It's (finally!) time to get outside and enjoy nature.
It's been a long, hard winter for all of us, but—good news!—warm weather has finally arrived and it feels like summer is just around the corner. And because Vancouverites never miss an opportunity to get outside (see your best #vanmagram pics from the sunny May long weekend here), we've compiled a list of six amazing hikes for you to try this season. Whether you're a veteran hiker or just feel like conquering a nice-and-easy climb, we've got a trail for you.(Photo: GoToVan, Flickr
Location: Squamish Round Trip: 11 km (6 hours) Difficulty: Intermediate This popular hike is a must-do for tourists and locals alike. Located in Squamish, the towering Chief offers beautiful views of Howe Sound and Garibaldi Provincial Park. There are three peaks in total, and though you have the option of climbing all of them in one day, you can end your trek at the top of South Peak (3 km). Either way, you'll be rewarded with a stunning panoramic view from the top.
2. Nairn Falls
Location: Nairn Falls Provincial Park Round Trip: 3 km (1.5 hours) Difficulty: Easy This beautiful waterfall is located just off the Sea to Sky highway, between Whistler and Pemberton. The hike to the falls is short but sweet—and definitely worth checking out even if you're an experienced hiker. Follow the trail along the river (making sure to stop for photos!) and you'll eventually reach a large rocky area: this is the first viewpoint, from which you can see the upper section of Nairn Falls. After you've enjoyed the view, continue down the rocky path towards a chain-link fence. Go left and follow the fence until you see a downward path; follow it until you reach the lowest accessible point, where you'll be able to view the waters rushing through the canyon. Be sure to take a seat on the rocks, relax and soak in the scenery while you're there.
Location: Garibaldi Provincial Park Round Trip: 30 km (11 hours) Difficulty: Advanced The view from Panorama Ridge is spectacular—you'll marvel at Lake Garibaldi's bright turquoise waters and the sight of Black Tusk peak—but getting there will take some hard work. Experienced hikers can complete the hike in one day, but the team at Vancouver Trails recommends making a pit stop at Taylor Meadows where you can set up camp for the night and then continue hiking to the summit the next day.
Location: West Vancouver Round Trip: Up to 6 km (2 hours) Difficulty: Easy Located in West Vancouver, Lighthouse Park is surrounded by coastal and alpine beauty, including some of the city's largest Douglas fir and Western red cedar trees. There are several trails scattered throughout, from uphill treks to meandering walks. If you're not in the mood for an uphill battle, follow the downward trail (beginning from the entrance to the parking lot) for 10 minutes then continue along the rocky outcrop to the lighthouse viewpoint. Starboat Cove, a short 15-minute walk from the lighthouse (towards the beach) also offers beautiful views—and is the perfect post-hike picnic spot.
5. Elfin Lakes
Location: Garibaldi Provincial Park Round Trip: 22 km (6 hours) Difficulty: Intermediate The two small lakes that give this hike its name are nestled within the scenic Garibaldi Provincial Park. Begin the hike from the parking lot, pass the yellow gate and walk uphill along the wide gravel road. After an hour or so, you'll reach Red Heather Meadows, the home of a shelter used by skiers and snowshoers during the colder months. From here, continue along the narrow hiking trail (the vegetation should be getting thin at this point). The trail will eventually widen and join with the gravel road. As you admire the scenery on your left, the trail will start to level. For the next half hour or so, the trail will once again descend. At this point, you can complete the final stretch down to the lakes.
(Photo: Ruth Hartnup, Flickr
6. Quarry Rock
Location: North Vancouver Round Trip: 3 km (1.5 hours) Difficulty: Easy If you're in the mood to get out of the city, but don't want to exert yourself too much, this short hike in Deep Cove is for you! Fuel up on a Honey's doughnut before making your way to the Baden-Powell trail; from here, follow the Quarry Rock route markers (for approx. 20 minutes) to Cove Creek Bridge where you'll want to head straight past the junction towards another bridge that crosses Francis Creek. From this point, the large Quarry Rock summit (from which you can take in views of Indian Arm, Burnaby Mountain and Eagle Ridge) is just a short trek away.
Which hike is your fave? Let us know in the comments below!