Situated in the rugged coastline along the shores of Howe Sound in West Vancouver, the scenic mountains and passing boats offer spectacular views for visitors to Whytecliff Park to enjoy. Not only does Whytecliff Park have a series of hiking trails but you can also explore the beach and island area, have a family picnic in the park, or even scuba dive in what's known as a famous area for underwater diving.
The park is divided into two sections, with the upper section having the majority of hiking trails and being much quieter than the beach area. There are some short trails from the beach and along the shoreline edge near the main parking lot but if you want to explore the hiking trails, you will have to start from the top of the overflow parking lot.
At the top of the overflow parking, a small trail climbs steeply into the forest. A short climb up the hill and there is an unmarked set of rock stairs on the right which are easy to miss. The viewpoint at the top of these stairs used to overlook Batchelor Bay but the trees have grown over the years to block this view.
Back on the main trail and another short walk uphill, the trail forks at a fire hydrant into what is the first of a few loops. You will want to plan your route so that you take one part of the loop first and then return via the other part of the loop. Go left at the junction and up a short hill to where a bench sits overlooking Howe Sound and the passing ferry and sailboats below.
Continue along the trail as it winds around the rock. Stay to the left and walk out onto a rocky clearing as it gradually descends before meeting up with another trail. Go left and continue your hike, staying left at the next two junctions and catching glimpses of the occasional view of Howe Sound.
Eventually the trail meets a final junction where a short trail on the right takes you out of the park and into a nearby neighbourhood. Go right at this junction and begin the loop back to the overflow parking lot. This section of trail weaves through a forested area that is quiet compared to the popular beach area of the park that most people are familiar with. Not far along the trail, go left at the junction and continue walking through the forest.
The trail briefly backtracks as you ascend quickly up a hill before meeting up with a section of trail you were on earlier. Go left and walk back along the path, staying to the left and, this time, passing through the middle of a big rock. After walking between the rock walls, you reach the junction with the fire hydrant and it's only a short walk back down the hill to the parking lot.
Whytecliff Park Beach and Island
To further explore the park, walk to the main parking lot area and not far from the entrance, follow a paved walkway at the side down towards the beach. During low tide, you can walk along the rocks to Whytecliff Island and climb to its peak but be sure to return before the tide rises and traps you from reaching the shore.
At the west side of the beach, there is a trail that climbs onto the large rock marked only by rock steps. Follow these steps as it ascends over the rock and then into a roughly marked path that weaves it's way high above the shoreline. Along the route, you will find several benches to sit and enjoy the view and even a picnic table. The end of the trail exits back into the parking lot at the opposite end of the park near the observation point.
How to get to Whytecliff Park
Estimated Driving Time from Vancouver: 45 minutes
Whytecliff Park is located along the western most shoreline of West Vancouver near Horseshoe Bay. From downtown Vancouver, drive to Georgia Street and head westbound as it merges onto the Stanley Park causeway before reaching the Lions Gate Bridge. After driving across the bridge, go straight towards West Vancouver, looping around the offramp before merging onto Marine Drive. Stay in the right lane and turn right at the first light and drive up Taylor Way. Drive under the highway overpass and turn left, taking Highway #1 westbound.
Drive along the highway towards Horseshoe Bay and take exit #2 for Eagleridge Drive. Follow the road until you reach an overpass and turn left onto Marine Drive. At the roundabout, continue straight along Marine Drive and follow the road as it weaves through a residential area before reaching Batchelor Bay on the left. Continue a short distance further to the main parking lot on the left and the overflow parking lot just up the hill on the right.
View a map of Driving directions to Whytecliff Park.
Transit Access to Whytecliff Park
It is possible to take public transit to Whytecliff Park but it involves walking at least an extra 2km from the nearest bus stop in Horseshoe Bay.
From downtown Vancouver near Granville and Georgia, take bus #257 Horseshoe Bay Express. This bus takes about 40 minutes to reach the community of Horseshoe Bay. After a long drive along the highway, exit the bus at Marine Drive and Nelson Avenue where there is a big roundabout (ask the bus driver if you are unsure).
From this point, walk to the other side of the roundabout and follow Marine Drive as it weaves through a residential area and continues to Whytecliff Park. Be careful walking along the road during the last section as there are no sidewalks and the road is quite narrow.
Dogs at Whytecliff Park
Dogs are permitted in most areas of Whytecliff Park as long as they are on a leash and their owners pickup and depose of any dog droppings. There are a few areas have clearly marked signs where dogs are not allowed.
Toilets at Whytecliff Park
Public toilets are located in a couple of places in the lower section of Whytecliff Park. The first set it at the far end of the main parking lot and the second is at the bottom of a paved pathway next to the beach. There are no toilets located along the upper trails of the park.
A view of Whytecliff Island from the beach area at Whytecliff Park.
A view of the Bowen Island and towards Howe Sound from Whytecliff Park
Other trails located in the The North Shore region:
Baden Powell Deep Cove to Lynn Canyon
Baden Powell Lynn Canyon to Grouse
Big Cedar and Kennedy Falls Trail
Brothers Creek Loop
Capilano Pacific Trail
Hanes Valley Trail
Little Goat Mountain
St Mark's Summit
Two Canyon Loop