Top 10 Places to Get Fit Around Vancouver

As west-coasters, we experience significant precipitation during the winter months, but that is no excuse to hibernate your healthy habits!  Feeling the effects of SAD? Trying to shake off the red wine from last night? Get some rain gear, grab a friend and get outside. Bottom line: We live in a temperate rainforest – deal with it.

Here are my top 10 picks for outdoor activities in and around Vancouver:

Easy = relatively flat and family friendly

Moderate = light hills and/or rugged terrain

Challenging = steep hills, steps and/or rugged terrain

  1. Pacific Spirit Park: Nestled on the UBC peninsula, Pacific Spirit Park or the Endowmentlands as I refer to it, is an expansive mecca of trails with something for
    Pacific Spirit Park

    Pacific Spirit Park

    everyone. Many paths are easy and great for the whole family while others are challenging with steps and long hills for those of you looking for a run that doubles as a workout. Dog friendly.

  2. Baden Powell Trail: North Vancouver’s premiere trail system, the Baden Powell has easy, moderate and challenging terrain. Enjoy a short walk with the kids or take on the 12km Deep Cove to Lynn Canyon path for an amazing, but difficult run. Dog friendly.
  3. British Columbia Mountain Club Trail (BCMC): The link will take you to information on the Grind because the BCMC is a secret gem among outdoor enthusiasts. The trail runs parallel to the Grind and provides a rugged, challenging hike for those who are in relatively good shape. Take your time, avoid the crowds and stairs and do the BCMC instead of the Grind. I have one request: Don’t tell too many people about it, we want to keep it a secret!
  4. Everett Crowley Park: Perfect for those looking for a light, outdoor walk. The trails are easy, but the Park still provides that West Coast “rainforest” feel. Ideal if you’re just starting a fitness routine, pushing a stroller or bringing mum and grandma along. Dog friendly.
  5. The Chief (Squamish): Not as hard as the Grind and the hike gives you the
    Howe Sound

    I took this shot at the top of the Chief. Reg and I cycled from North Vancouver, hiked the Chief and cycled back. It was crazy. We had just started dating and I think I was trying to impress him.

    biggest bang for your buck (view-wise). The first peak of the Chief is a moderate hike with challenging parts, but you can do it – trust me! The view of Howe Sound is breathtaking and well worth the physical challenge you may experience. A couple of words of advice; bring a snack because you’ll want to hang out at the top and be prepared to descend. There is no gondola, so give your joints and quads a fair warning.

  6. Hollyburn Trail: This is a moderate hiking trail at Cypress Mountain which is great in the summer, but even better in the winter. Bundle up, strap on some snowshoes and enjoy the fresh mountain air while trying something new. There is a tasty bonus at the end; hot chocolate. Yum! Dog friendly.
  7. Golden Ears Hiking Trail: Another great trail system just outside the city. Golden Ears is good for all levels of outdoor enthusiasts. I have taken on a challenging hike to a secluded camp ground and also brought my dog and pregnant belly for an easy, but still enjoyable walk. Dog friendly.
  8. Urban Beach Walk/Run: More of a water person? Take this easy walk by starting at

    Jericho Beach

    Kits Beach, where you can pause to people watch the pretty folk. Then, keep heading west and after about 1 km of road walking, you’re back on the beach at Jericho. Jericho Beach seems to go on forever, but actually merges with Locarno Beach and eventually ends at the Spanish Banks. Spanish Banks is where the long, steep hill up to UBC begins. At this point, unless you are keen on a challenge, turn back. Dog friendly.

  9. Dog Mountain: Moderate trail on Seymour Mountain. I love this one when I’m looking for a fun outdoor activity that will get my heart rate up, but still allow me to carry on a nice conversation with my fitness companion. The view at the top is amazing and bring some nuts to get a whiskey jack feeding out of the palm of your hand. Truly be one with nature! Dog friendly.
  10. Alta Lake Trail (Whistler): I will admit that I have retired from skiing. I was once an enthusiast, but last year I decided to focus more on my other winter loves; running and snowshoeing. For those of you who enjoy Whistler, but don’t ski/snowboard, sorry, you still must get outside and rosy those cheeks! The Alta Lake Trail is perfect for an easy walk, moderate hike or challenging snowshoe. Walking distance from the Village, I highly recommend you experience this beautiful trail at any time of year. Dog friendly.

Let’s grow the list! What is your favourite outdoor spot to get fit?

6 thoughts on “Top 10 Places to Get Fit Around Vancouver

  1. I love Lynn Valley, including the suspension bridge. I also love the dykes out in Tsawassen. Great views of water and the city and people still smile and say hello (real small town feel there). I have done the Grouse Grind but it seems everyone is in such a rush to get to the top and shout out their time that I did not get the enjoyment out of stopping to enjoy the scenery which is sadly mostly blocked by trees anyway. I have never done the Chief and that is definitely on my to do list when I come to Van on a visit during warm weather. Thanks,

    • Lynn Valley is gorgeous! We are seriously considering a move to the North Shore because of all the amazing outdoor rec available. I have never been to the dykes in Tsawassen, thanks for the addition 🙂 I agree with your comment about the Grouse Grind. It has really changed and doesn’t feel very much like a nature hike. You will love the Chief! It’s challenging, but doable and the view is truly amazing! Thanks for the comment Timea 🙂

  2. Thanks for this!!!! We are always looking for new places to take the dog out for a hike. Your rating system is perfect for us! We WON’T be biking to Squamish and back though (you’re crazy!!!!!).

    • We have a dog too and though she is now 13 and can’t do the challenging hikes, we still try to get her out on the easy ones as much as possible. The Endowmentlands at UBC is our fave spot to bring her 🙂

      I really think I had some major endorphins going because I was falling in love when I did that crazy trek to the Chief. I haven’t attempted something like that since!

      Thanks for the comment 🙂

  3. I have been a Lynn Valley resident for the last 4 years and highly recommend it as a family friendly community with great access to the outdoors. Two of my favourite family fitness spots are Rice Lake and the sea wall at Ambleside. I have never heard of Everett Crowley Park but will take a look.

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