Vancouver's Best Outdoor Activities

24 January 2013

Take in the fresh air and natural scenic beauty of Canada's coastal port city, Vancouver, located on the mainland of British Columbia. Check out Vancouver's spectacular Stanley Park, which features a host of attractions set within 1000 acres of lush West Coast rainforest right in the middle of the city, before committing to more strenuous outdoor activities to suit your style and stamina.

Here is our pick of Vancouver's best outdoor activities.

 Vancouver's water front.

Kayaking

See the beauty of Vancouver from a kayak, allowing freedom to explore and an entirely different perspective. Check out the cityscape juxtaposed against the natural beauty of the coastline when you start out from Granville Island or English Bay. Alternatively, start in Ambleside Park and paddle along West Van's Seawall to the waters where Burrard Inlet and the Capilano River meet the Salish Sea. Avid paddlers might want a truly unique kayaking experience, in which case they should book a two-hour Full Moon Paddle. It can only be offered once a month so plan ahead.

Hiking

Experienced hikers will be keen to try trails in Golden Ears Provincial Park and Grouse Mountain. Take plenty of drinking water and do the 12-kilometre Golden Ears Trail, the 7.3-kilometre Alouette Mountain Fire Access Trail, or the 10-kilometre Alouette Mountain Hiking Trail. The Grouse Grind takes you up 2.9 kilometres of 'Mother Nature's Stairmaster'; there are 2 830 stairs in all. Vancouver's Capilano Suspension Bridge Park offers a bird's eye view of the canyon below from the 213-metre high Cliffwalk, and seven suspension bridges. Experience a Treetops Adventure or take a free, guided eco-walk.

Golfing

Vancouver is a golfer's dream setting, featuring spectacular-looking courses and top-notch facilities at Fraserview Golf Course overlooking the Fraser River, Langara Golf Course on Vancouver's southern slope, and McCleery Golf Course, a Ted Baker designed gem, located on MacDonald Street. The latter boasts multiple water hazards and narrow fairways, mature trees and a newly renovated driving range. For a day of Pitch and Putt, discover mini golf at Stanley Park, Rupert Park and Queen Elizabeth Park.


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Mountain Biking

Canada's most mountainous province, British Columbia boasts some of the world's best biking terrain. Powell River trails include Bogies Trail and Sweetwater Creek Trail. Squamish trails take you through thick West Coast forest, with gradual slopes to suit first-timers, and more challenging trails to suit experienced bikers. Whistler offers hundreds of kilometres of trails to suit beginners through to experienced riders. Vancouver's North Shore Mountains offer a variety of trails and host annual cycling events including The North Shore Bike Festival and the Muddy Buddy.

Skiing, Snowboarding & Snowshoeing

Despite snowfall rarely occurring in Vancouver itself, the region boasts some of North America's best downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding and unique snowshoeing tours. In the winter months, head to Cypress Mountain, Grouse Mountain, Whistler and Blackcomb, or Mount Seymour. Each has its own attractions, and with some runs staying open until 10pm, you can pack in even more snow fun after dark.

Xanthe Coward

Xanthe's favourite travel destinations are the Greek Islands, Indonesia, Fiji and Vanuatu. With a background in performing arts, fine food, wine and good times, Xanthe enjoys travel that brings her close to the locals and their leisure activities. Being a theatre reviewer means that Xanthe will always do dinner and a show before checking out the late night city scene and still be up early to find the markets and a decent pot of chai.