The Arbutus Greenway is an easy path to explore if you live in Vancouver. The route follows along a former rail corridor so it never gets very steep, but there are quite a few places with fantastic views. This is a great cycle route, but while we are self isolating, it seemed like it might be a good option for us to stretch our legs. We walked the whole way to the Fraser River, and then found a different route home zig-zagging through pretty neighbourhoods.
If you are visiting Vancouver (or if you live here and are sick of being indoors in self isolation) this is a great trail.
Arbutus Grenway – The basics
Distance: 8.7 km one way
Elevation Gain: 69m
Time: 1.5- 2 hours
What to bring: You don’t need to bring anything special.
Dogs: Its perfect for dogs, but they need to stay on leashes.
How hard is it? It is an old railway line, so not steep. It’s pretty easy.
Arbutus Greenway Map
This pathway will take you the whole way from false creek (in central Vancouver) to the Fraser River. So you get a mini tour of Vancouver neighborhoods as you head South.
The Arbutus Greenway – Getting started
Near the start of the Arbutus Greenway is one of my favourite cafes for croissants or pain au chocolat, Beaucoup Bakery. They are buttery, crispy and the pain au chocolat’s chocolate is not too sweet, and really tasty. If BC is no longer in lockdown, you want to stop here for a treat.
Once you’re full of croissant and coffee, you’ll be ready to wander up the Arbutus Greenway.
Flowers along the Greenway
The pathway has space for both cyclists and walkers, and in some parts it is lined with flowers, so really lovely to walk. I especially love the area along 6th avenue for all the wildflowers, especially the poppies.
Views over Vancouver
The pathway turns south after going along 6th Avenue. This is when you will climb slowly up a hill and start to see some really good views over people’s rooftops and over to the North Shore Mountains.
Wander past Kerrisdale
Once you’re on the path, you basically just follow the greenway south. There are lots of pretty neighbourhoods for you to explore along the way. Once you’ve seen Point Grey Secondary School (below), you’ll reach Kerrisdale. This is a good area to stop for lunch as there are quite a few good places to eat (along 41st Avenue.)
Arbutus Greenway – Good for self isolation walks/cycles?
One thing that is pretty good about this pathway is there is quite a lot of space, so it does not seem too busy once people spread out along the trail. I have cycled up and down this quite a few times over the last few years, but it definitely seems busier now we’re all stuck on lockdown in the city. Still, there is grass on both sides of the path, so when it is busy (or if you need to overtake large families) you can walk onto the grass.
As well as all the people and doggos along the path, if you look up at the wires above the Greenway, you might also see bird parties happening above you.
Gardens along the route
There are a few places where locals use the edge of the Greenway to grow plants. I liked the fence that is decorated with bike wheels.
…And watch out for all the scare-crows near 53rd Avenue. There are several in a row and they all have names. Cute eh?
Other than that, there isn’t a huge amount to see in the section from 60th Avenue down towards the Fraser River at 75th Avenue. We found far fewer walkers as we got further south. If you prefer walks with epic views, you might find this too boring…but you can cycle or run to get to the river more speedily…
Industrial and less picturesque
The Arbutus Greenway is far less fun near the end of the path. You’ll have views over an industrial area that is not particularly pretty. But, keep going. It’s nice again once you reach Fraser River Park.
We took a mini detour because we spotted a green-ish pathway that looked like a prettier route to the river.
Fraser River Park
I really like the views of the Fraser River at the end of the walk. It’s not bad is it?
We explored a but inside the Fraser River Park because it was full of very happy-looking dogs, so we couldn’t resist taking a look. There are boardwalks along the edge of the river, and some marshy areas if you have a dog that needs to dunk itself in mud. If you look carefully at the photo below, you might be able to spot a very happy labrador chasing ducks in the water.
Fraser River Views
This was our reward at the end of the walk, this view of the Fraser River. The opposite side of the river is the Island where Vancouver Airport is located. It was very quiet when we visited, but normally, this must be a good spot for watching airplanes take off and land. It reminded me of how much fun we had digging holes on Swishwash Island – click here to have a read if you missed that adventure!
The only problem with this walk is the 8.7 km is only in one direction, so if you need to get back to Vancouver, you’ll need to walk, cycle or take a bus back again. We ended up walking over 20km on the day we did this walk – so it was a pretty decent way to stretch our legs.
Anyway, I hope you like the look of it. Click on the pins below to save them for later.