Explore the Great Outdoors this Fall
Whatâ€™s better than exploring Vancityâ€™s natural, endless terrain? Likely nothing, but when work starts back up, it feels good to recount your days hiking, taking in breathtaking views and conquering one of North Americaâ€™s most picturesque city.
Booking.com, the global leader in connecting travellers with more than one million incredible places to stay, used its recent Passion Search tool to uncover some of the best outdoor things to do in West Vancouver.
So take a minute to stretch, pack a bag and set off on some of Vancityâ€™s best activities.
Where better to start than at the top? Known as the Peak of Vancouver, Grouse Mountain has the best city views. From checking out downtown Vancouver and Coal Harbour, to peering out to Vancouver Island (on a clear day) or watching planes circle YVR, Grouse has the ultimate vantage points for those on a trek. Whether youâ€™re up for a hike, willing to spend on ziplining, or just want to see grizzly bears, timber wolves or rare birds, thereâ€™s a free shuttle from Canada Place to the gondolas at the base of Grouse Mountain.
For skiers and snowboarders, Cyprus Mountain is the tallest hill on the North Shore, basically a centralized Whistler. For hikers and cyclists, a summertime challenge awaits them in Cyprus National Park, just 25 minutes from the downtown core. â€œThe Cyprus Challengeâ€ is a 15 km stretch for cyclists along Cyprus Bowl Road offering a steady climb of nearly 2400 ft to keep riders coming back for more. For hikers and explorers, the mountain has an array of trails with different difficulty levels, and is equipped for Geocaching. This immersive GPS and smartphone-assisted activity is like a graduated scavenger hunt among the natural landscape of the North Shore Mountains, and itâ€™s totally free.
Given that youâ€™ve worked hard leading up to the long weekend, plan to play hard and put yourself to the test. The hungriest, most experienced mountain bikers will hit Mount Fromme, located east of Grouse Mountain, to spend daylight hours careening through trails and over obstacles. This weekend, 40km of trails will be rife with riders pushing themselves on classic cross country-style, technical downhill and freestyle trails. That being said, Mount Fromme also has more than wooden beams, logs and teeter totters, and there are easier ride-around options for the less advanced rider. Either way, by foot or pedal, getting to the top of Mount From is no small obstacle.
Capilano Canyon From Above
Just as the mountains in Vancity are high, the valleys are low. So low, in fact, that suspension bridges and floating sidewalks make these walks some of the most exciting activities in Vancouver, and suitable for all levels of exertion. Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is the main attraction here, and was originally built in 1889. Its bridge stretches 450ft, hanging 70m in the air, and leads brave adventurers to a west coast rain forest. Meanwhile, in 2011 the park unveiled a new attraction, Cliffwalk. This elevated, narrow walkway is an exciting look at centuries-old granite and eroding cliffs from up close. As a floating sidewalk over 700ft long, itâ€™s a good thing Cliffwalk can support the equivalent of 35 Killer Whales.
You can never go wrong with a weekend adventure if you start at Horseshoe Bay. From the Bay, hop on the ferry to Bowen Island to get away from Vancouver for the day, either hiking trails atop Mount Gardner, or sipping on ales from Bowen Island Brewing Company Ltd., one of B.C.â€™s oldest and most well-known breweries. If youâ€™re not up for a ferry ride, check out Whytecliff Park just west of Horseshoe Bay for great hiking, picturesque sights and a chance to relax and reflect on nature. The bulging rocks of Howe Sound form erratic tree lines on the coast, and the boulders you can reach are great for sitting atop. A 15-minute drive south of Whytecliff is Lighthouse Park, which has some of the most beautiful old growth trees in B.C. Originally intended as a dark backdrop to the now out-of-commission tower, a wall of towering Douglas Fir and Red Cedar sit on this National Historic Site. The scene is one of the most iconic on the North Shore.