I am elated to have Bianca Bujan, Bits of Bee, sharing this post on North Shore Mama today. Thank you so much for joining us, Bianca!
Top 5 Kid-Friendly Hiking Trails on the North Shore
After reading a recent article in the Vancouver Sun about a child plummeting down a mountainside on a hiking trip with his parents, many North Shore residents may be second-guessing their desire to trek up the trails with their little ones.
I’ve always loved hiking – it’s the only physical activity that I can enjoy without it feeling like gruelling exercise – so I feel fortunate to live in North Vancouver where we’re blessed with so many great hiking destinations.
While some spots may be more geared towards the hard-core, avid hikers (Grouse Grinders, I envy your passion and determination), we are also graced with a plethora of trails that are scenic, family-friendly, and a great way to keep the kids (and parents) active in an outdoor setting. Here’s a list of my top 5 favourite (suitable for under 5’s) hiking spots on the North Shore:
1) Lighthouse Park
Location: West Vancouver, BC
Assets: Family-Friendly, Stroller-Friendly, Dog-Friendly, Picnic Tables, Washrooms, Nature Centre
Lighhouse Park is the perfect destination for a family day outdoors. The trails are low impact, but provide a long enough jaunt to work up a sweat for hikers of all ages. The park boasts 185 acres of land, and offers a range of trails that will take you deep into the forest canopy, or down along the ocean’s coastline. Amenities include picnic spots, dog-walking trails, and public washrooms, and they also have an educational nature centre where little ones can learn more about their natural surroundings. The most attractive perk is the breathtaking views of the lighthouse, but you will need to keep your little ones close as the viewpoints are set atop uneven, highly elevated rock surfaces.
2) Bridgeman Park
Location: North Vancouver, BC (Lower Lynn Creek)
Assets: Family-Friendly, Stroller-Friendly, Dog-Friendly, Playground, Picnic Areas, Washrooms
A popular destination for dog-walkers, Bridgeman Park offers wide, stroller-friendly walking trails along a beautiful riverside. At its entrance is a playground surrounded by a natural forest setting. The trails are tree-lined with scenic views of the river, and lead to a bridge that offers breathtaking views of the riverbank. It’s an easy stroll that will keep your heart rate going if you keep up a steady pace.
3) Cates Park Trails
Location: North Vancouver, BC (Deep Cove)
Assets: Family-friendly, Stroller-Friendly, Dog-Friendly, Playground, Picnic Areas, Washrooms, Beach Access, Concessions, Boat Launch
While many North Shore residents are familiar with the popular seaside playground and picnic areas of Cates Park, some have yet to discover the 6km of waterfront trails nestled in the parkland. Cates Park is a favourite spot for our family, as it offers a wide range of activities, including a large playground, concessions, an expansive beachfront, and grassy picnic areas. But the part we enjoy most is strolling along the trail that leads to what many refer to as “Little Cates” – which includes a small playground, more picnic tables, a grass field, and a unique cement structure that was once used as a sawmill burner, with tunnels to run through and explore.
4) Lynn Canyon
Location: North Vancouver, BC (Lynn Valley)
Assets: Family-friendly, Dog-Friendly, Ecology Centre, Coffee Shop, Washrooms, Suspension Bridge
Whether you are looking for a leisurely family stroll, or a brisk uphill climb, Lynn Canyon has the trails to suit your hiking needs. At the start of the trails, you’ll find a cozy café, perfect for drinks and snacks before or after your forest adventures. Lynn Canyon is also home to an exciting suspension bridge that sways 50 meters above the canyon (and it’s free for visitors which is an added bonus). Besides the expansive scenic trails, Lynn Canyon is also home to a quaint Ecology Centre, which provides interactive and educational activities and displays for children (this is also a great destination for birthday parties!).
5) Rice Lake
Location: North Vancouver, BC (Lynn Headwaters Regional Park)
Assets: Family-friendly, Stroller-Friendly, Dog-Friendly, Picnic Areas, Washrooms, Fishing Docks
This is the perfect spot for a serene stroll with your family, rain or shine. The trail is housed by a canopy of trees, and boasts scenic views of the lake throughout the 3km (approx 1 hour) walk. The trails are flat and wide, providing the perfect setting for a brisk walk behind a stroller. A perk: Rice Lake includes a long dock where guests can cast their fishing rods while observing the wildlife that surrounds them.
Enjoy the outdoors, and happy hiking!
Have I missed any fabulous kid-friendly trails on the North Shore? Please share in the comments below!
Bianca Bujan was recognized as one of VancouverMom.ca‘s Top 30 Vancouver Mom Bloggers in 2012, and enjoys sharing advice, quotes and anecdotes from a career mom of two through her blog Bits of Bee. After over 10 years of working in a corporate office environment, she has transitioned to the role of work-from-home mom, enjoying her current position as the Manager of Business Development for Crisp Media (host to hyperlocal online magazines for moms in Canada, including VancouverMom.ca). In her spare time, Bianca loves to spend time outdoors with her family with lots of snacks and a fully-charged camera.