Whytecliff Park is a pretty little park on the rugged coast of West Vancouver, over by Horseshoe Bay (where you can jump on a ferry to Bowen Island or Vancouver Island.) It’s not a place for a long walk, but it’s good for a little stroll before heading to Horseshoe Bay for fish and chips!
When it’s sunny, I have a strong urge to get outside. The problem is, sometimes we have sunny weekends when Marc or I are not feeling that great. The weather sort of demands that we leave the house, but we don’t have quite enough oomph to wake up early and head out on an epic adventure. On those days heading out for an easy walk somewhere like Whytecliff Park, is exactly what we need to do.
Whytecliff Park hikes – the basics
There are two sections of the park. There are pathways through the trees on the upper edge of the park, as well as other pathways are along the beaches and cliffs. If you wander along the entire network of trails, you’ll cover around 2km. We took a peek at the coastal area. Marc recently bought a tripod, so we were taking it easy and taking photos rather than walking.
I started by taking a peek at one of the high points on the cliffs. This area used to be called White Cliff City, but according to wikipedia, a Colonel called Albert Whyte pressed for the spelling change to Whytecliff in 1914. In any case, the cliffs are not particularly white (not like the White Cliffs of Dover!)
It’s quite fun meandering around the edge of the cliffs. You get to climb on the rocks and see lovely views towards Bowen Island, the Sunshine Coast and the side view of the Tantalus mountain range.
In the other direction, you get views over to Vancouver’s beaches and UBC.
Whytecliff Park – Diving
This park is one of the first Marine Protected Areas in Canada. Apparently sometimes you’ll meet sea lions sunbathing here! While we were exploring, we didn’t see any sea lions, but we did see a large group of divers get ready and then submerge underwater near the beach. There must be lots of cool things to see in these waters.
There is a teeny island just off the coast from Whytecliff Park. When we first arrived, it looked like you could walk along a causeway of rocks to reach it. However as the tide started to come in, this looked less and less sensible. Still it looks lovely from the shore. Google maps calls the island Whyte Islet Park, so maybe it counts as it’s own teeny park!? While we were there it looked like a couple was getting engagement photos. We didn’t want to bother them, so we didn’t attempt the crossing.
Marc was having fun attempting to take wave photos, so I kept wandering along the beach looking at all the driftwood. At one point I found a bunch of mushrooms that had gone hard…they felt like shells, rather than fungi. I guess that happened when the log was floating in the sea.
Fish and Chips in Horseshoe Bay
It looks like my photos are really late in the afternoon, but that is just because the sun doesn’t rise very high at this time of year. It was actually midday. Whytecliff Park is pretty close to the village of Horseshoe Bay, so we headed over there for fish and chips for lunch. We’ve never found a place in Canada that does English-style proper chips, but these were not bad at all. It was served with coleslaw, rather than mushy peas (sob, I miss good mushy peas…) Anyway, we both enjoyed it.
We’ve visited Horseshoe Bay a few times to catch the ferry, but it’s quite a sweet place to visit just to wander around. I even found a couple of Christmas gifts to post back to the UK. We walked along the pier looking at the boats and making friends with posing seagulls.
Heading home via Lighthouse Park
We still had some energy left, so we decided to drop into Lighthouse Park on the way home. This is really close to Whytecliff Park on the drive back to Vancouver if you take the scenic route. We’d already spent a day hiking through Lighthouse Park, so this time we headed straight for the cliffs to watch the sun set.
The nice thing about Lighthouse Park is there are several viewpoints spread around the park. So, even when it is busy, you can normally find a quiet place to see the sky change as the sun sets. When we first arrived, the cloud formations made it look like there was a massive spotlight on one patch of water.
Then a few minutes later, the horizon started to be decorated with beautiful sun beams…
We watched the sun beams for a while, and then decided we had enough time to walk to the lighthouse and watch the sun set from there. We arrived at the rocky beach just in time to see the sky light up in pinks and oranges.
This giant tanker zoomed past and looked a lot prettier in the golden light.
Finally, as the sun set behind some clouds (just above the horizon) it started to rain, encouraging us to head home before we got too chilly.
Visiting Whytecliff Park, and then Lighthouse Park may not have been a particularly energetic weekend activity; But it was actually really nice to go slowly and try mini walks. If you’re looking for some easy places to wander and watch the sunset in Vancouver, these are fantastic options.