11 Best Hikes Near Vancouver for Families (From Easy to Challenging)

Published May 29, 2019

In Vancouver we are so lucky to have amazing hiking trails and walking paths right at our own back door. Here's 11 of our favourite hikes to do as a family, ranging from beginner to more advanced climbs. Go enjoy the great outdoors.

One of my favourite things about Vancouver is that you don't have to sacrifice nature to live the city life. 

We are surrounded by natural beauty whether it be the many parks and beaches right in the city or the scenic views, waterfalls, and quiet forests not far away. How truly lucky we are!

This summer, spend time as a family getting active and trying out a new hike. Whether you and your kids are new to this, or ready to tackle a mountain, we've got something on this list for everyone.

From the easy and flat hikes to the more challenging climbs, here are are 11 favourite hikes near Vancouver.

1. Lighthouse Park

In West Van, this hike offers stunning views, wildlife, old trees, and easy trails! Only 20 minutes from where you park is a lighthouse which makes for a fun destination, but you can continue on to more sights too. A perfect concoction for hiking with the kids. You can also catch an amazing sunset from here.

2. Stanley Park

It goes without saying that there is almost nothing we like more than strolling along the seawall in Stanley Park. There is a really a reason why this is the pride and joy of Van City, even though you're still in the heart of the city you feel like you've escaped to nature!

3. Pacific Spirit Regional Park

Photo Credit: Flickr

With many different hiking trails to choose from, they range from easy to difficult, so you can tailor your hike accordingly. A great option for beginners is the Huckleberry Trail.

4. University of British Columbia

No we are not suggesting you take your kids to a frat party. In fact, UBC is actually a great place to bring your family for a walk or bike ride. The University grounds are huge. There are big roads, sidewalks and trails so the choice is up to you where to take your family. The best time to go biking is on the weekend when the roads aren’t as busy.

5. Deer Lake

In Burnaby is a easy, flat stroll around Deer Lake Park with 5km of trails. Apart from the beautiful scenery and wildlife you might encounter, what you'll love about it is the small beach area and playground to stop at along the way with little ones.

If you're looking to increase the sweat-factor but still keep it do-able for beginners, we have our more moderate hikes here. Whether that means longer or steeper, we guarantee they are worth the effort.

6. Deep Cove Lookout

Slightly more challenging than the others, however still a relatively easy hike. About 4km roundtrip, so make sure this is something your kids would be comfortable with! Crossing the creek bridges is fun for the kids, and the lookout is definitely impressive.

7. Norvan Falls

This trail is mostly flat, but becomes a little more challenging for its length. Located in North Van is this 14km loop that has a delightful small waterfall that kids will love! There is ample parking and washrooms available at the parking lot.

8. Dog Mountain

Photo Credit: Ruth Hartup on Flickr

For the slight increase in difficulty level, the views here are well worth the effort! Though there's a lot more elevation gain than the ones mentioned so far, it's still a fairly short hike up Mt Seymour, but it boasts spectacular views of Vancouver on a clear day.

If you and your family are willing to put in some longer hours, we highly suggest these more challenging hikes. The views speak for themselves.

9. St. Mark's Summit

Beginning from Cypress parking lot you can access this hike for on of the most impressive views of Howe Sound. It's 11km round trip with a fair amount of elevation gain, so you'll want to pack lunch and plenty of water for this one.

10. Grouse Grind

If you have older children who love the outdoors and aren’t afraid of a little (and by a little we mean a lot) of activity we suggest hiking up the Grouse Grind. The actual hike is free and the views are absolutely incredible from the top. If you are too tired there is also a gondola that for a small price can take you for a ride down.

11. Garibaldi Lake

Do we really have to say anything? The photo speaks for itself! While Garibaldi Provincial Park is a bit of a further drive, we think it's worth the 1.5 hour road trip. This glacier-fed lake (hence why it's so crystal clear blue/turquoise) sits 1450 metres above sea level and is surrounded by mountains, meadows, and even volcanic outcrops. While at 18km round trip it's certainly the most challenging of the hikes mentioned so far, they do offer camping sites so you don't have to get there and do it all in a day before coming home, make a weekend of it!

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