Norvan Falls – Hikes near Vancouver

Norvan Falls – Hikes near Vancouver

Are you looking for a fun hike near Vancouver that finishes with a stunning waterfall? Norvan Falls is a good option. The trail involves quite a long walk, but as it is mostly flat, it’s actually not a hard hike at all. It is perfect for rainy days as the forest in Lynn Headwaters Regional Park is absolutely lovely, even when it’s wet. If you don’t mind muddy paws, this is also a really good trail to bring your dog.

Marc and I have been past this waterfall a few times ago when we climbed up to Coliseum Mountain and Mount Burwell. The thing is, both of those hikes are so hard, that we were too tired to take the teeny detour to see Norvan Falls. I’d heard the sound of this waterfall, but never actually seen it! I am really glad that we finally made the effort to visit it properly.

Norvan Falls trail map

Norvan Falls – the basics

Distance: 14-19km*
The map above is the route we took, including the higher part of the Headwaters Trail and Rice Lake (19km). You can make this shorter and easier by starting from Lynn Valley Road and staying low on the trail.Β Β 
Elevation Gain:
360-460m (depending on the route you take)
High Point:
Time: 5-6 hours
What to bring:
Water, snacks and your camera!
The 10 essentials.
Facilities: There are toilets and water by the trailhead
Dogs:Β Yes! This is a fantastic area for dogs, we met sooo many happy dogs.
How hard is it? Intermediate. The trail is easy to follow and not difficult, but it is a long if you’re not used to hiking. The high path is more beautiful, but stay low if you prefer to relax and take it easy.

Norvan Falls Getting Started

Most people start this trail at the car park at the end of Lynn Valley road. The problem is, that car park often fills up quickly. We chose to start at the Rice Lake parking lot instead. This adds on a little extra walk, but you have a better chance at finding a space to park. Plus the Lynn Headwaters Connector trail is really lovely.

As you can see from my photos, we visited early in the morning on a rainy, misty day. It looks a little miserable, but we all loved it! We brought two friends who have only done a few hikes in Vancouver, so they had never visited Norvan Falls either. It was new (and exciting) for all of us.

Norvan Falls trail

The trail starts on a wide, maintained trail, then slowly gets muddier and rootier as you get closer to the waterfall. We wanted to have a bit of a workout, so we hiked up the steps to the high Headwaters Trail. We took the easier route on the return journey, where the path opens out for misty views of Mount Fromme and Goat Mountain. Both routes are lovely.

Norvan Falls Views

The path to the waterfall is at the end of the trail, right after the turning to Coliseum and Mount Burwell. Once you reach the waterfall, this is the view. Isn’t it stunning?

There is a massive log at the base of the falls. If you are feeling brave, you can shimmy over one of the logs to the other side of Norvan Falls to sit on it.

The day we went was pretty slippery, so I shuffled along on my bum. I ended up with a soggy bottom, but it was worth it to sit right under that massive stream of water.

Anyway, you can probably get the idea. It is a beautiful spot!

Be really careful if you cross the river on one of the logs. It is quite slippery, and the water is incredibly cold (and fast flowing!) If you are worried about it, stay on the safe side. Or have a soggy bottom after shuffling over like I did.

Once you’re ready to leave, you can head back the way you came. Look out for the tree trunks – one of them totally looks like Davy Jones from Pirates of the Caribbean! You can also see the Norvan Creek Suspension Bridge before you head back.

Take a peek at Lynn Creek

We returned via the lower pathway. The river was looking gorgeous.

Rice Lake

We also went on an extra little detour around Rice Lake. It is a really lovely extra bonus view. This is one of the busiest parts of the park. The mini loop around Rice Lake is great for families.

Deep Cove and Honey Doughnuts

It’s early in the hiking season, so we don’t quite have our summer legs yet. We were all a bit tired by the end of the hike; So we popped over to Deep Cove for some honey doughnuts. My eyes were bigger than my stomach, so we ordered 1.5 doughnuts each. I LOVE these doughnuts, but it turns out, one and a half doughnuts was waaaay too much sugar for me. I was buzzing the whole way home.

Are you all starting to get bored of waterfall posts? Hopefully not as I have a few more to write up! If you want more waterfalls, have a peek at my Oh Canada page – I have a map with lots of other fabulous waterfall options.

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31 thoughts on “Norvan Falls – Hikes near Vancouver

    1. I just read your post about “home” I really know how you feel (although we’re the opposite, in Canada for Covid-19, rather than in Europe close to family.)

      I hope we can both make it “Home home” at some point soon! If not, hopefully my Canada posts will make you smile.

  1. Love the details in this post – the trails, the photos, really brings it to life and makes it a usable guide for those looking to enjoy the hike themselves. Love a good foggy day hike as well, so this really spoke to me visually. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks Jamie!

      I think we appreciate hikes even on foggy/rainy days this year because we had to be stuck at home for a few months! Everyone is so happy to be allowed into the mountains!

    1. If you like waterfalls, you will LOVE the West Coast

      Although come to think of it, I have blogging friends on the other side of Canada, and they have fab waterfalls too…I guess the whole of Canada is a wonderland for waterfalls!!?

    1. Lol This year has been particularly wet! We did just have a few amaaaazing sunny days though. I can’t wait to write up our adventures from those!

  2. Absolutely breathtaking! I’m bookmarking this post because I may want to use one of your forest in the mist photos (the one to the right of the purple flowers one). I’ll let you know if I decide for sure.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    1. Oooh exciting! Let me know if you decide to use it – I can send you a bigger version. That might work well on a book cover as writing would show up nicely against the mist!

      1. I would love to have a copy of that photo for my next book cover. Please e-mail it to me at (jansen (dot) schmidt (at) yahoo (dot) com)

        Let me know how you’d like the photo credit to read.

        I’ll need to let my cover designer know that I have your permission to use the photo so, I may have to send you a release form if they ask for one.

        Thanks so much.

        Patricia (aka Jansen)

  3. I love hiking in forests – hence, I think Canada would be the perfect country for me to visit. I don’t even know why I haven’t been to Canada yet. Anyway, this post is definitely inspiring. Albeit, I must admit that I’m even more impressed by the foggy trail between the trees than the falls πŸ˜‰

  4. Another great post in your waterfall series. I can almost feel the spray. I’ll take the extra donut πŸ˜†

  5. You are one brave soul my friend, I don’t know if I’d get out onto the log! Mainly because my clumsy luck would have me in the water haha! Such a beautiful spot and I love that you got donuts at the end. Best reward after an awesome hike!

    1. I was pretty worried about that to! My fried Chris just walked along the logs – I shuffled on my bottom the whole way. 🀣🀣 Safety first.

  6. I am all about the waterfalls, so this sounds right up my alley! I wish I had a dog I could bring along with me, haha. Somedayyy. I’d probably go out on the log too (against my better judgment..). Lynn Creek + Rice Lake look beautiful too! <3

    Donuts are usually way too sweet for me too but I recently tried a matcha mochi donut and it was amazingggg. *-*!

    1. OMG Farrah match mochi donuts sound amaaazing. Normally my favourites are the dough-y (rather than cake-y) ones… but there is something amazing about those honey doughnuts as they are so busy that they are always fresh out of the oven…

      p.s. I know what you mean about dogs. I would love to have one too, although I am sure Monty (our cat) would not approve.

  7. These photos are absolutely breathtaking. Debating if I would be brave enough to make it out on that log to take an epic photo, but I might just have to keep that shuffling idea in mind LOL. So many natural wonders in this world and I love finding guides like this that introduce me to new ones. I hope to make my way out here one day!

  8. I am not a big hiker but I might give it a try for these views!! I love having a map of everywhere I went so thanks for sharing that. Looks like an epic trip!

  9. I NEED to get to Vancouver as soon as I can! Norvan Falls looks epic and so beautiful! And your pictures of the moody and mossy trail are beautiful! When I do this hike, I will follow the route you did and go past Rice Lake because it looks like a must-see in my opinion! Oh, and those doughnuts look so yummy! My fingers are crossed that they have gluten free doughnuts haha!

  10. I really like how you managed to make the falls look quite impressive! I remember the first time I went there (it was the first Wanderung callout I organized – in 2005!) and being distinctly underwhelmed πŸ™‚ It helps that there was more water when you visited…

    1. Lol yeah, I’ve seen some photos when it was a little trickle, and it doesn’t look so amazing.

      I honestly thought it was an impressive waterfall. It was much more water than I expected. I guess we were lucky with our soggy timing.

  11. Your article is quite helpful! I have so many questions, and you have answered many. Thank you! Such a nice and superb article, we have been looking for this information about norvan falls hikes near Vancouver. Great post…

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