Story by Tricia Edgar
Vacay.ca Outdoors Columnist
The owl swoops low over the heads of those in the crowd, the air from its wings moving our hair. Sitting on a low post, it eyes the crowd, then moves rapidly to catch its prey. My daughter is enchanted: she’s in love with raptors, and this is one of the highlights of her summer.
Last year, we were the proud owners of two locals’ passes to our neighbourhood landmark, Grouse Mountain. The mountain is well known as a ski hill during the winter months, along with snowboarding, snowshoeing, and even outdoor skating — a rarity in the Vancouver area. During the summer, the mountain transforms into an equally lovely destination, with green, flower-speckled meadows and opportunities to hike and dine on the mountaintop.
What can you experience on Grouse Mountain this summer?
1. Enjoy a taste of Vancouver’s backcountry. One of our favourite activities is heading to the very top of the mountain and looking around at the gorgeous forested areas that surround the city.
2. Experience one of the many talks and shows. Meet grizzlies Grinder and Coola, two orphaned bears. Or learn about Canadian raptors. Oh yes, and there’s the silly and informative Lumberjack Show as well.
3. Enjoy a meal in one of the cafes at the top of Grouse. Have a coffee after your hike, or experience BC cuisine during a sit down meal at Altitudes Bistro or elevate your date night with sustainable and regional flavours at The Observatory. If you’re a consummate romantic, come for sunset and enjoy the view of the city at night.
4. Send the kids to camp on the mountain! Kids can hang out with a barn owl, learn about wilderness survival, or become a wildlife ranger for the day as you explore the sights.
If you’re going to Grouse, it’s a pretty drive over the Lions Gate Bridge through Stanley Park. You can also take the bus, save on parking, and see the sights along the way. If you’re staying in downtown Vancouver, take the Seabus across the water and look at the lovely mountain views before heading up into those same mountains. Soon, you’ll be looking down on Burrard Inlet from an entirely different perspective! After picking up a snack at the bakeries or cafes at the Quay, take the No. 236 bus from Lonsdale Quay directly up to the mountain. Along the way, you’ll also pass the daring heights of Capilano Suspension Bridge and the big trees and salmon hatchery of Capilano River Regional Park, both great sights by themselves. The bus stops right at the base of Grouse Mountain near the chair lift.
Getting to the Top
There are two ways up the mountain, and both will get your heart pounding. There’s the Grouse Mountain Skyride, an adventure for those who are wary of heights. The Skyride provides glorious views of both the urban and forested areas around Vancouver, and it’s best to take a deep breath and step right on into this safe ride.
If you’re ready for a different kind of heart pounding, you can also take the Grouse Grind up the mountain. This gruelling hiking trail is truly a grind, and it’s a favourite for fitter Vancouverites, some of whom enjoy doing the Grind as part of their daily exercise. Take some water, wear good shoes, and make sure you’re in decent shape: the 2.9-kilometre hike is no picnic and takes an average of 1.5 hours. It features 2,830 stairs, making it the world’s ultimate StairMaster. The Grouse Grind usually opens in late May or early June, although the exact opening date depends on the trail conditions.
If you’re looking for a mountain experience this summer, wander up to Grouse. Take a trip to Vancouver’s North Shore and meander through the old-growth forests of Capilano River Regional Park, then experience the alpine meadows, and lovely city and forest views from the Peak of Vancouver.
More About Grouse Mountain
- Website: http://www.grousemountain.com/
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: 1-604-984-0661
- Dining: http://www.grousemountain.com/contact#dining
- Hours: http://www.grousemountain.com/location-hours
- Cost: Click here for full details. Adult (19-64) $39.95
More Vacay.ca Coverage of Grouse Mountain