There are an endless number of good views to admire around Vancouver, and an endless number of places to admire them from. Here are a few of my favourites:
There are those who believe that the best view in the city is from the Northern beaches of English Bay – around downtown and Stanley Park. Don’t believe them – from the south side, the Kitsilano side, you get the same view out to the Strait of Georgia, but you also get a direct view of the North Shore Mountains, and you can see the skyscrapers of Downtown, as well.
On a clear day, you can easily see Seymour, raising over Downtown, Grouse and Cypress mountains on the north shore – during winter evenings, they are lit up for night skiing. Further to the west, you can see the Lions, as well as the mountains of the Sunshine Coast. At the corner of West Vancouver, where it meets English Bay, you can make out the famous lighthouse that gives Lighthouse Park its name.
Finally, out to the ocean, you get an unobstructed view of English Bay and the Strait of Georgia. You can watch sailors and windsurfers getting the most out of warm days, or, on clear days, you can gaze all the way to Vancouver Island.
Despite the fact that it is a clothing option beach, the best views are out to the Ocean. Trust me on this one. The seemingly endless beach, curling around the base of UBC, gives wonderful views out to the Strait of Georgia, and to the distant Islands and mountains.
The view itself might not be quite as good as some others on this list, but the secludedness and beauty of the beach itself elevates Wreck Beach into this category.
UBC, Kitsilano and Downtown can all be seen from across English Bay, at Lighthouse Park. Watch the ferries – or the tankers, if necessary – streaming past, or simply enjoy the peacefulness of the view.
Quarry Rock – Near Deep Cove
Okay, somewhere that isn’t on the coast, you say? Head out to Deep Cove. Head along the Baden-Powell trail towards Lynn Canyon, until you come to the viewpoint at Quarry Rock.
Or, if you’re adventurous start your journey at Lynn Canyon, and walk the Baden-Powell trail to Deep Cove. One of the last parts of the trip takes you right past this undeniable highlight of the trail.
From the rocky vantage point, you overlook the Indian Arm of Burrard inlet and can see Belacarra, which Port Moody in the distance.
Top of Grouse
It might be a bit overcrowded and touristy, but the view from the top of Grouse is sensational. The best place to take it in is right underneath the gondola, on the little grassy clearing, before the face of the cliff (don’t worry, there’s a large fence to keep you from falling down the side of the mountain.
From your vantage point, high above the city, you can see all of the city of Vancouver and well beyond. The distance mountains are clear, as are the island of the Strait of Georgia. You can even see all the details of the off-limits Capilano watershed (source of drinking water for most of Greater Vancouver).
You’ll appreciate the view much more if you avoid the overpriced gondola ride to the top. Instead, hike the Grind or, if you’re up for more of an adventure, bike up the backside (along a dirt service/forestry road).
Which to Choose?
All the views have their own charms and drawbacks. Grouse and Jericho are great, but tend to be a bit busier. No matter where you go, you’ll find one of the great spots to admire the natural beauty that makes Vancouver such a great place to live.
What do you think? What are your favourite views in and around Vancouver? Share your comments below!