Vancouver, British Columbia is easily one of the most beautiful cities in the world. That's one of the reasons why celebrities like Ryan Reynolds, George Clooney, and numerous other stars are often spotted traveling in the coastal Canadian city. Due to the city's proximity to both the ocean and the mountains, near-endless outdoor activities are at the fingertips of every visitor. This includes the uber-popular Grouse Grind which is a mere 30-minute drive from the bustling downtown core.
The 3-kilometer hike up Grouse Mountain is among the many free things you can do when visiting Vancouver, B.C. But this isn't a typical hike. It's a surprisingly hard workout with an unbelievably beautiful pay-off.
Without further ado, here is what to expect when hiking Vancouver's iconic Grouse Grind Trail.
10 The Hike Is A Trend In Vancouver As Much As It Is An Amazing Workout
There are many things to know when planning your trip to Vancouver, B.C. Of course, you have to plan for the possibility of rain, budget for phenomenal but expensive food, and, of course, prepare to get into the fads of the city. Without a doubt, hiking the Grouse Grind is one of the most popular things for active Vancouverites, as well as tourists, to do during the Spring to Fall months. The 3 KM workout takes you up 2,830 stairs and 853 meters to one of the most incredible views in the area. But since this hike is so popular, chances are you'll find it as great for people-watching as it is for a workout.
9 It's Called "Nature's Stairmaster" Because It's A Serious Hike
New visitors to the Grouse Grind may be curious about a few frequently asked questions about the hike itself. Of the most common questions is about the intensity of the hike. While The Grouse Grind isn't a particularly long hike, it is grueling. In fact, it has been called "Mother Nature's Stairmaster." The hike is split into four quarters that get increasingly more difficult, steep, and narrow. Being in decent physical shape is a must. However, you can take as long as you need to get to the top.
8 How Long It Takes To Climb It Completely Depends On Your Fitness Level As Well As How You Treat The Hike
The Grouse Grind is easily Vancouver's most used trail due to the view at the top and the intensity of the hike itself. The average time it takes for someone to reach the summit is one hour and 30 minutes. Although you can take as long as you need to reach the top of the 3-kilometer hike that climbs more than 850 meters. Very fit people can do it in 45 minutes to an hour. But the official record holder for the fastest summit is 23 minutes and 48 seconds. And yes, that person was pretty much running it. That can be very dangerous given that the hike mostly consists of narrow and slippery wooden stairs built into the rock.
7 Views Are Staggered Along The Way Until You Get To The Utterly Spectacular Top
The Grouse Grind is not a scenic hike until you get to the top. The summit of the hike is the reward. On clear days, the view is utterly spectacular. You can see almost all of Metro Vancouver, including the gorgeous city, airport, the bays, and the endless Pacific Ocean. If it's really clear, you can even see Mount Baker and the U.S. state of Washington. The hike itself is almost entirely wooded and is a beautiful hike through dense forest. But it's really more about the exercise even though you do get the occasional, staggered, slightly obstructed view as you near the end of the hike.
6 The Grind Is NOT Open All Year Long And Can Shut Down At A Moment's Notice
The local government of Metro Vancouver is in charge of determining whether or not the trail should be open. Usually, it's safe to assume the trail will be open in the spring until the middle of fall, even though you can take the gondola up to the top of Grouse Mountain almost every day of the year. But, according to the Mountain's official website, the area may close at a moment's notice if experts believe the conditions are too dangerous. This may mean too much rain, snow, or ice makes the hike too slippery. Opening hours of the hike depend on daylight but at the height of the summer, the Grind opens at 6:15 AM and stays available until 7:00 PM.
5 It's Not The Type Of Hike Where You Stop For A Picnic
Some hikes offer multiple places for visitors to stop, take pictures, and even picnic. But The Grouse Grind is NOT one of those hikes. It's like going on a Stairmaster that just doesn't end until you finally realize you're at the top. It's true that there are a few spots where you can step to the side for a breath of fresh air or even get a look at the increasingly beautiful view, but the vast majority of the hike is heavily wooded, narrow, and steep.
4 You'll Be Hot On The Hike But Possible Freezing When You Stop
Due to the Grind being open during the warmest months of the year, some visitors may think that a jacket won't be needed on the hike. This makes a lot of sense given how much energy hikers need to exude to get to the top. Yes, you'll get very hot on the hike. But if you stip, chances are you'll be freezing. This is because the higher you go, the colder the weather gets, even in the heat of the summer. During the fall months, TripAdvisor reviewers really recommend you bring a few extra layers just in case.
3 The Hike Is Free... Until You Get To The Top And Want To Get Off The Mountain
Like most hikes, The Grouse Grind is completely free... sort of. Climbing the mountain itself is no more expensive than the parking ticket you'll have to pay for at the bottom. However, once you get to the top of the Grind, you will be asked to shell out $15 to get back down on the gondola. This is because climbing down the Grind is basically prohibited, even though some people do it. This is because it poses a risk to hikers due to how narrow and steep the hike is. Regardless, the gondola ride down the mountain is absurdly beautiful and shouldn't be missed.
2 The Top Of The Mountain Offers Resort Experiences That Rival Whistler Village
Due to the presence of the gondola, the top of Grouse Mountain tends to be open most of the year even when the hike is shut. According to the mountain's official website, the top of the mountain has a number of seasonal attractions that both Grind climbers and regular visitors can enjoy. This includes first-class facilities in the Peak Chalet and Rusty Rail BBQ. There's also a lumberjack showground, ziplining, a wildlife refuge with resident Grizzly Bears, and skating and snowshoeing in the winter. While it doesn't have all the extravagant shops that the nearby Whistler Village has, it certainly rivals it in other ways.
1 Who Some Of The Fastest Climbers Are Will Surprise You
When you think of the people who climb The Grind the fastest, your mind probably goes to the hottest, youngest, athletic-types. While the Grouse Grind certainly attracts these people, some of the climbers who summit the Grind the fastest will surprise you. According to multiple reviewers on TripAdvisor, there are multiple climbers above the age of 60 who do the Grind nearly every day that it's open. This means that you may be huffing and puffing next to a far older person who is faster due to being used to the intensity of the hike.