Grab a paddle, lace those hiking boots and ready that fishing pole: Where‘s headed to the North Shore
By Jennifer Patterson
Water babies feel right at home in picturesque Deep Cove, a short drive from downtown Vancouver and a haven for water sports enthusiasts. Rent a kayak at Deep Cove Canoe & Kayak and glide through the water, up picturesque Indian Arm, to Granite Falls. This photogenic park offers camping spots for multi-day trips. A growing trend with both celebs and weekend warriors: paddle boarding. Stand upright on a long, flat, surf-style board and use a long paddle to manoeuvre through the calm waterways.
Grab a fishing pole and head into the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve for some peaceful trout fishing around Rice Lake. The main dock is usually busy but the three-km- (1.8-mi-) long path around the lake is filled with hidden benches and quiet corners.
Learn about the culture and history of the Coast Salish First Nations on a guided canoe trip through Indian Arm with Takaya Tours. The traditional wood canoes are 7.6 m (25 ft) in length and tours can be customized to include drumming, songs and stories. End your day on the water with a grilled salmon feast, available by request.
Landlubbers seeking an outdoor escape head north of downtown to kick up dirt on the tree-covered mountains. The 48-km- (30-mi-) long Baden-Powell Trail, a winding stretch through the North Shore Mountains, starts in Horseshoe Bay and ends in Deep Cove. Don’t feel pressured to complete the entire route in one go—an ambitious venture, indeed—as the trail has multiple entry points and smaller trails branching off along the way. A couple of route highlights: the famous Grouse Grind, also known as Mother Nature’s StairMaster; the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge; and Quarry Rock lookout in Deep Cove.
Those with a need for speed grab a mountain bike and burn rubber on backwoods trails. Mt. Seymour, Mt. Fromme and
Cypress Mountain offer paved, gravel and plank-covered paths ranging from relaxed cross-country to extreme downhill. If you’re a first timer looking for a little guidance, companies such as Endless Biking (page 64) can set you up with an instructor and guide.
If a city bike is more your style, 10 km (6 mi) of paved trails await on the car-free Seymour Valley Trailway. Do you have some energy to spare? Peddle the paved roads all the way to the top of both Cypress and Seymour.
Head a little further north, to the Stawamus Chief Park, for hard-core rock-climbing on the second largest granite monolith in the world (think sheer rock face with nowhere to go but up). If you prefer pounding the dirt to dangling from ropes, make your way up and through the mountains via trails, ladders and stairs to either the first, second or third peak. The climb is a bit challenging but the 360-degree views from the top make it well worth the sweat. Before heading back into Vancouver, visit neighbouring Shannon Falls, the third-highest waterfall in British Columbia.
Up in the Air
Challenge your fear of heights on the 137-m- (450-ft-) long Capilano Suspension Bridge, hanging 70 m (230 ft) above the rushing river. This popular attraction with both visitors and locals added a jaw-dropping new feature this year: the Cliffwalk, a cantilevered and suspended walkway that juts out of a granite cliff face. The faint of heart may balk at the glass-bottomed sections, which offer crystal-clear views of the canyon far below.
Feel the wind beneath your wings as you set flight from the top of Grouse Mountain on a tandem paragliding ride with an elevation drop of 1,000 m (3,300 ft). No experience is required but a sense of adventure is a must.