Best 5 Weed Hikes in Vancouver

Lifestyle
// March 23, 2017
5 Best Weed Hikes in Vanouver

One of the most amazing things about living in Vancouver is its proximity to so much natural beauty. Nestled in a unique corner of the world, this city has beaches, forests and mountains, and all of it within a short drive of the city. This affords Vancouverites lots of opportunities to get out of the city and into nature, even if you only have a few hours to spare.

We’ve compiled a shortlist of some of the our favourite hikes near the lower mainland for a quick escape, ranging from easy jaunts to more challenging day hikes.

*Please remember that any of these hikes are prone to being less accessible during winter months, and you should always consider weather conditions before any hike. Also, bring food and water, tell someone where you’re going, wear appropriate clothing etc. Basically, just come prepared and don’t be a dummy.

Quarry Rock

Located in the picturesque waterfront community of Deep Cove, this hike is only about a half hour drive from downtown Vancouver, and is very manageable. Deep Cove is located at the beginning of the Indian Arm, a glacial fjord that feeds into the Burrard Inlet, and the community is situated around a beautiful harbor. A public beach park hugs the water, a great spot for a picnic, getting your feet wet, or having a discreet puff before or after your hike. When you drive through North Vancouver to arrive in the sleepy village of Deep Cove, you will see this park along the water on your left. There is a parking lot where you’ll find free parking, but this tends to fill up quickly, especially on the weekends so get there early if you want a spot!

The trailhead for Quarry Rock is located on a residential street just above the park, a block or two past the aforementioned public parking lot, on the left-hand side (if you’re confused, just Google it, or ask someone). The hike is about 4km, and the trail is very well maintained. It’s a popular spot, so expect to see quite a few people on the trail, particularly during peak times. It’s dog friendly (provided you keep your pup on a leash), and ends at a gorgeous lookout point over the Indian Arm and the harbor.

After your hike, we recommend checking out Honey’s Donuts for a donut and a coffee. It’s a great little spot that makes donuts in-house, and if you’re lucky yours will still be warm. It’s an unbeatable cherry on top of a really pretty hike, but be advised, they close at 5!

Dog Mountain

This slightly more challenging hike begins at the parking area for the Mt. Seymour ski area, and offers a spectacular view of the lower mainland. It’s about a 5 km round trip, and speaking from experience, we recommend real hiking boots for this one, as there are lots of exposed roots and rocks on the trail that can make it a bit tricky in a pair of Vans.

To get to the trailhead, park in the Mt. Seymour parking lot, and walk to the far northwestern corner of the parking area. You’ll see a BC Parks sign with trail information and maps, then follow a wide gravel trail for about 20 meters, where you’ll see a smaller sign indicating the trailhead going into the trees on your left hand side.
The trail is well-maintained but can get slippery after a rainfall, so be aware of your surroundings on this one. On your way up, you’ll come to a small lake, aptly if unimaginatively named First Lake, after about a kilometer. Further up, the trail begins to get a bit steeper, and finally the trees open up to an impressive vista. On a clear day, you can see all of the greater Vancouver area, and even as far as Mt. Baker in Washington. It’s a beautiful spot for a well-deserved joint, and you can’t beat the view.

Eagle Bluff

If you’re looking for something a bit longer, Eagle Bluff also offers a great view with a little more challenge. This hike begins at the parking lot of Mt Cypress’ ski area, and is about 8 km round trip. This trail will take you through some beautiful scenery, including Black Mountain and Cabin Lake.

After parking in the ski area’s highest parking lot, walk past the lodge and you’ll see a wooden sign that outlines Cypress’ hiking trails. The trail you’ll follow to Eagle Bluff is actually called the Black Mountain Trail, and passes by Yew Lake, so this is a good point of reference on the map. Once you feel you’ve successfully gotten your bearings, walk towards the nearest ski lift, and look for a trail leading into the trees on your left side; this is the Black Mountain Trail. You will follow this trail’s clearly marked signs, taking a left at the first junction, then a quick right and another left (this is not as confusing as it seems, just follow signs for Black Mountain and you should be fine), and the trail will begin to ascend up a series of switchbacks, and then back into the woods. There are a few junctions at various points along this trail, so we recommend taking a look at the full directions over at Vancouver Trails for a more in-depth synopsis if it’s your first time on this route.

When you finally ascend the final section of trail, you’ll find yourself above West Vancouver’s Eagle Harbour, and on sunny days you can see Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast. It’s a truly gorgeous perspective. On the way down, there is an option to take a different return route by following signs to the downhill ski area on your right as you descend. This is only a good option in the late spring and summer months when the ski area is closed and snow has melted, as it leads you onto the ski slope itself.

BCMC Trail

In an effort to cover all three North Shore mountains, our third recommendation is located on Grouse Mountain, also easily accessible from Vancouver. You can even take public transit to the base of this trail fairly easily; just catch the seabus at Waterfront Station which will take you across the inlet, and then hop on the #236 bus from Lonsdale Quay.

You may have heard of the Grouse Grind, a grueling 3 km uphill climb consisting of wide wooden stairs (it’s sometimes referred to as “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster”). Well, the BCMC trail is its lesser known sibling, located just east of the Grind and beginning in the same parking lot, at the base of Grouse Mountain’s Skyride gondola.

The BCMC trail is steep and challenging. Expect to take a few breathers on the way up, and make sure you stretch before and after, because it’ll give your legs a serious workout. It’s less popular than the often-congested Grind, though, so you can sweat your way up the slope in relative peace, without jostling with too many spandex-clad competitors.

One of the best features of this hike is that after the 3 km climb to the top, you’ll find yourself at the Grouse Mountain Chalet at the top of the Skyride gondola, where you can get a coffee, or a burger and a beer and sit on the beautiful patio surrounded by a view of downtown Vancouver and the surrounding area. It’s an incredible way to celebrate after a demanding trek. Even better, you can take the gondola down to the parking lot for only $10, enjoying the view all the way down while you take pity on your poor legs.

The Chief

If you have a bit more time and want to get further out of the city, try taking a trip to Squamish to the Stawamus Chief, a beautiful hiking area and world-renowned destination for rock climbers. About an hour from Vancouver on the Sea to Sky corridor (Highway 99), the Stawamus Chief offers incredible views of Squamish, Howe Sound and the surrounding mountains. It’s a popular spot so be aware that it can be quite busy on weekends, particularly on days with good weather.

The Chief is another fairly challenging hike, with some quite steep sections. Be prepared to spend a good portion of your day getting up and back down. There are three peaks here, and you can do all of them in a day if you choose, or for a shorter hike you can climb only the South Peak, which still offers some pretty wonderful views.

The hike begins at the parking lot for Shannon Falls, just outside the town of Squamish. You’ll begin the hike on a wide gravel road, then up a few flights of steep wooden stairs until you reach the falls. After taking in the falls, which are quite beautiful, the real hike begins. Walk in the opposite direction of the falls until you reach a clearing, then go right. The trail is mostly dirt, with some sections of stairs along the way. There will be a couple of junctions along the path for different peaks. The trails are marked, but it pays to do a bit of research on Vancouver Trails before starting this hike. If you choose to to all three peaks, the hike takes about 5 hours, but the South Peak alone only takes about 3 ½.

Towards the top of the Chief, there is a section where you’ll have to use chains and ropes fastened into the granite to assist you in the final scramble to the summit. Be prepared for this; it’s not too difficult but it should be undertaken carefully and with the proper footwear as it can get slippery with rain or moss. The payoff is absolutely worth it, though, as the peak of the Chief affords hikers a phenomenal view from wide outcroppings of rock. It’s really a magnificent sight from the top, and you can see for an incredible distance on a clear day.

Well, that’s it, our top 5 hikes near Vancouver; we encourage you call a friend, fill up your Nalgene, grab some trail mix and get out there (and maybe roll a celebratory joint for the summit)!

By Galen Robinson-Exo

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