The Grouse Grind comes up immediately when you start researching hiking in Vancouver. A short, steep trail (853m elevation in 2.9 KM) that leads up the side of Grouse Mountain in North Vancouver, the Grouse Grind is a seasonal obsession for many Vancouverites. The downsides to all of this are hard to ignore: crowds as thick as a shopping mall, the endless wooden stairs that make up the trail, screaming children, and to top it all off, you have to pay to take the gondola down. Still, there are many that consider the Grind a quintessential Vancouver experience. So lace up your shoes, pack your power gel and give it a shot. But if once is enough for you, here are some trails that are equally strenuous, but offer more in the way of peace and views.
The Chief in Squamish
Although The Chief has some of the same downsides as the Grind– it also involves crowds and wooden stairs– it is an equally good workout, and more fun due to some sections that involve hauling yourself up on chains. The splendid view of Howe Sound from the top is well worth the climb.
Upper Shannon Falls
Directly beside The Chief, this hike offers the heart-pumping good times, without the crowds. The trail starts out on the Chief trail, but branches off after about 30 minutes. There are some nice views along the way, as well as very pretty sections along the river. A flat rock lookout at the top gives panoramic views of the area.
The view from the top of Lynn Peak is nothing special, but for a relatively short and certainly tiring workout that you can take public transit too, it meet the bill. Go early, as this one gets busy too.
Mount Seymour hosts its share of trail runners and exercise junkies each summer, but sets itself apart in that the setting is a lot wilder, and the scenery prettier. Make it to the top of the third peak and you are rewarded with view of the surrounding peaks, as well as the entire Vancouver area and beyond.
Black Mountain from Cypress Bowl
The first 45 minutes to an hour of this trail is relentless uphill that in the hot weather can feel endless. However, you top out on some lovely alpine trails and culminate in one of the best views in Vancouver from the lookout on Eagle Bluffs.