Natives to British Columbia know how beautiful their home is and aren’t shy about showing it off. Throughout the province they’ve intricately built a bountiful expanse of hiking trails along serene lakes, powerful mountains and coastal Pacific cliffs to make it easier for visitors to explore its natural wealth.
These trails blend seamlessly in with their striking backdrops and offer the outdoor enthusiast the chance to see the elegant wilderness of BC in its biological splendour. We’ve rounded up ten of the best – ranging from easy to difficult, near to Vancouver and further afield. But whichever one you choose, you’ll come back with photographic memories that outshine any physical image.
1. Mount Albert Edward Hike
While the capital of British Columbia is full of beautiful Victorian streets, remember to take a day away from Victoria on this one-day hike on Vancouver Island. Located in Strathcona Provincial Park this multi-day hike is aimed at intermediate to advanced hikers with amazing views of Circlet Lake.
2. Stawamus Chief Hike
For advanced hikers only: this one-day hike is home to three peaks and steep slopes. But it is well-worth it for the magnificent views of Howe Sound.
3. Burnaby Mountain
If you’re debating between a hike and a mountain biking adventure, Burnaby Mountain is a quintessential all-rounder. It’s located east of downtown Vancouver, with most of its hiking trails found on the eastern side of the mountain, all if which are marked out by their difficulty.
4. Crown Mountain Hike
When it comes to mountains adjacent to Vancouver, it can feel as though Grouse Mountain gets all the credit. However, if you’re looking for truly magnificent views of Vancouver Crown Mountain gets our vote – but you’ll need to work for it. There are three routes to the peak, none of which are for the inexperienced hiker but anyone who has made it to the top can attest to how much it pays off.
5. Hunlen Falls Hike
The Hunlen Falls check in as the third highest falls in Canada – and the highest when measured as a continuous unbroken drop. The hike to the falls is sheltered and you’ll need to camp at Turner Lake, but the views you’ll witness upon completion are unmissable.
6. West Coast Trail
This scenic backpacking trail is one of the most popular, but also one of the most challenging. It’s 75km in length and takes about a week to complete. The landscape is stunning but the terrain is a mix of muddy trails, wooden surfaces, boulders and rocky shorelines.
7. Dog Mountain
On a clear day this easy-to-intermediate hike offers amazing views of Vancouver. It’s about 5km return and there is little uphill elevation, however the trail itself is not prominent and hikers will need to watch where they place their feet.
8. Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park
This expansive national park in British Columbia’s wine region is home to an impressive 23 hiking trails. Depending on your level of hiking ability, you can embark on a quick 2km walk or challenge yourself to 10km hike through the Canadian rainforest.
9. Lighthouse Park Trails
A lighter walk just outside Vancouver for those looking for some fresh air without the nuances of a proper hike. There are a few trails within the park ranging from ten minutes through to two hours. Aside from the beautiful seaward views you would expect from a beautiful BC coastal walk, the park is also home to the largest Douglas Fir trees in Greater Vancouver.
10. Ancient Forest Hike
This is truthfully more of a walk than a hike, but it is brimming with ancient cedars and a unique inland ecosystem not found anywhere else on the continent. The upper trails can still be quite steep but overall you don’t need to be an experienced hiker. A boardwalk has been built at the lower levels for wheelchair and pushchair accessibility.