We all know that hiking & magic mushrooms go together like peanut butter and jelly; those Canadians who live in and around Vancouver are especially blessed with some of the most amazing, gorgeous, and secluded hikes in super close proximity to the city! We’ve selected hikes in Vancouver proper as well as in some of the surrounding cities (but still within the Lower Mainland.)
Without further adieu, here’s the list!
1. Stanley Park – Lighthouse Loop
Within minutes of leaving downtown Vancouver, head towards the sea (west) and you will find a perfect place to hike amongst the trees and pick some magic mushrooms. This trail is located in Stanley Park, which is an extremely popular location for runners, walkers, cyclists and tourists.
The loop is about nine kilometers (or five miles) and is an easy hike, with enough uphills to get your heart pumping and downhills for a fast pace. The scenery in this park is absolutely beautiful: it has a lighthouse, gorgeous trees and flowers in the summertime and even a large pond that you can fish in (if you’re of age, and have a fishing licence). You’ll be able to find many quiet spots along this trail for camping and mushroom picking.
If you’re interested in seeing wildlife, Stanley Park is the best place to be. It houses bears, coyotes, raccoons and seagulls (to name a few). Viewing these creatures can be tricky – they don’t like people too close by – but it’s possible if you’re willing to hike quietly and spend some time at the park.
For lunch, there are many nearby restaurants like The Sandbar (seen on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives), which has great seafood. If you don’t feel like leaving the park for some nourishment, head to one of the smaller beaches along Lighthouse Loop or Second Beach. Both offer excellent spots to eat your lunch while enjoying the view.
On average, it takes about 2-3 hours to complete this loop (longer if you’re not used to long hikes). Hike at your own pace and enjoy nature in one of Vancouver’s most beautiful locations.
2. Garden City Lands – Quarry Trail
This trail is also within minutes from downtown Vancouver. Head towards the sea (west) and go for a run. This park has a ton of forest, and if you keep going deeper into the woods, you will find more mushrooms.
The Quarry Trail is located next to the Gastown steam clock, so remember to check out that landmark on your way through!
If you are really interested in finding some mushrooms, head out here early in the morning. This park is very popular with joggers and dog-walkers, but if you get there early enough, you will be able to see some of the park’s natural inhabitants.
The trail has several sections that form loops (yellow, green, and orange). If it is your first time hiking this trail, keep in mind that you’ll need to complete at least two loops for a full run.
Afterwards, stop by one of the many cafes or restaurants nearby, and refuel.
The trail ends at a small open area with seating along the edges. This is a perfect place to read a book or have a picnic on a sunny day.
Be aware that this trail can get very muddy during wet weather, so wear appropriate footwear. Also, even though there are several water fountains along the trail, it would be wise to bring your own water bottle.
If you are looking for something a little less strenuous, or if you want to take in the greenery while stretching your legs, The Quarry Trail is perfect for that!
3. Deadman’s Island – North Bluff Trail
North Bluff Trail is one of the most beautiful hiking trails I have ever been on. It starts at Deadman’s Island in Stanley Park near Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada.
The trailhead is just off Pipeline Road behind Siwash Rock not far from the totem poles. From here you will trek through forests for about half an hour until you reach the North Bluff, a large sloping rock with ocean vistas to the north and west. It is a stunning sight.
There are a few places where you can sit down and enjoy the view in complete privacy, so it is ideal for meditation or just spending some time alone contemplating life.
The trail itself is also very interesting. Huge trees tower above you, some more than a thousand years old, and there are many fallen logs that are perfect for sitting on. Wildlife too abounds here; if you keep your eyes open while hiking along you will see chipmunks darting about in the undergrowth, squirrels nimbly climbing trees, and birds of all kinds. You might even see some deer or raccoon tracks along the way.
The only downside is that the trail does not loop back to where you started when you reach the bluff, so you need to retrace your steps when you are done enjoying this phenomenal sight.
4. Burnaby Mountain – Bob’s Hill Trail Loop
Hiking in Burnaby Mountain – Bob’s Hill Trail Loop is a fantastic way to spend the day. The trailhead starts at the north end of Sprott Street, right next to Simon Fraser University. There are several trails within this hike, and it is mainly just a destination for hikers and bikers looking to get away from the city while still being within a one hour drive from Vancouver.
This trail is the least strenuous of all trails in Burnaby Mountain, but there are still some steep uphill sections, and it will take around two hours to complete the loop returning to your starting point. Almost all of this hike is surrounded by trees or shrubs, so you will hardly see any wildlife until you reach the summit. Once you do reach the top, Bob’s Hill is not a flat-top mountain, so expect to see another downhill section before your return to where you begun.
During winter months when there has been a lot of snowfall in Vancouver and surrounding areas, this hike will become covered in snow and ice. It is highly recommended that you do not attempt this trail during those months as the hike becomes very difficult and dangerous without proper equipment.
In good weather, this trail provides a large variety of wildlife including birds, rabbits, deer, chipmunks and squirrels. It is very common to see a few of these animals along your journey. There are also several ponds along the route that are home to frogs, turtles and fish. If you choose to go swimming along your hike there is a small pond just before you reach the summit of Bob’s Hill that will be very refreshing on a hot summer day.
5. Golden Ears Provincial Park – South Trails
Burnaby is a city in British Columbia, Canada. It has about 230,000 people living in the area and is part of Metro Vancouver, with 2.4 million living in that area as a whole. The total land area of Burnaby is 61 square kilometers (23 square miles).
The geography around Burnaby can make for some great hiking, including the South Trails in Golden Ears Provincial Park. The trails are very diverse, ranging from easy to difficult. There are many different ecosystems, each with their own unique wildlife and scenery. Many of the trails at Golden Ears have views over Burrard Inlet and across to the Coast Mountains.
There are more than 20 kilometers of trails across the South end of Golden Ears. The trails are all very well marked, so you can find your way around easily if you are by yourself or with a large group. You should make sure you check out Lake Lovely Water Trail before heading back to civilization.
Some of the wildlife that you can see when hiking in Burnaby Mountain – Golden Ears Provincial Park – South Trails include deer, squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, coyotes, hawks and eagles. Birds such as loons and thrushes can be heard in the woods, and there are salmon in the river.
There are several ways to get to Burnaby Mountain and Golden Ears Park if you live well outside of Vancouver. You could drive or take public transportation, but it may be easier to just catch a ride with someone who lives closer. Keep in mind that trails are open to the public only during the daytime, so you will need to leave before sunset or risk getting locked in for the night.
The South Trails make for some good hiking and offer a range of difficulty levels. You can see many types of wildlife and beautiful scenery along these well-marked trails. Being close to Vancouver, these trails are easy to get to and can make for a great day out.
6. Deep Cove – Baden-Powell Trail Loop
One of the best places to hike in Vancouver is at Deep Cove on the Baden-Powell Trail. This trail has beautiful ocean and mountain scenery, wildlife such as eagles and chipmunks; but most importantly it’s a great opportunity for people who love outdoor adventure sports such as rock climbing, or biking (mountain or road). The best way to get there is by driving north from downtown Vancouver, crossing the Ironworkers bridge and once on the North shore follow the signs for Deep Cove.
Once you get into Deep Cove village head up hill toward Panorama Drive. Follow this main road until you see a gated dirt parking lot on your left hand side, which is the trail head. From here the trail begins with some deep, dark forest that’s beautiful any time of year. Be sure to bring a flashlight in case you get caught out on the trail after sunset; there are no lights out there.
Once you get out of the woods and into the clearing, you will come to Nancy Greene Park – Deep Cove’s main attraction. Here there is a great view of Indian Arm, colourful bluffs where many eagles nest, and even an old airplane landing strip that was once used for flying fish in from nearby Granville Island.
From Nancy Greene park, if you take the trail up the hill to your right it will lead out to a bunch of old mining equipment. Here there is lots of big boulders and rocks for climbing; both alone and as part of multi-pitch climbs. Back down at sea level there are many interconnecting trails that go in all directions, which is why this area makes for a great hike. After you’ve had your fill of exploring the park, take any one of the trails back down to Panorama Drive and make your way back to Deep Cove village.
7. Hanes Valley Trail – Grouse Mountain
Hanes Valley Trail is a popular hiking trail near Vancouver, BC. The trail leads up to Grouse Mountain passing through some forest, climbing steeply at times and offering wonderful views of surrounding mountains. Wildlife are often spotted along the way including birds, squirrels, rabbits or coyotes.
The trailhead to Hanes Valley Trail is located in a residential area of north Vancouver with nearby bus stops from where you can reach the trail. The trail starts by climbing steeply through some forest, and when it levels out after about 15 minutes it passes one of the main viewpoints along the trail. This viewpoint offers views of Vancouver’s downtown, Seymour Mountain and Grouse Mountain. It also offers a good view of Hanes Valley with its surrounding mountains like Mount Fromme, Nancy Greene Lake and others.
After this viewpoint the trail continues to climb up steeply at times, offering plenty of great views along the way. There are three more viewpoints, all about 10 minutes apart from each other. The last one offers a view of Grouse Mountain itself.
This trail is also popular with mountain bikers who often use it for biking down in summertime when there is little snow on Grouse Mountain. Though the Hanes Valley Trail is quite popular with hikers, it’s still a good idea to come early in the morning or later in the evening during summertime if you’re looking for more of a wilderness experience and want to avoid crowds.
The trail ends at Grouse Mountain where there are numerous activities to enjoy. You can ride the Grouse Mountain Skyride up, visit the grizzly bear sanctuary and even go zip lining (not free).
9. Deep Cove – Quarry Rock
Quarry rock is a gorgeous and popular hiking spot located in the Deep Cove area of North Vancouver. The hike itself is relatively easy, but be prepared for a couple steep sections and to climb over some large rocks.
The trail itself begins at the end of Panorama Drive, accessible from Lighthouse Road. When you drive up to the trailhead, you will see a small parking lot and the trail.
The first part of the trail is paved and relatively flat so it’s an excellent warm up for those who aren’t used to hiking. If you continue past this section you will reach a fork in the road with one path leading to Quarry Rock and another leading to Dog Mountain.
To get to Quarry Rock’s summit, you need to take the right path. As you hike up this section of the trail, there are a couple points that have look-out areas with benches where you can sit and enjoy the view back into Vancouver. This section is relatively steep, so if you’re not used to hiking you might want to prepare for a bit of work.
Once you reach the top, there are stairs that will take you up to the top of Quarry Rock where beautiful views of Indian Arm await you. At the very edge, you’ll find a little plaque telling what this rock used to be before it was cut down and
10. Pitt Lake – Porteau Cove Trail
Pitt Lake is located near Porteau Cove Provincial Park, which has trails for hiking and biking. It has the best views of any hike in BC, so you can’t miss it if you are in town!
The trail leads along Taylor Way, then follows a gravel road that leads to the Swift Creek Trail. Follow this trail for about 1 kilometre until you reach another junction. The left path will take you along the wooden boardwalk over Cheekeye Fan to Porteau Cove, while the right path will take you up to Oval Lake and down to Brentcliffe Road.
For the first kilometre, you will be surrounded by tall evergreens and a carpet of soft needles. The trail is well-defined and wide enough to allow two people to pass each other comfortably. As you hike higher, the trees thin out and the scenery becomes more breathtaking. You can expect to see squirrels, raccoons, chipmunks, and birds. If you are lucky, you might even see an eagle!
The boardwalk around Cheekeye Fan is a great place to rest, as it has many benches along the way. There is also a geocache hidden on the boardwalk that will lead you to the highest point in Brentcliffe Provincial Park.