Vancouver’s Parks – Local Adventures

Vancouver’s Parks – Local Adventures

Adventures in self isolation in VancouverWherever you are in the world, chances are the last few months have been pretty rubbish. The rules are different in different countries; But almost everyone has had some level of lock-down. Here in Vancouver we have all been working from home for 2 months now, and we have not been allowed into the mountains for a similar amount of time. However, we still have quite a lot of freedom to keep exercising outdoors within the city. One silver lining for me has been getting to know more of Vancouver’s parks, greenways and scenic spots within walking (or cycling) distance from home.

I’ve loved visiting Vancouver’s Parks. So, I thought I should share some of my self-isolation adventures with you all. I’m going to concentrate on the less obvious places first, as they have been better for staying at least 2 meters apart from people. I did include some of the famous places too though, as you can still visit them early in the morning before crowds arrive.

Trout Lake – John Hendry Park

Trout Lake is one of my favourite Vancouver Parks. It’s a gorgeous park with a lake, mountain views and oodles of space for sports, bbqs and picnics. Even if you don’t live nearby, there is a cycle lane that links up to this park, so it’s easy to make this the destination for a mini adventure from a different part of the city.

Queen Elizabeth Park

Queen Elizabeth Park is the best on this list for views. If you visit on foot, it’s likely that you’ll need to walk uphill most of the way to this park, but it’s worth the effort when you get to the top. The hill is covered in flowers and has perfect views of the North Shore Mountains. Once things re-open after the lockdown, there is a restaurant/bar in the park that serves fantastic cocktails. I love to visit in the evening to see the Van City lit-up below you.

Renfrew Ravine Park

If you fancy feeling like you’ve made it into the wilderness, then search for Renfrew Ravine Park in East Van. I’ve never seen other people in this gorgeous little ravine, so it’s great for social distancing. The sides of the ravine are very steep and surrounded by houses, so there are only a couple of spots where you can venture down to the water and the skunk cabbages. There is a pleasant easy walk around the outside of the ravine that links up to cycle lanes if you want to cycle here.

Central Park in Burnaby

There are multiple safe, fun cycle routes that lead to Central Park in Burnaby. I have to admit, I had never even considered visiting this park before Vancouver went into lockdown. Central Park is a giant rectangle shape when you look at it on google maps, so for some reason I assumed it would be a boring. It was a pleasant surprise to find that it is a gorgeous green space, filled with some massive old trees as well as a couple of pretty lakes.

Central Park is pretty busy, but the paths are quite wide, and it is easy to find less-obvious routes through the park if you’re attempting a social-distance adventure.

Deer Lake Park

I really love the trails around Deer Lake Park. This is located at the end of the Central Valley Greenway (that starts near the train station on Vancouver’s Main Street.) You’ll be able to see all the residential skyscrapers of Burnaby, as well as great views of the North Shore Mountains. Plus this park is not crazily busy.

Robert Burnaby Park

You can go searching for trolls, dragons and even star wars characters! This beautiful forest-filled Robert Burnaby park is at the edge of Burnaby Lake Regional Park. A local artist has hidden some amazing natural sculptures around the park, so it is great fun to go find them!

Burnaby Mountain

Burnaby Mountain is a small peak on the edge of Vancouver. It is crisscrossed by trails, so is perfect for a mini urban adventure, with views out to the city and the bigger mountains nearby. It’s also a great spot for a picnic. I love all the art at the top of the mountain, as well as the gorgeous pathways through the trees. Check out the loop around the mountain to get your heart pumping.

New Brighton Park

Most people have heard of Playland at the PNE, but if you go slightly North of that, there is a lovely park between Vancouver Harbour and the Ironworks Bridge, New Brighton Park. If you are missing the North Shore Mountains, this’ll give you gorgeous unobstructed views of them. We walked down to this park, but there are a few cycle routes that reach this area easily. Once things start opening up, there is a public pool here too, so you can swim with the amazing view.

On the way to New Brighton Beach, walk or cycle along Wall Street. It’s a residential area that has multiple parks and gaps where you can look out at Vancouver Harbour, with all the boats and colourful shipping containers.

Everett Crowley Park

Everett Crowley Park is a forested corner in the Champlain Heights area of Vancouver. It is on the edge of the new housing and industry along the Fraser River. I thought the prettiest parts were near Avalon Pond on the East side of the park, as well as the viewpoints on the opposite side. Again, there are good cycle routes (although in a couple of places you need to cycle on the main road, so you might want to avoid that if you cycle here with children.)

Fraser River Park

If you don’t mind walking through quite an industrial area to reach it; Fraser River Park at the Southern point of the Arbutus Greenway is a pretty park that is great for dogs.

Vancouver Cemetery

Vancouver only has one cemetery, but it makes up for it by choosing an area with fantastic views. If you decide to have a mini adventure walking or cycling here, please be respectful of the people who are here to mourn or visit their relatives.

There are several sections of the cemetery, each with it’s own character. It’s not all overgrown and spooky like the graveyards in London, but I really like visiting it to see the birds.

Golf Courses

Most of Vancouver’s golf courses have closed due to covid-19, but they opened their grounds to allow locals to wander around and enjoy their pathways while the golfers are absent. We have explored Langara Golf course a few times. I quite like the wiggly paths that lead you though their manicured lawns. Plus all the little green hills makes it feel a bit like Hobbiton.

Seaside Options:

We have been avoiding the seaside as our friends that live close to the beaches told us that they have been really busy. Still, no list of possible mini adventures would be complete without mentioning Vancouver’s beautiful coastline. I have a post about our last long walk that shows the beaches from Kitsilano to Wreak Beach at UBC. It is over 16km if you walk the whole way along these beaches so it might be better to cycle, or choose the beaches closest to where you live.

We have always found that the further West you go, the fewer people there are on the beaches, and the easier it is to keep your distance from other people. Plus, the sunsets are often best from the West.

False Creek

False Creek is another one of the obvious areas for locals to walk in Vancouver. We tend to avoid these paths unless it’s early in the morning, or late in the evening as it can get busy, and the pathway isn’t quite wide enough to walk 2 meters away from other people (unless you want to step in the bike path and block the bicycles!)

Still False Creek at night is much quieter and can be seriously pretty with all the lights. It might be best to save your mini adventures along the waterfront for after dark.

Stanley Park

Stanley Park is normally one of my favourite spots for a mini Vancouver adventure. The problem is, it is so lovely, that everyone flocks there so I don’t think it is easy to walk while maintaining your distance from other walkers. The park has been closed to cars, so now cyclists can cycle along Stanley Park Drive, which keeps the sea wall for pedestrians.

If you do like the idea of Stanley Park, try exploring the inner trails, rather than the main trail around the park. I have always found that the trails inside the park are much quieter. Plus you might stumble upon the lost lagoon looking like this…

Pacific Spirit Park

Another great choice for trails is the forested area out by UBC, Pacific Spirit Park. In normal times, this is my favourite spot for a mini adventure after work. I love to choose new routes to cycle through this park on my way home. We did visit this park once since we went into self isolation, but it was incredibly busy. I’m not sure I’d recommend visiting this while you’re self isolating as it can be hard to keep 2 meters away from people on these paths.

If you do go as far as Pacific Spirit Park, it’s always nice to keep going to the end of the Point Grey peninsula to see the views down at the beach.

Vancouver Greenways

As well as all the parks, I have really enjoyed exploring some of Vancouver’s Greenways. They are all pretty flat, wide and almost always seem to lead to parks. I’ve written about the Arbutus Greenway in my previous post. I also had fun exploring the Central Valley Greenway to Burnaby, the Ridgeway Greenway for views of the city. Plus it’s always fun to cycle along the sea wall.

Not bad eh? I already knew Vancouver is great for escaping the city to get out on the trails. Now I am quite enjoying all the possibilities within the city too. Once it is safe, and we are allowed to go back into the mountains, I will always prefer spending time in the wilderness. But this summer, I think I will keep exploring these local parks and trails too.

If you’d like to explore some of these, please click on the pins below to save them for later.

Adventures in self isolation in Vancouver Vancouver Parks - self isolation adventures Vancouver's urban trails and parks

44 thoughts on “Vancouver’s Parks – Local Adventures

  1. Such wonderful memories of our time walking and exploring Vancouver. It really is a beautiful city with so many green spaces and places to go. Stunning photos as always Josy.

    1. Thanks Jonno! I am really glad that you’ve been enjoying the Devon walks as well. I hope you got to see plenty of bluebells this spring.

  2. Thanks for sharing all these places and pictures. I’ve really enjoyed reading blogs that allow me to virtually travel these days. Adding Vancouver to my travel jar of places I’d like to go some day!

    1. I hope you can make it out here at some point Stacy! At least now you’ll know the parks in the city when you do.

  3. We’re so lucky to have all this green space in the city. This is a great review of some of the many options. I had never heard of Renfrew Ravine Park but now I’m going to check it out. Thanks!

    1. Yeah that one is a strange find, it feels much more wild than the more manicured parks. Apparently people used to catch fish there. There water level seemed too low for that these days.

  4. I’m not sure what happened to my first comment. I apologize if it suddenly shows up from cyberspace. I know I posted a comment but it’s not here.

    Anyway, the photos are gorgeous, as always and I feel like it’s time to plan a holiday. I do enjoy the virtual vacations though so keep on posting these lovely areas because I need the escape.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    1. Oh no, I didn’t see it. Sorry about that I hate it when blogs swallow comments into oblivion! I am really glad you liked it though! Hopefully you’ll be able to get onto your cruise eventually.

  5. I’ve started doing more walks this week and I need to try some new places. These are perfect. I haven’t been to Queen Elizabeth in forever, and used to often walk Fraser River park when I lived out that way. You should add Burnaby’s Central Park to your list too

    1. Yeeees! I just found Central Park a week ago. I loved seeing all the chubby squirrels there! I hope you enjoy wandering around the back streets too. 🙂

  6. Wow. These pictures are really beautiful, it makes me wish I was isolating in Canada! I’ve never been anywhere in Canada other than Niagara Falls, but I’m dying to visit!

    1. Oooh but you went to one of the prettiest places Shay, Niagara falls is stunning isn’t it. Hopefully you’ll be able to visit the West coast one day – it’s gorgeous over here. <3

  7. Wow it’s amazing that you have so much green/outdoor space right near the city! It seems like the best of both worlds — the benefits of a major urban area while still being able to escape to nature.

    1. Yeah, I guess we are pretty lucky to be here. I have to admit, parks don’t really feel like real nature to me, but I still love them. Do you have local trails near you Carrie?

  8. The scenery is beautiful! I would love to road trip through Canada and see for myself 🙂 It’s pretty high on my bucket list, so I will save this for when I get there! Thanks for the ideas!

  9. Ahh, you’re making me want to visit Vancouver so much. There are so many cool places to explore! Your photos are so beautiful, and all the parks are so pretty. :] I’ve never been to any of them yet, but I’ve heard of Stanley Park!

    1. Oooh I think you’d love Stanley Park. That is the most famous park – no visit to Vancouver is complete without exploring it a little. The trees there are stunning. 🙂

  10. Getting to know your own city is great. It’s nice you were able to get out a little bit – the weather looks perfect for enjoying the outdoors.

    1. Hehe we have had a few very rainy days (like today!) I just love seeing blue skies…so I just go back to the park again on a sunny day to take photos. This spring has been pretty amazing for weather up here.

  11. Seems Vancouver has quite a lot of things to do! I ve never been there, but I wish I can make it soon. I loved the views of the False Creek and the tranquility of the Stanley Park. Thanks for sharing!

  12. What spectacular scenery! The Canada landscape never disappoints! I think I could sit at False Creek all day and night and never get tired of looking at it! Simply gorgeous!

  13. So happy to hear that you are getting outside and exploring new places as much as possible given the current circumstances. I have also been trying to explore my neighborhood more! These walking / cycling paths look lovely, and I’m especially drawn to False Creek. I have such a weakness for urban water walkways! Thanks for sharing and inspiring us to keeping having new experiences.

  14. Oh wow, you have so many beautiful parks and places to walk in Vancouver. False Creek looks stunning, especially in the golden light. It looks like you have had some great weather while exploring the local area too. I can’t wait to visit Vancouver one day, I have only been to Toronto and Niagara Falls so far and really want to see more of Canada.

  15. I cannot get over how stunning Vancouver is! I’ve visited before, but didn’t get to experience any of these gorgeous parks. Hopefully I’ll return soon with my family and this post will definitely come in handy.

  16. Being an avid reader of your blog, I was kind of waiting for you to post this. We loved Stanley Park, which is the only park in Vancouver that we have been to. And yes, it is beautiful and yes it is busy…but beautiful.
    I still remember how much my feet hurt after exploring the park for a few hours instead of the short 1h or so trip that we had planned.

  17. Have heard a lot about the beauty of Vancouver. Your words and pictures bring alive the enchanting beauty of the place so well. It is a place blessed by the hands of nature.

  18. We’ve never been to Vancouver but the parks there are lovely. If only we could also have a walk at the seaside and enjoy breathing in the salt water! Oh, and the sunset at Stanley Park looks gorgous! 🙂

  19. Ah so amazing you have these wonderful parks at least to enjoy in these strange times. I’ve been to Vancouver 16 years ago now and remember enjoying exploring Stanley Park. Would love to return as my West Canada road trip was one of my favourite trips so far! 🙂

  20. Vancouver has so many beautiful green spaces and it’s such a shame that you weren’t able to visit any of them in the last few months.
    My city never placed restrictions on visiting our hills, so it was a great way for us all to get some relief from our tiny flats!

  21. The False Creek looks like a very interesting place to walk around! Saved it for the future 🙂

  22. These parks are so gorgeous. Perfect for a nature photographer. Falsa Creek looks like a very lovely place to explore and so does Stanley Park.

  23. I have always wanted to visit Vancouver, but reading your posts makes me want to move it to the top of the list. Since 2020 travel is on hold, we are planning on spending a month in Washington State next summer. That means we can make a long-weekend trip and explore all the places you’ve mentioned in your posts!

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