This past weekend, I decided it was time to stop talking about enjoying all of the amazing things you “can” do in Vancouver and instead….make it happen! After all, this is an amazing city with all kinds of outdoor activities available right at our doorstep. Just check out a local’s perspective on the Tourism Vancouver website to see what I mean. (Just for the record…..I want to try all of these within the next year!)
So, with that in mind, I decided there is no better way to test one’s physical condition than to go ahead an climb a mountain…right!?!? When you look North from downtown Vancouver, there are many amazing mountains that fill the skyline. The biggest of these mountains is Grouse Mountain.
Grouse Mountain is just 15 minutes North of downtown Vancouver and is a major tourist attraction around here. Some of the highlights include a large chalet at the top complete with amazing views of the city, a lumberjack show (that was surprisingly good….considering how “touristy” it sounds), a Wildlife Refuge that houses two Grizzly bears and a massive wind turbine that includes a “viewPOD” that really gives you a bird’s eye view of Vancouver.
Now, there are two ways to the top of Grouse Mountain.
- Take the Skyride – very quick, painless and amazing views
- Battle the Grouse Grind Trail – very long, painful and amazing views (of the forest)
The Grouse Grind Trail is an extremely steep and mountainous trail that climbs 853 m (2,799 ft) over a distance of 2.9 km (2 mi), with an average grade of 30 degrees. The trail, nicknamed “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster”, is notoriously gruelling due to its steepness and mountainous terrain. Hikers, who often time themselves on the trail, reach the top in approximately 90 minutes on average although some who are very fit can finish in under 30 minutes.
Let’s just say…..it took me 90 minutes to get to the top. But, the experience was amazing and the reward at the top was worth every step! Check out this 8:00 minute video I put together that summarizes the whole experience.
Whether you are looking for something physically challenging or just a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon, Grouse Mountain has something for everyone. There are many things to explore in Vancouver, but after battling the Grouse Grind Trail, I will be back for more and will be looking to improve my time!!
If you are from Vancouver or have visited Vancouver in the past, let me know what else I should try out? I’ve seen kite-boarders down by English Bay….might have to give that a shot. Also, I’d love to hear any advice people have on the best places to kayak around here. This is an amazing place and I want to take it ALL in!!