Hiking with your dog can be a truly joyous experience. As a hiker and a dog owner, you and your furry companion are likely getting anxious with anticipation as you prepare to head to the beautiful Metro Vancouver trails over the upcoming months. Yet, with the many trails made available to us, there are different “rules”, per se, for our little companions. While some trails are more than welcoming to off-leash pets, others might not be so friendly. Before you embark on a weekend adventure, it’s important to be aware of where you can – and cannot – take your pup.
Here are the 5 best dog friendly trails in Metro Vancouver:
1. Capilano Pacific Trail
The Capilano Pacific Trail is a beautiful, easy walk that is about 7.5km from West Vancouver to North Vancouver. If arriving by vehicle, you can park at one of two places – either up at the Capilano Dam, to descend along the trail, or around the Park Royal area in West Vancouver, to ascend and return back.
This trail is ideal for dogs who are beginning to learn how to navigate off-leash. I started taking my Labradoodle (pictured here!) to this trail when he was about 4 months old. It’s a perfect blend of easy, sometimes single track trails to keep a close watch on your pup, while granting him or her a new off-leash experience. There are varying rules around the Capilano Pacific Trail that allow for on- and off-leash, so be aware of signage.
Did you know that you can bring your dog up the BCMC? Running in parallel to the ever-so-popular Grouse Grind, the BCMC is just as difficult (though more nostalgic and with fewer stairs). It’s a challenging hike for us, so be ready with water and treats for your pup.
Noteworthy – You will need to be prepared to descend the BCMC, as dogs are not allowed on the tram down.
3. Derby Reach Regional Park
Venturing out to the Langley area, Derby Reach is a year-round option to visit. It offers minimal elevation gain, yet beautiful views of the Fraser River. There is also an off-leash dog area as you begin the Houston Trail (when parking at the Derby Reach campground parking lot) if your dog needs an energy release before driving home. Be warned, the Derby Reach parking lot can get busy in a hurry! Park earlier in the day, or consider starting in Fort Langley and extending your walk. There are plenty of great coffee shops in downtown Fort Langley to visit.
4. Norvan Falls
As we continue building through our list of the best dog friendly trails in Metro Vancouver, I’ve included one of the longer, more challenging distances for our friendly pooches. Norvan Falls is for the intermediate dogs, familiar with trail behaviour and etiquette. This route is frequented by trail runners, especially as we move through the Summer, so it’s important that our four-legged friends are comfortable with single track routes.
5. Dog Mountain
How could we not include Dog Mountain on our list of the best dog friendly trails in beautiful Metro Vancouver?
Dog Mountain is a short, and relatively easy hike from Mount Seymour that offers spectacular views with minimal effort. It’s not a heart-pumping hike like some of the others on our list, so take comfort in filling your pack with plenty of food, water and dog treats without breaking a significant sweat.
When hiking with your pup, it’s important to be ready with food and water for not only yourself, but your four-legged companion. Be aware of potential trail hazards, such as wildlife and water streams, and ensure your little one can withstand the duration of the trails that you choose. Happy hiking!