Grouse Mountain was our final hike in North Vancouver but it was also my favourite so I couldn’t wait to write about it. There are two trails on this mountain: The Grouse Grind and BCMC trail. The Grouse Grind can be quite crowded so we opted for the quieter BCMC trail instead, especially as it looked a bit more scenic.
If you are looking for a leisurely hike, the BCMC trail is probably not the one to choose. It’s the equivalent of a 200 storey building in height and is a steep, uphill climb all the way. The Grouse Grind is largely steps but the BCMC trail is a tangle of roots, rocks and dirt ledges. It’s my favourite type of hiking even if it’s a bit more precarious under foot.
Golden rule of hiking… always read the warnings:
We timed this adventure perfectly — the weather was the coolest it had been all week and the air quality had improved after the ongoing BC wild fires.
As we climbed, the mist got thicker and colder. Mountains always look better in less than perfect weather in my opinion and a few people mentioned how beautiful it looked when we crossed paths.
As you can see, the trail was pretty mammoth. There are 160 numbered orange markers to help you roughly gauge your progress. Or in my case, how long until our mid way cookie break at marker 80. These markers are good motivation for when your legs start to burn!
This is me about 2/3 of the way up. As you can see, I was a total sweat bag! I can see why the signs recommend bringing a minimum 1 litre of water. People who hiked up the mountain were easy to spot because their clothes were super sweaty — anyone not caked in sweat was a Gondola go’er.
These photos don’t really do the scale of everything justice so I made a short video of clips from my phone. Some of them aren’t great quality but at least you can see what it was like. I got a bit of a wobble on a couple of times but I promise I was more stable than I looked.
Two hours and lots of photos later, we approached the summit of Grouse Mountain. The mist hid any decent views below but the hike up was so beautiful it didn’t matter.
Due to the steepness there were a few signs advising it wasn’t safe to hike down. The trail is very narrow in places and I think you could put other people in danger if they had to step to the edge to move out of your way. As much as I would have liked to hiked down we took the Gondola instead. Although there wasn’t much to see, I loved the eeriness of seeing trees creep out of the mist as made our way down the mountain.
And that’s our hike on the BCMC trail. We had such a great day! It’s easily one of my all time top 3 hikes. I’m really proud of our bodies for plodding up and up and up. Good work legs, we bloody made it!
Travel notes — public transport to the BCMC trail
The BCMC trail is easy to get to from Central or North Vancouver. From Central Vancouver:
- Take the train to Waterfront.
- Then board the SeaBus to Lonsdale Quay (North Vancouver) — the entrance is in Waterfront station so it’s easy to find. The journey across the water takes around 12 mins and leaves every 15 mins.
- Take the 236 bus from Lonsdale Quay to Grouse Mountain. The bus station is opposite the SeaBus entrance/exit. Lonsdale Quay market is a great place to pick some last minute hiking snacks too.
We bought a single use Compass day pass for $10 each which covered all of the transport above. Bargain!