The Top 10 Vancouver Dog Trails

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Ever wonder what the Top 10 Vancouver Dog Trails are?

I love living in Vancouver because it is so easy to stay fit and keep healthy. One of my favourite things to do in the summer months is to hop in the car to get out for a hike. Hiking is an amazing way to see the beautiful scenery that our city has to offer in an affordable way!

Weekend Vancouver Dog Hikes

The best part of hiking is that it is dog friendly! Plus, it is not only a great work out for you but it also helps to keep your dog healthy and happy! We all know that human obesity is one of North America’s largest health concerns but did you know that dog obesity is also a major issue? Around 60% of the pets in Canada are considered as either overweight or obese! Most of this extra weight comes from poor quality food and a lack of exercise. The best way to get your pet back on a healthier track is to get them into shape. Making sure both you and your pet get enough exercise every day is an important factor in living longer lives, which translates to more time spent with you pets.

There are so many different types of hikes that even if you are starting at a lower level of fitness you can work your way up to harder hikes with your dog! The following are the best and most friendly Vancouver dog  trails. They are just waiting for you to check them out!

The difficulty levels of these hikes have been pulled from the Vancouver Trails database. This ranking system looks at hiking factors like length of the trail, difficulty of the terrain and elevation levels.

Top 10 Vancouver Dog Trails – EASY HIKES

1) Lighthouse Park Trails 

Located so close to downtown Vancouver, this Vancouver dog trail/hike is a great way to spend a Saturday morning because it is not long and it is so close to the city. There are over five kilometers of trails in the forest with different views including the Burrard Inlet, Vancouver, the Lions Gate Bridge and the Tankers. Furthermore, there are so many different outlooks that, even on a busy and sunny weekend, you can always find a private spot for your and your pup to take a break and have a picnic.

As for the hikes themselves, they are human-made trails, surrounded by huge trees in a thick forest. The peak allows hikers to see the ocean as well as the iconic Lighthouse, the namesake of the park. This lighthouse was built in 1912 and is one of Vancouver’s must sees. During the Second World War the park and lighthouse were used to the base to watch the Burrard Inlet. In fact, you can still see some of the other buildings from that era, making for interesting visuals as well as backdrops for your new Facebook photos.

Location: West Vancouver

Difficulty: Easy

Directions: Starting in downtown Vancouver take Highway #99 going to Whistler. Go over the Lions Gate Bridge and follow the signs to Whistler until you hit Marine Drive. Continue going west on Marine Drive, until you pass the town. Here you should see the road narrow and start to wind around the coastline. Follow this road until you reach your destination, you will see signs for the park on your left as you approach.

Round-Trip Time: 2 Hours

Vancouver Dog Trails – Rules: Off-Leash – Please be aware of signs as some trails are not dog friendly

Estimated Driving Time: 40 Minutes

Top 10 Vancouver Dog Trails

2) Quarry Rock

Similarly to the Lighthouse Park trails, Quarry Rock is a hop-skip and a jump away from the downtown core. This short hike is located in the town of Deep Cove, North Vancouver. The 1.5 hour hike is just up from the water and offers beautiful views of the inlet. The terrain of the hike itself is in a densely wooded area with many trees and creeks. The first section of the climb starts with hiking up wooden stairs but then flattens out, offering a beginner level difficulty.


Location:
Deep Cove

Difficulty: Easy

Directions: Starting in downtown Vancouver, Take Highway #1 heading northbound. Cross the Second Narrows Bridge and take the third exit (Exit #22). Stay in the right lane and immediately turn right at the lights on Mount Seymour Parkway (5KM). Turn left when you hit Deep Cove Road and drive into town. Turn left onto Panorama Drive and park in the parking lot. The trail is 300 meters down the street.

Round-Trip Time: 1.5 Hours

Vancouver Dog Trails – Rules: Off Leash

Estimated Driving Time: 30 Minutes

Top 10 Vancouver Dog Trails

3) Dog Mountain

Only 50 minutes outside of the downtown core, this easy hike offers the best hike-to-view ratio in the Lower Mainland. The trail begins at the far end of Mount Seymour parking lot and offers a beautiful view of Vancouver. The 5km trail has minimal elevation gain; however, although this hike is classified as an easy trail, it does have some tricky paths as the wood floor can be slippery and requires careful steps. This makes this hike slightly more challenging.

Tip: The best part of this trail is the views at night, it is an excellent place to go for meteor showers and to see the northern lights with your puppy pals!


Location:
North Vancouver

Difficulty: Easy

Directions: Starting from the Seymour parking lot, walk towards the BC Parks sign (North West Corner). Take the wide gravel path North until you hit a trail that goes into the trees on your left. Keeping on this path for about 1.1KM you will arrive at the first Lake. By crossing the small bridge and walking along the shore line you should pass the Dog Mountain sign (1KM away from this point).

Round-Trip Time: 2 Hours

Vancouver Dog Trails – Rules: On Leash

Estimated Driving Time: 50 Minutes

Top 10 Vancouver Dog Trails

Top 10 Vancouver Dog Trails – INTERMEDIATE HIKES

4) Lynn Peak

Lynn Valley Peak is one of my personal favourites and is one of the North Shore’s best kept secrets. Compared to the other, more popular, Vancouver hikes like the Grouse Grind and the Seymour Peak, Lynn Valley is a lot less crowded, making it a quiet and peaceful outdoor adventure.  Furthermore, the fact that this hike is located in a natural West Coast rainforest allows hikers to see a wide range of plants and trees, making this hike breathtaking. The terrain is rocky and somewhat steep, so it is important to prepare yourself for this hike by packing water for both you and your pup.

The peak itself has an excellent view of the South valleys and on clear days you can see all the way to the USA! This area is perfect for doggie picnics as there is room to sit, snack and sunbathe before hitting the trails again for the return trip.


Location:
North Vancouver

Difficulty: Intermediate

Directions: Located in the Lynn Headwaters Regional Park. Take Highway #1 to the Lynn Canyon Exit (Northbound). Continue straight past the shopping center on this road until you hit the parking lot. Park at Lynn headwaters. Once there, take the gravel trail over the Lynn Creek bridge, then turn right. Continue on the path for 10 minutes before taking a left onto the Lynn Loop Trail. Continue on this trail for another 10 minutes or until you see the sign for Lynn Peak (it will be on your right).

Round-Trip Time: 4 Hours

Vancouver Dog Trails – Rules: On-Leash

Estimated Driving Time: 40 Minutes

Top 10 Vancouver Dog Trails

5) Elk Mountain

Although there are many beautiful hikes in the North Shore area, there is a wide variety of options if you choose to go in the other direction! Elk Mountain offers a wonderful hiking experience, ending in a wonderful view of Chilliwack, Cultus Lake and the Fraser Valley. This multi peak hike starts with a steady incline through the forest. The trail itself is wide, which is great for bringing your pup. However, the top section can get slightly steep and slippery and it is something to watch for. Keep you and your pet safe by bringing water and snacks to stay hydrated and alert when hiking these trails.

One tip: make sure you give yourself lots of time to hike back down as those steeper sections can take more time to tackle on the way down.

Top 10 Vancouver Dog Trails


Location:
Fraser Valley

Difficulty: Intermediate

Directions: Take Highway #1 Eastbound. Turn off at Exit #123 for Prest Road. Take the first right and go south for 4KM until hitting Bailey Road (turn left and follow for 1KM). When you hit the split in the road, go right and and go up the hill along Elk View Road (paved) and continue for 8KM. The road will turn into gravel at this point, continue for another 2KM. The clearing is on the left side, you can park there.

Round-Trip Time: 4 Hours

Vancouver Dog Trails – Rules: Off-Leash

Estimated Driving Time: 1.25 Hours

6) Diez Vistas Trail

This trail, along the ridgelines above the Indian Arm and Buntzen Lake in the Belcarra Region, is a beautiful way to spend an afternoon. Although this hike is slightly longer than the hikes highlighted in the Easy Section, it is not a difficult trail. There are a variety of different Vistas that you can check out, each offering a different view of the surrounding area. From the first peak, there is a clear view of the South part of the Indian Arm and Bedwell Bay.
Location:
Anmore

Difficulty: Intermediate

Directions: Heading east along Hasting Street towards Burnaby (Hasting turns into Barnett Highway). Continue until you reach St Johns Street where you turn left. Drive for 1KM until Ioco Road and turn left. Continue on this road until it turns into Heritage Mountain Blvd. This is a steep road – at the top there is a roundabout, turn right here and turn left at the first set of lights onto Forest Parkway. Continue down this street until you hit Aspenwood Drive (turn left) and continue on this road as it turns into E. Road. Continue here until you hit Sunny Side Road where you turn right until you hit the Buntzen Lake parking lot. From the parking lot, walk towards the marshlands to the boardwalk. Cross the boardwalk and you will see the sign marking the ascent of the trail.

Round-Trip Time: 6-7 Hours

Vancouver Dog Trails – Rules: On Leash – Certain areas around Buntzen Lake allow dogs to be off-leash

Estimated Driving Time: 1 Hour

Top 10 Vancouver Dog Trails

7) Mount Seymour

This mountain offers a variety of different trails and is one of the local’s favourite places to hike. The views are beautiful, and the trails are family- and dog- friendly. It is great to hike the trail anytime of season but especially in the Summer when you can see Vancouver, the lower mainland, and the Gulf Island. The trail itself is slightly challenging and provides an excellent workout (4KM trails).

I recommend going by Mystery Lake and Goldie Lake. These are my favourites!  
Location:
North Vancouver

Difficulty: Intermediate

Directions: Drive Westbound on the Trans Canada Highway. Continue across the Iron Workers Memorial bridge and take Exit #22 to Mount Seymour Parkway (turn right here). Continue alone the parkway for 4KM. When you reach Mt. Seymour Road, turn left and continue straight as the road steepens. Park at the far end of the parking lot near the wooden signboard and map. Do not forget to buy a parking ticket!

Round-Trip Time: 5 Hours

Vancouver Dog Trails – Rules: On-Leash

Estimated Driving Time: 50 Minutes

Top 10 Vancouver Dog Trails

8) Mount Cheam

Mount Cheam, located in the Fraser Valley is the highest peak but one of the easiest climbs. This is a result of the logging road that allows you to get one hour away from the summit (this road is only available between July and October). This trail is perfect for bringing your pup as it is quiet and has a wide pathway.
Location:
Chilliwack

Difficulty: Intermediate

Directions: Take Highway #1 East till #119 Sardis. Turn right and follow Vedder Road until you reach a 3-way intersection – turn left. Continue to Foley Creek Forestry Service Road where you also take a left turn. Cross the bridge and turn left at the junction and then turn right on the Chipmunk Creek Forest Service Road. Continue on the narrow road until you reach the trailhead.

Note: The roads for Mount Cheam requires a car with 4-wheel drive as there are some sections that some ditches and rocks. Please be prepared to use appropriate vehicles.

Round-Trip Time: 4.5 Hours

Vancouver Dog Trails – Rules: Off-Leash

Estimated Driving Time: 2.75 Hours

Top 10 Vancouver Dog Trails

9) Stawamus Chief – The “Chief” 

“The Chief” is one of the largest, freestanding granite hiking structures in the world. This hike offers a trail to three summits. The lowest dome, and my personal favourite, takes around three hours. It has a wonderful view of the Howe Sound and Squamish – a perfect place for a nice picnic! The second and third domes take slightly longer and are much less dog friendly than the first. These two trails have some ladders and rock faces that can be challenging for your dog. I would therefore suggest the first peak, for bringing your puppy pals.


Location:
Squamish

Difficulty: Intermediate

Directions: Take Highway #1 Westbound towards Horseshoe Bay (exit on to Highway #99). Continue on the highway for 30-40 minutes, watch for Shannon Falls. Turn right at the traffic lights at the parking lot for Shannon Falls or you can continue to the Chief Provincial Park parking lot further down the Highway #99 (but you will miss Shannon Falls!).

Round-Trip Time: 6 Hours

Vancouver Dog Trails – Rules: On-Leash

Estimated Driving Time: 1 Hour

Top 10 Vancouver Dog Trails

Top 10 Vancouver Dog Trails – DIFFICULT HIKES

10) BCMC Trail (Grouse Mountain)

The BCMC Trail is located right beside the Grouse Grind Trail. This is an alternative to the Grouse Grind as it is less busy, which is why it is on our list of Vancouver dog trails. Starting from the same location as the Grind, begin hiking until you reach the Baden Powell Trail junction. Turn right at the junction and follow the trail for about 10 minutes. Here, you will reach another junction marked BCMC (take this route) and continue to the top of the mountain!

Tip: The best part of this trail is the marking system. Measure how much farther you have to go my comparing your location with the tree signs (the top is 160)!


Location:
North Vancouver

Difficulty: Difficult

Directions: Drive towards the Stanley Park Causeway and across the Lions Gate Bridge. Right after the bridge, turn right and get into the left lanes. At the lights turn onto Capilano Road. Continue Northbound until you reach the Capilano Suspension Bridge and Dam. You will end up in the parking lot.

Round-Trip Time: 1.5 Hours

Vancouver Dog Trails – Rules: Off-Leash

Note: In addition, even though this is one of the best Vancouver dog trails, dogs are not allowed on the Skyride and therefore you must hike back down.

Estimated Driving Time: 30 Hours

Top 10 Vancouver Dog Trails

How to Meet Your Fitness Goals

The hardest part about getting fit and active is taking the first step! To do this, grab a friend and your pup and try out one of these Vancouver dog trails. The more you hike the better you will feel and the stronger you will get. Furthermore, your body and your dog will love you and just think about all the amazing instagram pictures you will be able to take… Think about the hashtags… #fitlife #hikingwithdogs #whataview

Finally, couple this new activity with natural dog food options for your pet and see great improvements in overall dog health and happiness!

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