Years past in Vietnam, I haven’t got many chances to exercise outside. Living in a big and crowded city means sweating in the gym under air conditioning. However, this life-style has changed dramatically since I came to Vancouver for my study 2 years ago. I was so surprised at first about the various occasions when I could enjoy fresh air outside. Whenever I’m done with assignments, research papers and library, I will always take a walk in parks, lakes, or along trails. Weekend will be trails and hiking time to challenge my physical ability. As much as I can see, people around me might have different life-style and hobbies, but doing trails and hikes is the most common thing around here, and it makes me feel like I’m living in such a well-fit community. For me, there are 3 most enjoyable trails / hikes that I’ve done more than a few times:
1. Lighthouse park, West Vancouver.
Distance: ~ 3km round trip
Rate: Easy – kid friendly
Season: Year round
Dog: yes, on leash
The Lighthouse park has quite a few trails, it is up to you to decide which direction you want to explore. Starting from the parking lot, which is quite small and crowded all the time, the path is clear and wide, leading you through the forest. If you head toward the lighthouse, you could not actually get to it since it’s closed to public. Instead, you will be able to reach the shore and climb to one of the cliff that is photo-perfect. This will be an easy 1 hour in-and-out, or a 2-3 hours chilling around the area with lunch or some snacks in the forest.
2. Gold Creek Falls hike in Golden Ears park, Maple Ridge
Distance: ~2km to Lower Falls, ~5km to Upper Falls
Rate: Easy – kid friendly
Season: Year round, possibility closed under some winter condition.
Go to Golden Ears park, but do not stop at Allouette Lake South Beach (although it is chill and easy to access). Instead, go ahead and follow the drive for another 7km along the lake shore, you will eventually reach the Gold Creek Parking which is the trailhead of Gold Creek Falls trail. Now there are quite a few options for you to enjoy: 1- Head to Lower Falls, take your time and take advantage of this easy trail; 2- Hurry up to get past Lower Falls and head straight to Upper Falls to enjoy the good sweating; 3- Go along the creek and head to Allouete Lake North Beach, which is much less crowed than the South Beach and is a lot more fun. Make sure to bring your lunch and your swim suit during summer time.
3. Lindeman Lake, Chilliwack
Distance: ~ 6km round trip
Elevation gain: ~200m
Season: late Spring – early Autumn
Rate: Easy to Moderate – kid friendly with adult monitoring
Almost 2 hours drive from Vancouver and you’ll end up in the middle of nowhere. Well, not exactly, since this hike is very well-known and tend to get crowded on every weekend throughout summer time. Hikers might park as far as 2km away from the trailhead for this hike. Nevertheless, after 45 minutes of hiking with little bit of climbing, the lake is such a rewarding sight. It is then up to you to decide whether to go up another 4 km to reach the top of the mountain, or stop there to enjoy the glacier lake and call it a day. When you’re back down the parking area, don’t hesitate to drive forward 500m and find the entrance to Chilliwack Lake. Trust me, you will get drown by the photo-perfect / scenic view !