The lush forests of Vancouver’s North Shore are rich with history, astounding views and raw, untouched beauty. There is so much to see: from winding coastlines to glacier-fed rivers and expansive mountain viewpoints. You’ll never get bored with the wealth of trailways available. The selfie-worthy spots are endless but the options can be overwhelming. So, whether you are a local or visiting the North Shore for the first time, we are breaking down the must-visit viewpoint trails.
A piece of paradise right is located right in the heart of North Vancouver! Norvan Falls is a beautiful waterfall nestled into the lush forests of Lynn Headwaters Regional Park. The hike is about five hours so be prepared to get a good workout in. Along the way, you will be immersed in West Coast old-growth forests and even likely come across old logging tools from the 1900s. As you get closer to the Norvan Creek part of the trail, you will see a steel suspension bridge and hear the sounds of gushing water before reaching the picture-perfect waterfall. This hike is relatively flat and runs parallel to Lynn Creek. It’s a great spot for dogs with lots of drinking spots along the way!
For an all-day intermediate hike that does not disappoint, Eagle Bluffs offers multiple viewpoints of downtown Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Bowen Island and even the Sunshine Coast. There are various areas to enter the trail, depending on the level of difficulty you would like. Most commonly, the Cypress Park entrance is a go-to, but for a harder hike, start at the Nelson Canyon Parking Lot. This route also takes you past Whyte Lake where you’ll find a quaint dock and peaceful swimming spot surrounded by tall trees (but be aware this route also doubles the hike length from 4 hours to approx. 8 hours). Near the top, you will reach Cabin Lake—a spot where many hikers stop for a snack and a swim—the perfect place to cool off on a hot day. Once you reach Eagle Bluffs you will also be 10 minutes from Black Mountain which has another stunning viewpoint where you can take in all the incredible scenery.
Expansive views of The Georgia Straight, Mount Baker, the Fraser Valley, Lower Mainland and Stanley Park await at Dog Mountain! This trail is located in Seymour Mountain Park and is family/ dog-friendly. It doesn’t have a lot of elevation along the hike and therefore is considered fairly easy aside from being rooty and somewhat rocky with a few small stream crossings. It’s a great hike for a slower day because it’s only two hours to complete a roundtrip. There are multiple small ponds and a beautiful lake to stop and enjoy a peaceful moment, and watch for Whiskey Jack birds who love to perch on your hands—making the experience quite storybook.
St. Marks Summit has become a popular destination hike for those who want a wow factor hike! Towering high above the vistas of the Sea to Sky Highway, there are various lookout spots that get even better the higher you go. Be prepared to walk for about 4-5 hours during this intermediate hike, but it’s worth it for the views at the top of Howe Sound islands, Tantalus mountain range and even Vancouver Island. St. Marks Summit is part of the Howe Sound Crest Trail that spans from Cypress Mountain to Porteau Cove. The most scenic route option includes stops at Yew Lake and the Bowen Lookout. The Bowen Lookout gives you a sneak peek of the views the Summit will bring, with views of Bowen Island and the Sunshine Coast. Once you reach the top, you are sure to be mind-blown by the unobstructed island vistas.
Lighthouse Park is one of Vancouver’s most beautiful and camera-worthy spots. The trails are surrounded by some of the city’s largest Douglas fir trees and the park is very family-friendly with only a few up-hill and down-hill sections. It’s a must-stop spot to spend the afternoon and bring a picnic with numerous view-laden bluffs and picnic benches on-site. The park has 23 trail options. You can choose from looping the forest paths or making your way to the ocean coves where a charming lighthouse sits—this landmark dating back to 1912 is incredibly picturesque. Lighthouse Park is also a National Historic Site and home to historic buildings that housed soldiers during World War II—making the park visit quite educational as well.