Top 5 Vancouver Area Hiking Trails - Garibaldi General
British Columbia boasts some of the best hiking terrain on the planet. We might be biased of course, but our license plates do say "The Best Place on Earth" for a reason. In order to give you a taste of our home province, we thought we would put together our list of the top five hiking trails within 3 hours of Vancouver (in no particular order).
1. Garibaldi Lake / Panorama Ridge / Black Tusk
Located about an hour and a half drive north of Vancouver along the Sea-to-Sky highway, you will find spectacular Garibaldi Provincial Park. Pick a nice summer day, and depending how adventurous you are, you can choose to hike to the gorgeous crystal blue glacier-fed Garibaldi Lake which is about 18km (11 miles) return trip, or for a longer hike, head on up to Black Tusk (the namesake of one of our watches) or Panorama Ridge - both of which offer stunning views of the lake and the surrounding mountains. If you choose to do the longer hikes, an overnight stay at either Garibaldi Lake campground or Taylor Meadows campground is highly recommended.
More info: Outdoor Vancouver - Garibaldi Lake
2. Joffre Lakes
Joffre Lakes may be a bit further away at 3 hours from Vancouver, but it is well worth it. Made up of a series of three lakes (aptly named "Lower Joffre Lake, "Middle Joffre Lake" and "Upper Joffre Lake"), each one is more stunning than the next. The first lake is not far from the parking lot, but the second and third are nestled way up in the mountains, letting you really feel the majesty and splendor of it all. The crystal clear water is a favorite swimming hole for locals in the summer, but beware - it is glacier-fed, and that means cold! Allow 4-5 hours round trip hiking time.
More info: Vancouver Trails
3. Eagle Bluffs
Less than a 30 minute drive from Vancouver, Eagle Bluffs is a local favorite and often considered one of the best viewpoints on the North Shore. The moderate trail ascends quickly up Black Mountain from the Cypress Bowl parking lot (which also happens to be a pretty awesome local ski hill, more on that in another post), and passes a number of great little lakes. Be sure to bring your swimsuit, in the height of summer Cabin Lake is very popular for a quick cool-off session along the way. After a couple of hours of hiking, you will arrive suddenly at Eagle Bluffs, and be treated to a spectacular view of Howe Sound, Bowen Island, West Vancouver and Vancouver - all at once. It needs to be experienced to understand the majesty of the view from the top. Allow 4 hours hiking time, plus swimming if you choose to do so.
More info: Outdoor Vancouver
4. Norvan Falls
Norvan Falls is a must-see on the North Shore, and just happens to be a pretty incredible hike located only 30 minutes from downtown Vancouver. Nestled in the Lynn Valley between Mount Seymour on the East side, and Mount Fromme (Grouse Mountain) on the West side, it is an easy escape from the city that allows you to feel like you are in true wilderness. The roughly 4 hour return trip will take you through glistening green rainforests, across humble wooden bridges and creeks, and lead you to the beautiful thundering Norvan Falls at the end of the journey. It is well worth the 7km each way, and you will no doubt feel a sense of peace when you arrive at this spectacular display of British Columbia's natural beauty.
More info: The Outbound
5. Stawamus Chief
No list of hiking trails near Vancouver is complete without the famous Stawamus Chief. This giant rock face is located just outside of Squamish, British Columbia - about 45 minutes north of Vancouver along the beautiful Sea-to-Sky highway. (Note: On your way to "The Chief", be sure to stop off at Shannon Falls Provincial park for a quick side trail to see the falls, you won't be disappointed!)
The Chief trail itself is rugged, but well worth the climb to the first peak. The view of the surrounding mountains, Howe Sound, and the town of Squamish is one of our favorite views in all of BC. It is Canada's outdoor capital for a reason, and The Chief is an incredible way to experience it's splendor. Allow 2-3 hours return for the first peak, 4-5 hours for the second peak or 5-7 if you plan to hike all the way to the third peak (careful, hiking all the way can be a challenge and has some dangerous drops along the way). Pack your lunch, and enjoy some stunning views!
More info: Explore Squamish
So, there you have it - 5 incredible hiking trails less than 3 hours from Vancouver. Our staff have hiked all of these at one point or another, so if you have any questions, feel free to contact us.
Enjoy and get ready to be inspired by nature (just like our products)!