As summer vacation enters its final act, it can get challenging to find cost-effective activities for you and your family that will still keep everyone engaged and entertained. Fortunately, with all of the thrilling adventure so close at hand on Vancouver’s North Shore, you don’t need to spend an arm and a leg to get those little arms and legs moving. Here are some incredible hikes on the North Shore that are quick and easy and certifiably kid-friendly.
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There are a lot of trails to choose from in the vast Lynn Headwaters Park, but for shorter, easier jaunts that are still full of the wonders of a coastal rainforest, you can’t beat the Lynn Canyon Loop. This 5.1 km round trip takes you up through lush green forest before looping back along the rushing water of Lynn Creek. You can even catch a view of Vancouver Island and the San Juan and Gulf Islands with a short detour.
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For a flatter walk, try the Rice Lake Loop, a trail that takes you 3 km around a pristine lake inhabited by long-legged herons and a good variety of ducks often active around the water. There are lots of benches to rest at if need be or if you just want to stop and take in the natural beauty all around. Keep your eyes to the sky, and you may get lucky spotting the eagle that calls Rice Lake home.
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For those little hikers who enjoy a bit of a challenge, there’s Twin Falls Loop. The trail itself is only 1.5 km, but there are significant changes in elevation that involve switchbacks and a series of stairs. As always, a good supply of water is recommended. This extra effort is rewarded not only by the exciting up-close views of the waterfalls but a swinging excursion out over the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge as well.
Explore one of the most picturesque parks on the North Shore with a hike through Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver. There are plenty of trails to explore through giant Douglas Firs (some of the biggest in Greater Vancouver) with only minimal hills to climb here and there. You can loop through the park and end up at the lighthouse and have your lunch with the beautiful Pacific Ocean as your backdrop.
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Another pretty alpine lake you can access without too much effort is Whyte Lake in the hills above Horseshoe Bay. This 5 km round-trip scenic trail starts off at somewhat of a steep incline but eases out after not too long. You’ll follow Nelson Creek up through Western Cedars, so there are plenty of places to stop and cool down or just explore.
Hiking Capilano Canyon is one of the most popular family-friendly activities on the North Shore, and once you’re there, it’s easy to see why. The roar of rushing water over rock is an exciting soundtrack to a trek through the old-growth rainforest, and the trails here offer incredible views of the Capilano River below. Start your hike from the Cleveland Dam, and if you time it just right, you can watch the water rumble down into the canyon. Another bonus along your route is the Salmon Hatchery, where you can learn about and see firsthand all of the important work being done to protect salmon in the region.
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For more information on hikes on Vancouver’s North Shore or other family-friendly activities, visit vancouversnorthshore.com.