Vancouver Walks – Lighthouse Park Hike

Vancouver Walks – Lighthouse Park Hike

A couple of weeks ago Marc and I explored another one of Vancouver’s beautiful parks, the Lighthouse park on Vancouver’s Western shore. This park used to be a military base, so it was protected from logging over the last century. This means it has some large old growth trees and plenty of wildlife. We found caterpillars, squirrels and even a couple of garter snakes. It is really easy to get to with public transport. Just hop onto the 250 bus from downtown Vancouver.

Our plan was to follow the trail around the edge of LightHouse Park from the Vancouver Trails website. You can find a good map of the park here. However we quickly went off-piste and made our own route because following the wilder Arbutus trail along the edge of the coast looked more fun. I don’t recommend our route if you want a quiet stroll. Even though there wasn’t much elevation gain, the trail was quite hard to follow; We had to use ropes to climb down some sections, and used tree branches to keep us steady on others.

We were rewarded with some gorgeous views back towards central Vancouver once we reached the shore. You can see the edge of the Cyprus Mountain area to the left (where I climbed Black Mountain). If you click on the photo below you can also see Stanley Park and central Vancouver in the far distance. It’s a pretty good view isn’t it!?

We liked this view so much that we made the most of it. We stopped for a snack and spent a while just looking out at the waves.

One of the cool things about Lighthouse Park is all the Arbutus trees. I had never noticed these trees before; Apparently you can only find them within a few kilometers of the coastline. It seems like they are moulting their bright orange bark, to show of super-smooth bark underneath. They also some in some pretty interesting, twisted, gnarled shapes.

We also had a really nice view of the headland where I work, at UBC. The distance from central Vancouver to work looks really impressive from out here. It doesn’t feel too bad when I cycle it, but Marc was impressed once he was able to see the entire length of my commute.

We kept walking along the edge of the coast for as long as we could, until we found the official path after Eagle Point.

Once we’d made it onto the main trail, it was far more easy going! The path is wide and very easy to follow. It also goes past lots of truly gorgeous old growth trees!

A few of the trees had areas where sap was dripping out from them, then hardening to form sparkly edges. I really love seeing these crystal trees! When I touched it, the sap was smooth and solid, rather than sticky. It must have oozed out a while ago, even though it looks like it is dripping.

We kept going through the forest. Now we were on the more normal route we saw quite a few other people, mostly families with small children. This is the perfect walk to show children the woodlands. The park is so large, that even with other people around, it still feels quiet and relaxing.

Our next mini detour was to Starboat cove. This is a pretty, sheltered cove that you need to climb over a large pile of driftwood to enter. I’m not sure what the massive metal trough-like thing is!? Maybe it’s a relic from when the military were stationed here.

We didn’t stay in the cove for too long. It is a lovely spot, but that meant there were lots of other people…so we kept wandering back into the quieter woodland, towards the lighthouse.

We found a very large patch of moss with a squirrel that was so intent on munching some leaves that he let me come over for a photo. Canadian squirrels are so loud! Normally you don’t actually see them, but you can hear them screaming obscenities as they ask you to leave their territory. Now I’m used to it, I don’t feel like I’ve been on a real hike in Vancouver unless I have been sworn at by a squirrel.  For once, this little dude was quiet and cute.

You can’t walk right up to the lighthouse. That is the one section of the peninsula that is not open to the public. But you can get pretty close, and there are public loos near the lighthouse if you need them. I liked my photos from slightly further away, looking back at the lighthouse from the West Beach.

After seeing the lighthouse, we decided to keep walking around the outside of the peninsula just because the views are always gorgeous whenever we found ourselves looking out to the shore. There are plenty of possibilities for this section. Officially the path is called the Shore Pine Trail BUT there were quite a few smaller, more fun trails closer to the water, so we followed some of them.

We did one more detour on this side of Lighthouse Park; The Juniper Loop Trail. There were signs to Juniper point, as well as signs for the Juniper loop in all directions. This made for the most confusing sign posts of the day! We also found this really strange knob-of-tree! It was a wide, distorted and knobbly trunk that didn’t have any branches or leaves. It also didn’t seem to have any marks where previous branches have been removed. If you look carefully you can see Marc’s hands for scale. It was a very large, branch-less knob. What do you think could have caused it!?

Juniper Point was one of my favorite views from Lighthouse Park. The waves crashed onto the rocks around us and although it wasn’t quite late enough to count as “golden hour”, the lighting was gorgeous. We looked out over Mount Gardner on Bowen Island, and the pretty views of the Howe Sound.

We were also slightly jealous of whoever was sailing under the perfect blue sky! If you click on the photo, you can just about see the mountains of Vancouver Island in the distance. That is a whole other area that we need to explore!

The Lighthouse Park hike was a relaxing walk with pretty views and old growth forest. It is also very close to Vancouver and very easy to access. Our walk was about 9-10 km, but you could easily make it shorter by splitting the walk in half, or cutting off some of the detours. We loved it.
Lighthouse Park  - Vancouver Walks

47 thoughts on “Vancouver Walks – Lighthouse Park Hike

  1. What beautiful photos, everything looks so still and peaceful. I love the calm with which you say you met a garter snake lol I’d have been running up the road screaming.

    The knobly tree where you mention Marks hands are for size, it looks like a mother holding a baby, albeit the mother has no head. I’m not sure if it’s just me, but now I’ve seen it I can’t unsee it ffs lol

    1. Oooh I see what you mean! Although I thought it looks like a someone holding a sheep, as if they are getting ready to shear it.

      We found a sign saying the garter snakes aren’t poisonous, so when I heard one, I rushed up to the bushes to see it. They have cool patterns on their scales! I did take a photo, but if I post it I think my mum will stop reading my blog. She is terrified of snakes!

    1. It’s funny, this one was a spur of the moment walk after we woke up reeeally late! And it was still as good as many of the walks that I plan properly!

  2. I love Lighthouse Park – it feels a bit wilder than Stanley Park. It’s a good spot for wildlife-spotting, big trees, plus it’s my go-to place for early-season wildflowers.

  3. Your photos remind me of my visit back in April, when my boyfriend and I did the short hike to the lighthouse and that alone was such a pleasant start to our day. There was morning dew and by the end of the path we enjoyed going on the rocks and basking in the sunshine. The forest is also amazing, and we got to see a woodpecker! And if I remember there were mussels(?) in the shallow waters as well, which I’ve never seen before.

    1. Oooh it must have been gorgeous in the spring with all the early spring flowers!

      I did see some mussels too, but they were quite small, so not ready to be picked.

      Did you write a blog post about it too? 🙂

      1. It was! And the weather wasn’t too cold either. Must be why people from Asia migrate – because they get the city, nature, sun, and even the mountain views, similar to places like Hong Kong.

        I also found the mussels small. I wonder if people pick them or if it’s restricted. 🤔

        And yes I did write a post, but I only briefly touched on Lighthouse Park. There was just so much to share from Vancouver. 😅

  4. Thank you for no snake pictures for me. BUT….if you start thinking they are harmless, you may go too near a dangerous one. Please just keep away from Snakes. Love, Lis

    1. Don’t worry! Those little ‘uns were the first snakes I’ve seen here. British Columbia just doesn’t seem very snakey.

    1. Oooh i remember you mentioned that a while ago.

      Yay, please do. It’d be a good place to visit, although maybe not this week. There is sooo much rain!

  5. Oh Josy! Such fantastic pictures to accompany your post! I wish I felt a little healthier today, I’d go for a walk, but the darned half term cold has hit, and Storm Brian is trying to whip up a windy frenzy so I may be flying rather than walking if I was to attempt it!

    1. Nooo not a cold at half term! This is when you should be having fun, not feeling rubbish. 🙁

      Brian is such a bad name for a storm. How can you take it seriously when it’s called Brian!?

  6. I love hiking! These are fantastic photos, and they’re inspiring me to go for a hike, but unfortunately, I injured my knee. I think I pulled a muscle or ligament or something. I don’t think I’ll be able to get out today, but maybe tomorrow. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your experience with all of us!

    1. Oh no! You poor thing! I know the feeling…I am always hurting my knees, it is the worse.

      I hope you fell better tomorrow!

    1. Those hairy caterpillars are so cure aren’t they!? 😀

      I’m not sure if that thing was a boat. I’m not really sure what it was!?

  7. Those views are absolutely stunning! I’m super jealous – walking and hiking are some of my favorite ways to spend time outside with friends and family!

    1. You’re in the States right Casey? If you ever come North give me a shout. My sister in law is celiac, so I am always on the look out for good gluten free places to eat for when she visits. So I can totally show you yummy places to eat after a hike.

  8. Such a beautiful walk. It seems like you did a lot of miles because the terrain varied so much. The Arbutus trees were pretty. And I would’ve been jealous of the people sailing too!

    1. It was really varied for quite a short walk! I love it when the scenery changes so much as you wander along. 🙂

    1. It’s pretty damp here too today! I’m hoping to pop outside but not get *too* soggy!

      I am sooo glad that you liked it.

  9. Every single time I read one of your posts I want to go for a walk! (Which I will, after I finish this comment.) The knobby tree is a wonder. At first, I saw the form of a baby all curled up on top of a fountain–like someone had carved a totem pole and left it out in the middle of everywhere. But, of course, my eyes adjusted and it wasn’t that at all. It’s wonderful that when you walk your eyes and mind are open to these little gifts of nature. I have no idea what made that kooky tree–but I’m glad it’s there. 🙂

    1. Oooh did you end up going for a walk today? We did for a few hours between rain storms, but I didn’t see any amazing knobbly trees today. We did find cake though…

  10. Wow, those arbutus trees are pretty amazing! Nature is something isn’t it. There’s a ‘perfect’ condition for every living thing. When you find specimens such as the arbutus tree, it’s fun to look at the surroundings and see the conditions that made this ‘thing’ grow. Once again, thanks for sharing your adventures! I keep thinking that we would be great hiking friends 🙂

    1. I honestly think that too! Or good farming friends if I was closer!!

      The shape of those arbutus trees make more sense when you consider they are only found close to the sea, but I am not sure why it benefits them to have crazy bark. It’s beautiful anyway…

  11. Such gorgeous photography, as always 😊😊 My number one question (aside from did you make friends with any of the squirrels) is : can you go into the lighthouse?? There are several lighthouses in Washington but it seems like you can’t go into most 😓

    1. Nope. I’m afraid you can’t even walk around the outside. There is one tiny slither of land that is not public, and that is where the lighthouse is located…

      BUT next time you go to the UK tell me! My parents rented out a lighthouse for a weekend on the south coast. If you’re heading that way. I’ll ask them exactly where it was. Their photos were amaaazing!

    1. Ooh that is a tough one! You can see lots of the fun things within the city over a just a couple of days, so it really depends on how many of the fun things you’d like to do outside the city! You could easily spend a week or two exploring the local area! So, I guess you should work out how much time you have, and then fill it up.

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