpoints for hikers, each quarter of the Grouse Grind is clearly marked with a blue and white sign to help determine how far along the trail you are. Be mindful of other hikers as the trail is highly trafficked, and many people might be speeding past to beat their own personal best time!
From here, the trail continues to wind uphill through the forest and over more wooden steps. The second and third quarters are the most challenging sections of the entire trail, as they extend over some rocky stretches, and the trail is the steepest in these areas. The fourth quarter is slightly less steep, although the wooden steps are fairly large in some areas and require more effort to climb as you make the final push to the summit.
After trudging up this last quarter of the Grouse Grind Trail, hikers will undoubtedly feel a great sense of satisfaction, earning the right to say they have completed “The Grind”. The real reward, however, is the stunning view of Vancouver and the surrounding area.
After taking in the scenery and exploring the summit, head into the Grouse Mountain Chalet to relax with a drink, or to buy your gondola ticket to return to the base of the mountain. Alternatively, hikers can follow the BCMC trail down from the summit for 2.9 km to return to the Grouse Mountain Gondola.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to hike Grouse Grind?
The average time to climb the Grouse Grind is 1.5 hours.
What is the fastest completion time for the Grouse Grind?
The record for the fastest completion of the Grouse Grind is held by Sebastian Salas, with a time of 23:48.
Can you go down the Grouse Grind?
Climbing the Grouse Grind is free; however, you cannot hike down the trail due to high traffic. You can purchase a gondola ticket for $15 on weekdays and $20 on weekends and holidays.
Insider Hints for Grouse Grind Trail
- Although hiking the trail is free, due to high traffic, descending the Grouse Grind Trail is not permitted, so hikers will need to either purchase a gondola ticket ($15 on weekdays/$20 on weekends) or descend on the BCMC trail for their return journey.
- Make sure to utilize the toilet facilities at the gondola, as there are none along the hiking trail.
- As the hike is strenuous, bring enough high energy snacks and at least 1L of water to keep your body fuelled.
- Although it is not a long trail, ensure that you wear proper, sturdy hiking footwear, as the route is very steep.
- Wear clothing that is appropriate for the day’s conditions. Keep in mind that weather conditions can be 10º cooler at the top of the mountain than at the bottom.
- This trail is not accessible in the winter, as ice and snow make the conditions on the steep trail too dangerous. Check MetroVancouver.org for trail openings and closures.
Getting to the Grouse Grind Trail Trailhead
To get to the Grouse Grind Trailhead from Vancouver, take Highway 1 West across Ironworkers Memorial Bridge to North Vancouver. Taking the exit for Capilano Road, turn right and follow Capilano Road for 4.5 km until you reach the Grouse Mountain parking lot.
To reach Grouse Mountain by transit from downtown Vancouver, take the sea bus over to North Vancouver and transfer at Lonsdale Quay bus loop onto bus #236 Grouse Mountain
Grouse Grind Trail Elevation Graph
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Grouse Grind Trail Reviews
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