8 Tips for Hiking Vancouver Mountains

May 15, 2016 - 5 minutes read
Hiking Vancouver

Goat Mountain hike at Grouse Mountain, North Vancouver

It’s that time of year again when you can practically hear the mountains calling your name. To be sure you have all the essentials covered before heading out into the trails, we’ve put together a list of our top 8 tips for hiking Vancouver mountains.

And remember, safety doesn’t take a day off!

1. Know where you are going before you get there

Research the hike you want to do and print off copies of the descriptions to help while you are on the trail. Sometimes you can get cell phone service on the trail but oftentimes you’ll be entering into the No Service zone so don’t plan on any impromptu researching. 

Vancouver Trails is a great place to start, offering descriptions of hikes all over the Fraser Valley, including level of difficulty, estimated time, and the best season for that trail. Look at the reviews of the hike as previous hikers have posted what they have experienced on the trail and it may give you a good idea if there is still snow.

2. Know your physical limits

While the photo you saw on instagram may have boasted some beautiful views, never set out on a hike that is going to be too much for you. Start slow and work your way up to the more challenging treks to be sure that you have the stamina to get up and back without issue.

3. Embrace the buddy system

You just never know when something unexpected can happen and you can’t rely on the idea that you’ll see other people along the trail – especially as you start getting into more challenging terrain. Always always always hike with a partner and let someone who is not hiking with you know exactly where you are going and when you anticipate to be home.

4. Plan your wardrobe

It may be sunny in Vancouver, but up on the mountains it can be overcast and the weather can change quickly. There’s nothing like an unexpected downpour of rain or some unforeseen scorching sun to put a damper on your excursion so dress weather-appropriate and bring layers to add or shed as you go.

Also be sure to bring a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, a watch, a jacket and proper footwear.

5. Pack smart

Bring a small backpack with lots of water, snacks and quick energy to give yourself the extra boost if you start to feel dizzy or lightheaded. Even if you are only going for a short day hike, it’s important to be prepared that things could become a little more challenging than anticipated.

On top of food and water, you should always carry the following:

  • First Aid kit with glucose chews
  • Headlamp
  • Compass
  • Emergency blanket

…and don’t rely on your phone for these things. Though you can get an app to replace just about everything on this list, you’re left high and dry if your battery isn’t up for the challenge.

6. Stay alert, stay safe

Even along the most popular trails, you’re always running the risk of following someone else’s wrong turn or stumbling upon wildlife. Keep an eye out for appropriate trail markers as you go and if you do come across a larger animal,

7. Keep an eye on the time

Keeping track of time can mean the difference between comfortably getting back to the trailhead while it’s light out and having to bust out that headlamp – which of course, you’ve brought with you, you smart packer, you!

Even if you haven’t hit the summit yet, if the hike is taking longer than expected and the watch says it’s time to head back, plan on turning around early.

8. Take it all in

We are so fortunate to live in a city that offers amazing trails, spectacular views, and great people to explore it with. Don’t take this things for granted – get out there, be safe, and take on the adventure with your whole self.

Pay attention to your body, your surroundings, and enjoy every moment!

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