We spent two weeks in the Lynn Valley area, hitting a lot of the top photo spots in Vancouver and exploring many of the amazing hiking trails in North Vancouver, one of the most natural sections of one of Canada’s nicest cities. The main reason we chose that particular neighbourhood was its close proximity to all the excellent Lynn Valley trails and we certainly weren’t disappointed. We had plenty of easy North Vancouver hikes within walking distance, plus quite a few more just a short drive away. It is worth mentioning that we were there in February, so many of the trails were quite muddy and a few even had snow. However, all the hikes listed here were very manageable (even after a surprising snowstorm) and would only be easier and more scenic if you happen to visit in summer. And if you don’t mind driving a little farther out of the city or are heading east anyway, be sure to stop off near Chilliwack to check out the unique Teapot Hill hike. Or, for our choice for the best hike in the area (though definitely not “easy”), you should head up to Squamish to tackle the three peaks of the Chief hike, or for another excellent view on a much easier hike, try Tunnel Bluffs from Lions Bay, both of which can be found on our extensive list of 22 Best Squamish Hikes.
While this list is far from definitive, it should provide a pretty good selection if you are looking for pleasant, scenic hikes in the 1-3-hour range with low to moderate elevation changes. The figures listed under each hike are the total distance (there and back if it isn’t a loop hike), a conservative amount of time it should take to complete, and the total elevation gain. The link will take you to the AllTrails app, a useful site that provides details, maps, reviews and GPS tracks.
North Vancouver Hiking Map
This is a beautiful area, full of giant, looming trees, an endlessly photogenic canyon/creek that alternates between narrow rapids and calm swimming pools. It is a popular hiking area for the forest atmosphere, several outstanding bridges, a few nice waterfalls, plus 30-foot, 60-foot and 90-foot ponds. These crystal clear sections are popular with swimmers in summer but are pretty impressive to look at any time of year.
Unfortunately, the main Lynn Creek suspension bridge was closed when we visited but there were other bridges open to both the north and south so it was no problem completing a loop. You’ll want to check on the latest status before you go to determine the exact route you want to do. All of the Lynn Valley trails are well-maintained but have occasional sections of roots and mud. One of the best parts of Lynn Valley was the ability to mix and match different trails to find the perfect fit of distance, difficulty and scenery.
1. Lynn Canyon Loop
2.7 km / 1 hr / 150m
2. Lower Lynn Loop Trail
5.5 km / 2 hrs / 190m
3. Rice Lake Loop
2.7 km / 1 hr / 20m
A very easy stroll around scenic Rice Lake, after getting some nice views from the bridge over Rice Creek. Popular on weekends.
4. Twin Falls Bridge and Fisherman’s via Homestead Loop Trail
4.7 km / 1.5 hrs / 115m
5. Baden Powell, Twin Falls Bridge and Fisherman’s Trail Loop
6 km / 2 hrs / 200m
6. Quarry Rock Lookout
4.5 km / 1.5 hrs / 200m
This hike is all downhill through some huge trees until you reach the impressive Quarry Rock Lookout. But even though the views get all the attention, we actually really enjoyed the early part of the trail, just below the road. Filled with monster trees, small waterfalls and classic wooden bridges. And on a cold morning many of the waterfalls were decorated with shiny icicles. There are also a couple other ways to get to this viewpoint (including from the town of Deep Cove) but you would miss out on this underrated portion of the trail.
One of the most famous parks in the Vancouver area, Capilano Canyon features looming dams, rushing streams and cascading waterfalls. All along the canyon there are exceptional viewpoints and spots where you can scramble down for a closer look at the rapids, falls and gorges. The hiking trails are free but if you also want to experience the world-famous Capilano Suspension Bridge tickets are $55/$50/$30/$19/free per adult/senior/youth (13-16)/child (6-13)/ kiddie (under 6). Family passes go for $115 (up to 4 people age 6 and up). Along with entrance to the suspension bridge, your ticket also gets you onto the 7 spectacular treetop bridges and the exhilarating cliffwalk, plus plenty of historical displays and Capilano stories.
7. Capilano Canyon and Cleveland Dam Loop
2.9 km / 1 hr / 130m
8. Capilano Pacific Trail
8.4 km / 3 hrs / 315m
Easy Trails Near North Vancouver
9. Stanley Park Seawall Trail Loop
9.3 km / 2.5 hrs / 70m
This paved multi-use path is one of the most scenic walks in Vancouver. If you are doing the entire loop you can start at any of the parking areas, or if you only want to do part of it the best views are on the west side between Prospect Point and Ferguson Point. We biked the full circuit but walking would have probably been more enjoyable (considering it was -4C plus bike wind).
10. Maple, Valley and Shore Pine Trail Loop
3.9 km / 1.5 hrs / 185m
This varied, scenic trail has a good mix of deep forest, big trees, ocean views and a very nice lighthouse (Atkinson Point). There are quite a few variations on this little peninsula to let you customize your hike to spend more time along the ocean, more time in the trees, or just make it longer or shorter.
11. Ambleside Centennial Seawalk and Park Royal Loop
9 km / 2.5 hrs / 60m
These two easy walks can be done separately or combined for one longer walk (the statistics above include both). This beautiful area is popular with weekend walkers and the dog park can get busy any day of the week. But the path is easy and varied, with several points of interest along the way and terrific views of Stanley Park, Lion’s Gate Bridge and the ocean the entire time.
12. Eagle Bluffs via Black Mountain Trail
8.2 km / 3 hrs / 435m
This one is only borderline “easy”, considering there is over 400 metres of elevation gain, but we wanted to include it because it was the most impressive hike we did while in North Vancouver (although it is actually located in West Vancouver). Interchangeably called Eagle Bluffs and Eagleridge Bluffs, you start out from the Cypress Mountain ski resort (you need to get a free backcountry tag to be allowed past the ski lifts in winter), climb up and over Black Mountain an eventually reach a spectacular viewpoint looking out over Horseshoe Bay and Bowen Island. We hiked it after a large snowfall and the massive drifts and snow-covered firs were simply incredible. Despite the new snow, the trail is regularly groomed so we wore small crampons and found them to be perfect for the conditions. Most people we saw were using snowshoes but they weren’t really necessary as long as you stayed on the trail. In summer, obviously, the trail would be much different (and less strenuous) but the viewpoint is worth the hike regardless of what you have to do to get there.
Not technically in North Vancouver, pretty little Bowen Island is still just a 20-minute ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay and it boasts an impressive collection of different hikes. From strenuous summit hikes to easy lake strolls, here you can read up on the 10 best hikes on Bowen Island.
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