Books are great gifts during the holidays. Here’s a list of hiking books that will make any outdoor enthusiast very happy.
Best Hikes and Walks of Southwest British Columbia by Dawn Hanna
Given to me as a Christmas gift in the 90’s, the Dawn Hanna book is the first hiking book I owned and really got me into hiking, The nice thing about this book is it has colour photos, colour maps, and a wide range of easy, intermediate, and difficult trails that cover the North Shore, Sea To Sky, Pemberton, and Chilliwack areas well. It also includes a lot of information about the area where the hike is in, such as different animals, types of plants, and some history.
Two things worth mentioning are, most of the trails in the book are the “most common” hiking trails and plenty of information can be found online for many of these. Still, for those interested in extending their hiking beyond a few trails they normally do, this is a good book to start with. Second, a few trail descriptions might be outdated, it’s a great resource to get inspired, and make sure you get current information online.
105 HIKES IN AND AROUND SOUTHWESTERN BC BY STEPHEN HUI
This book that was published in 2018 highlights several of the many great hikes in the region. The trails included are meant as day-hikes from Vancouver and range in hiking time from 3 hours up to 12 hours with a varying degree of difficult but leaning more towards the intermediate hiker and up.
Thanks to Steve Chapman, the topographical trail maps are greatly improved over previous editions.
I really enjoyed the contributions from Coquitlam’s Search and Rescue’s Michael Coyle on Being Prepared and Jaime Adams’ Ethical Hiking.
109 Walks in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland by Mary Macaree and David Macaree
If you’re looking for easy walks and not strenuous hikes that go up a mountain, this book is for you. It covers several neighbourhood walking trails that many people wouldn’t consider hikes but are non-the-less enjoyable walks on trails and with great scenery. There are trails along Burrard Inlet in Burnaby, in Kitsilano in Vancouver, and several trails east of the city in Surrey, Fort Langley, and more.
Some of these trails I’ve found to be a bit too easy. Also, several do not have a significant site to see, like a view or a waterfall. None-the-less, they are still nice walks and I often find myself using this book in the winter months when it’s raining in the city and snow covers the local mountains.
BEER HIKING PACIFIC NORTHWEST BY BEERS AT THE BOTTOM
A quirky book that will make a nice gift for someone that’s into beer and hiking. Beer Hiking Pacific Northwest features a curated list of hiking trails in southwestern British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon that are located near some micro-breweries, perfect for that after-hike bevy.
The book features several trails from the Vancouver, BC, region including popular hikes like the Diez Vistas, Whistler Train Wreck, Abby Grind, and more. Each hike is appropriated “paired” with a nearby brewery so you can enjoy a post-hike beer after completing the trail.
Whistler Hiking Guide by Brian Finestone & Kevin Hodder
A wonderful book of hiking trails that focuses on the Whistler area. The booking includes detailed information on trails as well as local geology and wildflowers, which comes in handy when exploring Whistler in late-July and August.
The one thing I’ve enjoyed about this book is it includes the major hiking trails around Whistler but also several hikes and walks that other books don’t have and only locals would be familiar with. The book is also small in the sense it’s very portable and can easily fit in a small pack, meaning it comes along for several of the outings.
Burke and Widgeon: A Hiker’s Guide by Lyle Litzenberger
I discovered this book when I joined the Burke Mountain Naturalists on their annual hike along the Woodland Walk Trail to Sawblade Falls. The author, Lyle Litzenberger, also joined us on the hike and it was interesting hearing stories from him and other club members about the often “forgotten” Provincial Park in the Coquitlam area.
Lyle has taken great pains in mapping out and detailing the more accessible trails in Pinecone-Burke Provincial Park, including those on Burke Mountain in in the Widgeon Creek area. There are 28 trails included in the book, each with detailed descriptions, a trail GPS map, photos, and even some history and other information about the area.
Of interest is this book provides probably the most detailed information on reaching the Widgeon Creek Campground over land via a mutli-day trip. I am definitely looking forward to exploring more of the trails listed in this book.
The Great Hikes of Vancouver by Karl Woll (eBook)
Not a physical book but definitely worth a mention, Karl from Outdoor Vancouver has written an eBook that you can load onto your mobile device. The very reasonably priced book focuses on 10 trails, providing stats, detailed descriptions, and other pertinent information on the region.
In addition, Karl runs a local website called Outdoor Vancouver which contains plenty of information on adventures around Vancouver. He has also been a contributor to Vancouver Trails with his blogs about trail running.
Other Local Hiking Books
There are other local hiking books that I haven’t owned but that’s not to say they aren’t good resources too. The following few books come highly recommended:
Off the Beaten Path: A Hiking Guide to Vancouver’s North Shore by Norman D. Watt
The 2nd edition of this book featuring North and West Vancouver trails, also available as an eBook, was released in March 2014. It adds 8 new hikes, including North Shore “high points” such as Mt. Strachan, Grouse Mtn, Mt. Fromme and Lynn Peak, as well as updating all of the original 31 hikes to reflect changes to trailheads, signage, trail descriptions and, in some cases, to include winter snow hiking information or additional photographs. Many of the hikes feature sites of local historical interest, such as old homesteads, cabins, logging camps and old-growth trees.
This book even has it’s own Facebook page.
Vancouver Trail Running by Rich Wheater
Published in April 2011, this guide provides information on 44 trails that are great for running in the Lower Mainland area.
BC Car Free by Brian Grover
I have not owned this book but it comes highly recommended for those who do not own a car. It includes several hiking trails in the Vancouver area that are transit friendly.