5 winter hikes with the best view in Vancouver and surrounding areas
Vancouver was recently ranked the 2nd most bike-friendly city in Canada, but once winter hits the west coast gem’s hiking trails seamlessly replace its bike paths as one of its main draws for both tourists and locals alike. Due to the city’s plethora of magical mountains and accessible peaks, many of these hikes offer breathtaking views that are a worthy reward for the effort exerted on the way up. Not all views were created equal, however, so here are the top 5 winter hikes with the best view.
5. Quarry Rock (North Vancouver)
Okay, so this is more of a glorified walk than a hike, but it definitely deserves to be included on the list for anyone looking for a relaxing Vancouver hike this winter without the rigour required for some of the list’s other destinations. Quarry Rock is a 3.8 km jaunt through the woods in North Vancouver complete with treetop views. If possible, this hike is best done during the week to avoid the masses who treck to Deep Cove for the ocean views on weekends.
4. Dog Mountain Snowshoe Trail (North Vancouver)
For the leisurely hiker, Dog Mountain offers the spectacular view of some of the others on this list but with much less difficulty. This 5 km hike with minimal elevation gain has packed snow in the winter, making it perfect for snowshoers looking to explore the backcountry and enjoy some of British Columbia’s birds and unique plant life. The view from the top is epic. Many of the city’s mountains are covered in snow and provide a beautiful backdrop for downtown Vancouver and surrounding areas.
3. Goat Mountain (North Vancouver)
Since Grouse Mountain’s legendary Grouse Grind hike is closed for the winter due to dangerous conditions, many hikers head to Goat Mountain as an alternative with an equally impressive viewpoint. This 8 km hike begins at the top of the mountain’s ski area and concludes at the top of Goat Mountain, offering picturesque views as far as the eye can see, from Vancouver Island to Mount Baker. This hike is best done on a clear day as the view can be obstructed by fog on days with heavy precipitation.
2. The Stawamus Chief (Squamish)
If you’re a hiking enthusiast and have spent time in Vancouver, you’re likely familiar with “The Chief.” This hike is stuff of legends for Vancouverites and offers three different peaks from where you can observe the endless sea and mountains that straddle Squamish and its surrounding areas. The roundtrip version of this hike is not for the faint of heart with a distance of over 11 km and varying degrees of incline. The hike takes on average 6 hours to complete.
1. Garibaldi Lake (Squamish)
This is the only hike on this list with views that look like they were taken from an angelic Lawren Harris painting. The Garibaldi Lake trail is an 18.8 km hike including 820 m of elevation gain, but the energy applied is well worth it once you reach the top. From the glacial lakeside views to the snow-kissed ridges along the way, the hike is not only visually stunning at its conclusion but throughout its entirety. You may not be able to do the victory swim associated with the summer version of the hike, but the stunning winterscape will more than make up for the trade-off.