5 great dog-friendly hikes in the Vancouver area
Seymour the mutt on the trail to Whyte Lake in West Vancouver, B.C. (Darcy Matheson)
There’s nothing much more West Coast than spending your free time hiking, exploring nature and taking in the great outdoors. Thankfully for dog owners, many popular climbs around the Vancouver area are dog-friendly, and well-mannered pooches are welcome. Here’s five great hikes where Fido can come along for the journey.
Nestled into the University Endowment Lands on the West Side of Vancouver, this park has dozens of dog-friendly trails in more than 750 hectares of forest, and is accessible year-round. Along the shores of the Georgia Straight, the trails wind through old-growth forest, craggy bogs and rugged beaches.
The 73-kilometres of trails offer various levels of difficulty, with some resembling a "dog highway" during the weekends because they are so popular with dog owners. Several trails connect to Spanish Banks beach, where there is an off-leash swimming area for dogs.
This steep and scenic journey under the Sea-to-Sky gondola is an offshoot of the popular Stawamus Chief hiking trail. Your pup can take a drink and a dip as you cross over Upper Shannon Falls before heading for the summit. Once at the top, there's a great shaded dog area where you can tie up your pup to go get a drink or snack inside, or enjoy the patio overlooking Howe Sound.
A fantastic feature about this hike is that you can take your dog on the gondola to make the trip down to the base. Ten dollars will buy you a "Buster the Dog" pass to bring Fido along, with a portion donated to the BC SPCA.
Allow up to five hours for this 7.5-kilometre hike, with 900-metres of gain.
One of the most popular hikes in the Fraser Valley, Elk Mountain is also one of the tougher journeys, with an 800-metre gain. Hikers are treated to stunning views of Chilliwack, Cultus Lake and the surrounding valley after making their way up the mountain through a forested trail. The final climb up the peak is steep, but the summit is the perfect spot for a summer picnic with Fido. Be sure to pack a lot of water for you and your pup, as there are no lakes or streams on the mountain.
Allow four hours to complete this seven-kilometre steep hike.
The aptly named Diez Vistas boasts, you guessed it, 10 views of Indian Arm and Deep Cove as you wind your way around Buntzen Lake. After climbing a tough series of switchbacks, you'll take in peekaboo views as you meander through the forested trails. Bonus: this trail ends near the Buntzen Lake dog beach so you and your pup can take a dip before getting back in the car.
Allow yourself up to seven hours to complete this 15-kilometre round-trip.
This scenic loop takes you back through a piece of West Vancouver history. The forest around Brothers Creek was logged in the early 20th century, and you can still see some of the large stumps left behind. On some there's charring left behind from the forest fires in 1916 and 1920. You can also take a short detour to check out the Candelabra Fir, a massive tree nestled in among the Douglas firs. This meandering hike at the top of British Properties takes you over the impressive water fall.
Allow yourself up to four hours for this intermediate hike, which is seven kilometres round trip.