Glacier-fed lakes, lofty ridges, colourful meadows, and sweeping viewpoints — these are the destinations that take a hike from average to amazing.
Luckily, southwestern B.C. has these spectacular hiking destinations in spades. Here are five top-notch hikes near Vancouver for breathtaking scenery.
All of these trips are featured in my new book of 55 hikes — Destination Hikes In and Around Southwestern British Columbia: Swimming Holes, Mountain Peaks, Waterfalls, and More.
A hike to the highest knoll on Galiano Island begins with a delightful ferry ride to Sturdies Bay. But there’s no need to shell out for transporting a vehicle across the water. Foot passengers can make it to Mount Galiano and back in a day trip. Our itinerary also includes stops at a swimming beach and a Japanese Canadian historic site.
Among the turquoise jewels of the Coast Mountains, Wedgemount Lake’s popularity with selfie-seekers perhaps pales only in comparison to Joffre Lakes. It’s no mystery why. The prize for undertaking this steep trail is a dramatic tarn fed by melting glaciers and lorded over by the highest peak in Garibaldi Provincial Park. A waterfall and wildflowers add sparkle to the ascent.
Twin Sisters (The Lions)
Known as Ch’ich’iyúy to the Squamish Nation, the Twin Sisters (The Lions) stand tall over the Vancouver skyline. The classic summer hike to the West Lion leads to the approach ridge just shy of the peak. Most hikers would be wise to stop there. For experienced scramblers only — and only in ideal conditions — beyond lies the exhilarating climb to the summit.
Statlu Lake has much to offer: colossal conifers, wondrous waterfalls, majestic mountains, and superb swimming. The price of admission: a lengthy approach on logging roads, an overgrown trail, and lots of deadfall. Early in the season, high water can make for dangerous creek crossings, but summer and fall are excellent times to visit. Don’t try to view Statlu Falls though; people have died doing exactly that.
The inviting ridge of Zoa Peak rewards hikers with easily gotten views of its dramatic neighbours in the Cascade Mountains. In summertime, many-hued wildflowers light up the path from almost start to finish. Found on the edge of the Coquihalla Summit Recreation Area, Zoa Peak is a deservedly popular destination in all seasons.
Reminders: Check current conditions, take the 10 essentials, leave a trip plan with a responsible person, and make sure to leave no trace.
To learn more about the 55 hiking trips in Destination Hikes In and Around Southwestern British Columbia, check out 105hikes.com or follow Stephen Hui on Facebook or Instagram.