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
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.
Elevation Gain: 360-460m (depending on the route you take)
High Point: 465m
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: 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.
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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