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Vancouver is one of the prettiest and most natural big cities in Canada and North Vancouver is probably has the most natural areas of any neighbourhood. Which is why it is our first choice when visiting the west coast. Over the course of several visits we have tried many of the best easy hikes in North Vancouver.
Along with enjoying most of the glorious natural areas and checking out several of the top photo spots in Vancouver, we always spend much of our time checking out new North Vancouver trails. That is the main reason we normally choose to stay near the Lynn Valley trails, to have plenty of easy Vancouver hikes within walking distance, plus quite a few more just a short drive away.
Most of these easy hikes in North Vancouver can be done any time of year, although in winter you may have to deal with a bit of snow and mud. With proper footwear, though, experienced hikers should have no problem on these North Vancouver trails even when the weather isn’t great.
While this list is far from definitive, it should provide a pretty good selection of easy hikes in North Vancouver 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.
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 and several outstanding bridges, including the spectacular Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge. There are also 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.
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
This is the bare bones loop, hitting the most popular bridges and a few of the most interesting ponds. Considering how short it is, there are a surprising number of hills. It is almost constantly going up and down, although never overly steeply. Some spots could get a bit slippery in the rain, though.
2. Lower Lynn Loop Trail
5.5 km / 2 hrs / 190m
This one is a bit longer and flatter. Even though there is slightly more total elevation gain than the Lynn Canyon Loop it is spread out over a much longer distance. A good chunk of the trail is a nice, smooth gravel path along the river.
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. It is very popular on weekends but you can avoid the crowds by venturing off onto any of the spur trails leading off to other hikes on this list.
4. Twin Falls Bridge and Fisherman’s via Homestead Loop Trail
4.7 km / 1.5 hrs / 115m
The shortest option if you just want to come in and see the best waterfalls and pools without spending a bunch of time wandering through the woods. There are plenty of excellent viewpoints right from the little bridges and in some spots you can clamber down to the rocks. Just be careful and don’t attempt any of the steep spots after a rain.
5. Baden Powell, Twin Falls Bridge and Fisherman’s Trail Loop
6 km / 2 hrs / 200m
This impressively varied trail takes you farther over away from Lynn Creek to the equally scenic Seymour River. The banks aren’t as steep and the trail is flatter but the deep forest scenery getting to and from the area is outstanding. And you get to see the Twin Bridges.
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 $66/$61/$38/$28/free per adult/senior/youth (13-16)/child (6-13)/ kiddie (under 6) with slight discounts if you buy your tickets online in advance.
BC residents pay the same price but are allowed to visit as many times as they want for an entire year. Which is a pretty great deal if you want to see the bridge in different seasons and under different conditions.
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
As you can see, we hiked this trail on a beautiful, snowy day in February. While it made the trail marginally more slippery, it never felt treacherous anywhere and it certainly added a fascinating look to the whole area. No matter when you go, though, this is a truly stunning canyon with amazing views around the dam and farther down among the rocks and small rapids and waterfalls.
8. Capilano Pacific Trail
8.4 km / 3 hrs / 315m
This is the big version for those who want to hit all the Capilano highlights. Covering most of the same ground as the canyon loop but adding on a lot more old growth scenery and taking you all the way down to – and past – the Capilano Suspension Bridge, the Pacific Trail is one of the best trails in Vancouver, period.
Easy Trails Near North Vancouver
If you have a vehicle and are willing to venture a little bit outside North Vancouver you can find several more easy hikes to stretch your legs and enjoy terrific views.
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.
North Vancouver Hiking Map
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Other Activities Near North Vancouver
If you are looking to mix it up, there are plenty of other great things to do around North Vancouver.
More Hikes Near Vancouver
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.
Not technically in North Vancouver, pretty little Bowen Island is still just a 20-minute ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay. Beautiful Snug Cove, plenty of cute shops, excellent beaches and a very laid-back vibe. Of course, it also boasts an impressive collection of different hikes. From strenuous summit hikes to easy lake strolls, here you can read up on the best hikes on Bowen Island.
Whale Watching Tour
One of the most iconic and memorable Vancouver activities is a whale watching tour in the Salish Sea. Head out on a 5-hour tour on a comfortable 3-tiered boat with multiple viewing areas. As you cruise through the beautiful Gulf Islands you will have the opportunity to spot a variety of whales, other marine animals a lot of seabirds. Whale sightings are guaranteed and the scenery is simply phenomenal.
Rafting on the Cheakamus River
Give your legs a rest and experience a mostly gentle float and fabulous mountain scenery at the same time with the occasional bumpy ride through the rapids of the Cheakamus River near Squamish. Even though there are plenty of fun sections, this is not a technical whitewater trip, so it is perfect for families and people looking for all different adventure levels.
Trip Planning Resources
Here is a list of the most important resources we use when planning our travels, all in one convenient spot. Full disclosure, when you use any of these links to reserve or sign up for something, we receive a small commission which is greatly appreciated. However, your price does not change and we have only included products and websites that we can honestly recommend.
- For checking out flights we usually find that SkyScanner is the fastest and most accurate site.
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Easy Hikes in North Vancouver Summary
There is a reason that Vancouver is such a popular city for outdoor lovers. Besides the incredible coastal scenery and city greenery in places like Stanley Park, there is also a wide range of excellent hiking very close to downtown. And with three separate mountains, numerous gorges and fantastic scenery, the North Vancouver trails are some of the most iconic in all of BC.
Whether you are looking for intense workouts like the Grouse Grind or are happy with shorter, less strenuous easy hikes in North Vancouver like those in this list, a visit to the area is bound to be exceptional.
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