The warmer summer days are fast approaching, making it possible for us to ditch the couch and spend more time in the great outdoors. Sure, you can opt for a relaxing outdoor patio , but there’s nothing more fulfilling than going for a walk or hike, especially for those craving the nature-filled experience that Vancouver is so famous for. With lush green forests and turquoise blue basins, you are sure to enjoy your day while breathing in reviving scents of the great outdoors. What would hiking really be, though, without the perfect Insta-worthy proof that you're so wonderfully active and energetic? Maybe it's just us, but we've seen a lot of hiking profile pictures gracing Tinder lately. Try out these suggestions and see just how much Vancouver's scenic shots can do for you...
The Sea to Sky Summit hiking trail is recommended for the intermediate and more advanced hikers. The best time to plan a trip to Squamish is late Spring until the end of September, just before the stubborn rain clouds roll in. The terrain itself is a steady uphill through the lush greenery, with surprising spots of spectacular views overlooking the Pemberton Valley. The trail begins at the lower sections of Stewamus Chief and Shannon Falls Provincial Park, giving you the opportunity to experience the waterfalls close at hand. The trail itself is a consistent hike through rough and rocky terrain, and the use of ropes and ladders is used to climb the steepest parts of the hike. Packing light is the key, and bringing enough water to last and keep you hydrated is strongly advised. For safety reasons, hiking down is not recommended. For $10 a ticket, riding down in a gondola will be equally enjoyable while you catch your breath.
Just over an hour drive from downtown Vancouver, Joffre Lake is one of those places that you just have to visit at least once. From beginner to more advanced hikers it makes for a day hike that’s to be remembered for a lifetime, with several steeper sections that offer a challenge. The reward for all the hard work through rocky terrain is, of course, the three stunning lakes . The Lower, Middle and Upper Lakes are filled with turquoise water fed by the glacial rivers allowing you to feast your eyes on the blue hues. Fishing and even overnight camping is allowed at Middle and Upper Lakes, and a charge of $5 will be in effect from June 1st to September 30th. The hike is pet friendly, although keep in mind they do need to be leashed. Most of the hike is through tall evergreen trees with views of mountains, with jagged snow covered peaks and rushing streams along the trail. Proper footwear and a sufficient amount of water and snacks to maintain energy levels is recommended.
If you don’t have time for a full day of adventures, Buntzen Lake is a relatively easier hike that can be done in half a day. With an elevation of 110m, it doesn’t require much expert knowledge and high fitness levels to complete the trail. The trail loops along the circumference of Buntzen Lake, hiking through mature forests and crossing several bridges along the way. The key to coming here is arriving early, as parking can fill up fast.
One of the more advanced hikes recommended is the Golden Ears Hike . Totalling 24km roundtrip, it requires more than a good pair of hiking boots and a few litres of water. Suggested for those more advanced hikers, endurance and good muscle is required to complete the adventure. The terrain is mostly rocky and the elevation increases past the midway point of the trail. Although mostly in tree cover, you will get to enjoy the beautiful views of nearing mountains and the surrounding wilderness. Plan ahead to give yourself enough time, as the park gates open at 7am and close at 11pm.
A little farther out and an approximate hour drive from downtown Vancouver is Elk Mountain . Located in Chilliwack, the viewpoint offers spectacular views of Cultus Lake, the Fraser Valley and Mount Baker in the United States. The hike is a steady incline through the forested area, and the last little bit is the steepest with an incline of about 35 degrees. Though testing, don’t give up until you get to take in the breathtaking views it has to offer. The best time to visit is May to October, and the hike is recommended for intermediate hikers as the trail can be quite steep at times. Bring enough water and food to keep you energized, and proper hiking boots are advised.