5 Family-Friendly Hiking Trails in Metro Vancouver
Balancing work, life and a family can get a little tougher over summer break. If you’re a parent to school-aged kids, it takes a lot of creativity to keep kids entertained throughout summer – especially if you are on a budget.
Spending a little time in nature isn’t just a good way to while away the dog days of summer. It’s also a great way to take a breather from your hectic schedule and reconnect with your family. Luckily, British Columbia is perfect for free outdoor activities.
We’ve put together a few family-friendly, accessible hikes for you to explore…but before you commit, here are a few things to keep in mind:
● Be mindful of your child’s physical ability. A trail that is considered short and easy for an adult may be challenging for small kids, especially if they are not used to taking long walks.
● Pack lots of snacks, plenty of water and take breaks. Kids will be happier and more motivated if they are not hungry, thirsty or bored. Adding a few stops for a snack and allowing them to explore the surroundings will make the outing much more enjoyable.
● Make sure you keep your kids close by. Although the trails listed below are usually busy and very well marked, there may be some wildlife around.
5 Metro Vancouver Hikes your Kids will Love
1) Coho Loop at Capilano River Regional Park
Photo of Capilano River Regional Park by @walneylad on Flickr Creative Commons
There are many small trails at this beautiful North Shore attraction, a good start is the Coho Loop, which is a flat and short hike that can be explored year round. Start from the Salmon Hatchery entrance to the park, where you’ll be entertained by the fish ladder and learn a few things about salmon spawning. After exploring the hatchery, enter the forest and follow signs to the Coho Loop Trail. There are several small bridges to cross, big roots to step on and the scenery is breathtaking.
2) Rice Lake Loop at Lynn Headwaters
Rice Lake by Bruce Irschick on Flickr Creative Commons
This is the perfect hike for kids all ages, including babies in strollers. The 3 km trail around Rice Lake has several viewpoints, benches and a nice covered area by the lake for a picnic. There is currently no access to the Lynn Headwaters parking lots, but this trail is accessible from the Seymour Valley Trailway parking lot.
3) Lighthouse Park
Lighthouse Park by Derek Tsang on Flickr Creative Commons
There are several trails through this beautiful coastal park located in West Vancouver. Trail maps are available at the Lighthouse Park entrance. For those who just want a short walk down towards the lighthouse, there is a wide trail that will take you there, and it should take less than 15 minutes.
4) Stanley Park Trails
Beaver Lake in Stanley Park by Christopher Porter on Flickr Creative Commons
This world-famous park is full of hiking trails that will make you feel like you’re far from downtown Vancouver, making it easy to explore the nature without leaving the city. Many locals aren’t aware that there are over 27 km of hiking trails in Stanley Park.
4) Sasamat Lake Loop
Sasamat Lake Bridge by @BumFluff2009 on Flickr Creative Commons
Sasamat Lake (aka White Pine Beach) in Port Moody is a very busy spot on summer weekends, but the loop around the lake is a nice 3 km hike that can be accessed year-round. If going on a summer weekend, make sure to be there early (or after 4 pm) so you won’t get stuck at the closed gate. After the hike, why not stick around and take a dip in one of Metro Vancouver’s warmest lakes!
Now this may be the best tip of this post: make sure to speak with your family about North Shore Rescue’s tips to avoid getting lost and the 10 Essentials of hiking. There is no better time and place to get the kids introduced to trail safety than on a beginner-level hike.
Marina Arnaud is part of the YWCA Marketing and Communications team and is also a mom and avid hiker.
The YWCA Metro Vancouver understands that the work/life balance is a societal issue and requires a systemic response. We encourage a broader acceptance of family-friendly workplace practices, and offer our expertise to organizations seeking to improve productivity, retention and the working environment.
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