10 Scenic Walks in Vancouver

Vancouver is a very beautiful city with panoramic views of ocean waves, temperate rainforests and rugged North shore mountains. Besides numerous hiking opportunities in Vancouver and the surrounding areas, Vancouver also provides scenic walking paths for those not wanting to lace-up their hiking boots and pack for a day on the trails. Many of these walking paths are easily accessible by public transit and also offer the option of stopping for a tasty meal and cool refreshing drink along the way.

1. Stanley Park Seawall – Loved by tourists and locals alike, the Stanley Park Seawall is a 9km walk along the water around Vancouver’s largest parks. It has excellent views of the downtown core, north shore mountains and the Lion’s Gate Bridge. The Stanley Park Seawall is part of the larger 28km seawall that encircles Vancouver’s waterfront from Canada Place to Spanish Banks. There are also numerous forested trails within Stanley Park including a walk around Beaver Lake.

Distance: 9km

Time Required: 2 to 3 hours walking, 1 hour to cycle

Where to Start: Parking can be difficult and expensive within Stanley Park. Luckily you can also reach the entrance to Stanley Park by taking the #19 bus from downtown Vancouver.

Food and Drinks:

  • Marutama Ramen Westend (780 Bidwell St) – My favourite Vancouver ramen restaurant which serves a creamy chicken broth based soup.
  • Espana Restaurant (1118 Denman St) – Intimate restaurant for Spanish tapas and a refreshing glass of white wine or Tinto de Verano.
  • Stanley Park Brewing Restaurant and Brewpub (8901 Stanley Park Drive) – local craft brewery newly opened and directly in Stanley Park.

2. False Creek Seawall – The False Creek Seawall is also part of the 28km seawall that encircles Vancouver. This part of the seawall traverses the False Creek area from Yaletown on the downtown side to Granville Island on the south side of False Creek. You will have amazing views of the city skyline and the mountains in the distance, while watching sailboats and kayakers in the inner harbour.

Distance: 2km to 5km

Time Required: 30 minutes to 2 hours

Where to Start: This walking path can be reached from several skytrain stops including, Olympic Village and Yaletown-Roundhouse Station on the Canada line, or Main St.-Science World Station on the Expo line. There are also water taxis/small ferries that stop at various stops all along False Creek.

Food and Drinks:

  • Craft Beer Market Vancouver (85 W. 1st Ave) – Pub food and a huge selection of local craft beers.
  • Sen Pad Thai (1689 Johnston St) – Thai street food inside the Granville Island Public Market.

3. Spanish Banks – Spanish Banks is a series of beaches on the west side of Vancouver along Northwest Marine Drive. During low tide, the beach stretches on forever. There is a gravel walking path across the entire length of these beaches stretching from Jericho Beach to the very end of Spanish Banks, just below the UBC campus.

Distance: 3km each way

Time Required: 40 minutes one way from Jericho Beach to the Spanish Banks Off Leash Dog Area at the far end of Spanish Banks.

Where to Start: There is parking all along this beach but it can be hard to come by in the summer months.

Food and Drinks:

  • Jericho Sailing Club (1300 Discovery St) – locals know this as one of the best patios in the city.
  • Pack a picnic or bring a BBQ and enjoy the beach. BBQs are permitted at Spanish Banks East.

4. Trout Lake Park (also known as John Hendry Park) – One of the smaller “lakes” and therefore shorter walks on this list, Trout Lake Park also features an off-leash dog park, beach and community centre. My favourite reason for going to Trout Lake is the Trout Lake Farmer’s Market held every Saturday in the summer from 9am to 2pm.

Distance: 2km

Time Required: 20 min

Where to Start: Easy access from either Nanaimo or Commercial-Broadway skytrain stations.

Food and Drinks:

  • Trout Lake Farmer’s Market (9am to 2pm on Saturdays in the summer) – lots of tasty treats including fruits, vegetables, baked goods and several food trucks.
  • St. Augustine’s (2360 Commercial Drive) – pub food with large selection of beer.

5. Deer Lake Park – Deer Lake Park offers a short, mostly flat walking trail around the lake. There is a small beach area and playground where you can also rent rowboats and kayaks. The park is also connected to the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, Burnaby Village Museum, Burnaby Art Gallery and Hart House Restaurant.

Distance: 5km

Time Required: 1 hour

Where to Start: There are small parking lots off Royal Oak Street and by the beach at Sperling Avenue. The park can be accessed via busses to the Shadbolt Centre.

Food and Drinks:

  • Hart House (6664 Deer Lake Ave, Burnaby) – Wonderful food in a beautiful Tudor-style mansion.

6. Burnaby Lake – Burnaby Lake is the largest lake in the Lower Mainland and is home to all sorts of birds, beavers and other wildlife. There is a boardwalk on the north side of the lake that provides a great view of the lake and a close-up view of the locals ducks and geese. There is also a wooden viewing tower for more birdwatching.

Distance: 10km loop

Time Required: 2 hours

Where to Start:Access to this trail is available from the Sperling-Burnaby Lake skytrain station on the Millenium Line. Parking is also available at the sports field. 

Food and Drinks:

  • Sushimoto (2201 Holdom Ave, Burnaby) – Great sushi spot located one skytrain stop away at Holdom Station.

7. New West Quay – The Waterfront Esplanade is a great place for a leisurely stroll along the Fraser River and features playgrounds, a water park and public art displays. It also provides an opportunity to visit the Rivermarket and the tasty restaurants in the main food court.

Distance: 5km

Time Required: 1 hour

Where to Start: Short walk from New Westminster Station on the Expo skytrain line. Small parking lot near the New West Quay market.

Food and Drinks:

  • Longtail Kitchen (810 Quayside Drive) – Delicious modern Thai cuisine.
  • Re Up BBQ (810 Quayside Drive) – This restaurant may be known for its barbequed meats, but I would recommend their fried chicken.

8. Pacific Spirit Regional Park – Located in the far west of Vancouver, near the University of British Columbia, Pacific Spirit Regional Park is a lovely spot for a walk or run. The park consists of 750 hectares of forest and the tall trees keep the paths mostly shaded.

Distance: numerous trails of varying lengths

Time Required: 1 to 3 hours

Where to Start: These trails can be accessed fairly easily by transit since the park is close to the University of British Columbia. There are a number of places where you can enter the park and the trails, including a trail that includes a climb up from Spanish Banks.

9. Ambleside to Dundarave (Centennial Seawalk) – This seaside walking path in West Vancouver provides views of Stanley Park and downtown Vancouver. There is also a dog park, lovely beaches, playground and more.

Distance: 3km each way

Time Required: 35 minutes each way 

Where to Start: There is some parking on the road by Ambleside Park and Dundarave Park

Food and Drinks:

  • Beach House at Dundarave (150 25th Street, West Vancouver) – beach side heritage building which recently reopened after a renovation.

10. Rocky Point Shoreline Trail – The beginning of this trail starts at Rocky Point Park, which has a lovely picnic area and playground. The trail follows the shore around the Burrard Inlet in Port Moody and ends at Old Orchard Park. You will pass through a forested area, along some elevated boardwalks to some gravel paths on the opposite side of the water from where you started. Keep an eye out for the herons in their nests high up in the trees next to the path. There is a separate bike path that follows alongside the walking path.

Distance: 6km roundtrip

Time Required: 2 hours

Where to Start: There is a small parking lot at Rocky Point Park and some additional parking along Murray Road. The Port Moody skytrain stop (Evergreen line) is a 5 minute walk away.

Food and Drinks:

  • Yellow Dog Brewing Co (2817 Murray St, Port Moody) – Family run brewery serving craft beer in a lively atmosphere.
  • Twin Sails Brewing (2821 Murray St, Port Moody) – Another local craft brewery that’s part of Brewer’s Row.
  • Rocky Point Ice Cream (2800 Murray St, Port Moody) – You can’t go to Rocky Point park without stopping for ice cream at this local ice cream shop.

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