From nature to shopping and food, West Vancouver has a little bit of everything. We’ve rounded up our favourite things to do in this beautiful area.
If you’re looking for an easy, picturesque hike that offers spectacular views of the ocean and surrounding mountains, look no further than Lighthouse Park. This forested strand of old growth forest is a popular spot in West Vancouver and offers a number of hiking trails that are suitable for all skill levels.
The forest is dense and rich with life, which makes it a great place to spend a day exploring. The park also features several rocky outcrops on the ocean shore that offer fantastic views of the Salish Sea, downtown Vancouver and Stanley Park.
Hiking through the forest at Lighthouse Park is an experience that you won’t soon forget. There are a number of different trails to choose from, including the Valley Trail, which will take you through the virgin rainforest and out onto the ocean for some stunning views.
This park is a must-visit for anyone who loves nature and the outdoors. It features a variety of easy-to-navigate trails that will lead you through some of the largest Douglas Firs in Greater Vancouver, as well as stunning views of the coast and the nearby lighthouse.
The park is tucked away off Marine Drive in West Vancouver and is a quick trip from the city center. To get there, head west on Marine Drive until you reach the turnoff for Lighthouse Park; it’s clearly marked on the side of the road.
There are numerous beginner-level hiking trails in the park that will lead you to the Point Atkinson Lighthouse, which was first charted and named by Captain George Vancouver in 1792. The lighthouse is a National Historic Site of Canada and it sits on a granite cliff overlooking the entrance to Burrard Inlet, offering visitors a chance to see one of the city’s most iconic sites.
The park also features a beach and picnic areas, making it a great location for families to enjoy a walk or lunch together. It is a popular spot to watch the sunset, so make sure to bring your camera and plan on spending some time there.
Cypress Falls Park
Located in West Vancouver, Cypress Falls Park is a beautiful spot to visit for a day of hiking and exploring the nature. The park offers a variety of hiking trails that offer breathtaking views of the landscape and waterfalls.
The main trail in the park is easy to follow and features a number of waterfalls that you can see from a rocky viewing area. The falls are a great place to stop and enjoy the beauty of the surroundings while taking in the refreshing air.
If you are looking for a more challenging hike, you can choose to explore the upper part of the park. This section of the hike offers a view of the lower and upper waterfalls as well as a grove of old-growth trees. These ancient cypress trees are over 300 years old and are considered some of the oldest in North America.
When you get to the upper section of the trail, there is a wooden bridge that you can cross over to access the falls. The falls are incredibly impressive and they are worth the trip to explore them up close.
You can also head to the lower section of the park and visit an old-growth grove of moss-covered Western Cedar and Douglas Fir trees. This is a lovely place to spend some time with your family or friends, especially if you are visiting in the summer.
Another popular activity is to go hiking in the forest and take a dip in one of the many natural swimming holes. This is a perfect way to experience the natural beauty of the area and get a good workout at the same time!
There are also a few places that you can climb to for incredible views of the surrounding forest. Some of these climbs are steep, but not dangerous. This is a great place to bring your children, but be sure to keep an eye out for bears in the area.
If you want to get more adventurous, try climbing the cliffs near the upper falls. This is a great spot to watch the water rush over the rocks and tumble into the canyon below. The trail can be a bit scary, so make sure to be cautious and wear good hiking boots.
Ambleside Park, one of West Vancouver’s most popular parks, features a lovely sandy beach and scenic Seawalk that runs along the shoreline. There is also a skateboard park, a pitch and putt course and plenty of green spaces for picnicking or relaxing in the sun.
The 1.2km (0.7 mile) Centennial Seawalk is a favorite among walkers and joggers looking to catch the breeze and enjoy spectacular views of Stanley Park, Lions Gate Bridge and downtown Vancouver. This waterfront promenade is also home to a dog park, a baseball field and tennis courts. There are washrooms and a small concession stand as well.
In spring, you can see a Green Heron returning from its wintering grounds in the south to nest and mate at Ambleside Park. This migratory bird is only found in this park and is a must-see if you’re visiting West Vancouver.
You can also watch a salmon run in the Capilano River near Ambleside Park in September, when dozens of pleasure craft drift-fish just offshore. Or, if you’re into kayaking, you can follow the Capilano River Trail to First Narrows, where the river is navigable by kayak.
Walking trails at Ambleside Park offer a diverse range of scenery and are perfect for any skill level. A few of the most popular walking paths are the Baden Powell Trail, a 5.5 km route that stretches from Horseshoe Bay to Deep Cove and the Centennial Seawalk.
There are many other hiking trails around Ambleside Park, as well. The Baden Powell Trail is an ideal place to start if you’re looking for a challenging hike, while the breezier Centennial Seawalk offers a more relaxed experience.
The cliffs at Ambleside Park are perfect for rock climbing, and there are many opportunities to take in the gorgeous views of Stanley Park and Lions Gate Bridge from the park. The area is also home to one of the few remaining original forests in Greater Vancouver, with over 60 species residing there.
Ambleside Park is also a great destination for sports enthusiasts, with 3 tennis courts, a skateboard park and a fitness circuit. Located just 15 minutes from downtown Vancouver, it is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike.
Whale Watching in Vancouver is a great way to get up close and personal with the majestic creatures that call the Pacific Coast home. Tours take you out on the water to spot a range of species, including orcas, humpbacks and minkes. You might also spot sea lions, seals and porpoises.
While many whales are spotted off the coast of Vancouver during the summer, you can see them year-round, too. In addition to humpbacks and orcas, you might see grey whales or Pacific white-sided dolphins during the winter and spring.
The best time to see killer whales in Vancouver is during spawning season, when salmon migrate up the Fraser River and come into contact with orcas that feed on them. During fall, these whales may be seen migrating south looking for warmer waters.
You can also go whale watching on the west coast of Vancouver Island, where the Georgia Strait is home to a variety of different sea creatures. These include Pacific white-sided dolphins, harbour porpoises, Dall’s porpoises and harbor seals.
There are several whale-watching tours in the area, ranging from budget to high-end. These companies all have knowledgeable guides who will point out the whales in the waters and offer tips on how to spot them.
Another good option is Wild Whales Vancouver, which operates a fleet of zodiac boats from Granville Island. They have an excellent success rate and offer a “come-again-if-there’s-no-whales” guarantee, which means you can go back on the same day for free.
It’s also a good idea to go on a day with little or no wind in the forecast, because this can make it easier to spot the whales. However, the weather in the Pacific Northwest can change quickly, so it’s best to check the forecast before you set out for your trip.
You can also go whale watching in Tofino, which is a popular surfing destination and an ideal place to spot orcas. This town is also famous for its hiking trails, which are a must-visit for any Pacific Northwest visitor.
Among many other things, David A. Grantham is a contributing author to UmassExtension West Vancouver Blo. He is a renowned expert on real estate in BC.
Born in North Vancouver, Louisiana, Dr. Grantham grew up in Lower Lonsdale. He then went on to complete his business degree at the University British Columbia. As of this writing, Grantham has completed over 100 projects, including the development of a high rise building in Vancouver.
He is a husband, father, son, brother, and friend. He was a dedicated outdoorsman and enjoyed sports such as hunting, fishing, scuba diving, and snow skiing. His wife, Alison Grantham, and their two daughters survived him. He is survived by his wife Alison Martin Grantham and two daughters.