6 southern B.C. hikes to take on before the summer ends

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      It is unfortunate that B.C. has been experiencing a torrent of wildfires this season, which led to a smoky haze that covered Metro Vancouver for multiple days.

      But the forecast has since cleared up, which means it’s a green light for those who want to trek up the mountains for a hike or two.

      Besides the fact that our province is known for beautiful multiple-day hikes, we also have access to trails that can be completed in a few hours or as a day-trip.

      For those who haven’t already made the journey up to these photo-worthy spots, here are six southern B.C. hikes that are within driving distance from the city.

      It's refreshing to enjoy lunch next to Widgeon Falls.
      Tammy Kwan

      1. Widgeon Falls

      Where: Pinecone Burke Provincial Park, Pitt Meadows

      If you like variety when you are engaging in outdoor activities, this short hiking trip may appeal to you. The trailhead for this hike begins in Pitt Lake in Pitt Meadows (about an hour drive from downtown Vancouver). Before starting this 6-kilometre round-trip trek, you’ll have to canoe across the lake (canoe and kayak rentals are available at Pitt Lake Canoe Adventure Rentals). Expect to see plenty of wildlife while you navigate through the waterways. Pack a lunch to enjoy on the rocks that surround the waterfalls—it’s a pretty view but can get busy on the weekends.

       

      You'll be compelled to take a photo of Garibaldi Lake.
      Manny Lee

      2. Garibaldi Lake

      Where: Garibaldi Provincial Park, Squamish

      When people tell you that “the view is worth it”, then you know it isn’t going to be an easy hike. Garibaldi Lake is one of those time-consuming treks (18-kilometres to be exact) that forces you to exert a lot of energy right from the beginning. It involves hiking with an elevation, but you’ll be walking on well-maintained trails with a fair amount of people on sunny summer days. Have your smartphone or camera ready for photo-worthy backdrops that include streams of water, wooden bridges, lush greens, and most importantly—the glistening body of water with a turquoise hue that is known as Garibaldi Lake. Yes, it’s definitely worth it once you reach the top.

       

      Lighthouse Park offers plenty of trails that can be easily completed.
      Lucian Savluc/Flickr
       

      3. Lighthouse Park

      Where: Dundarave, West Vancouver

      Depending on which trail you choose—Lighthouse Park encompasses many different trails—this hike can be a short walk in the park or a moderate trek. There’s minimal elevation gain and the round-trip hike that loops around the park is only 6-kilometres. From walking through Douglas Fir trees to taking photos of the iconic lighthouse to enjoying snacks on the picnic tables while gazing at coastal views, you may end up spending more time here than you originally planned.

       

      A view of Howe Sound atop the second peak at Stawamus Chief.
      Edna Chong

      4. Stawamus Chief

      Where: Stawamus Chief Provincial Park, Squamish

      Affectionately known as “the Chief”, this popular Squamish hike is an 11-kilometre round-trip intermediate trek. Its trailhead is located an hour drive away from downtown Vancouver, and attracts plenty of avid hikers on any given day. You’ll be faced with lots of uphill climbing on wooden steps, and chains and ropes that you’ll use to pull yourself up near the top of the summit. Consider it an adventure, because once you overcome all the climbing and pulling and scrambling when you reach one of the three peaks, you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking view of Howe Sound and several mountaintops. If you plan on having lunch atop the granite slab, don’t feed the chipmunks (they will try to steal your food).

       

      Joffre Lakes may be one of the most beautiful hikes in southern B.C.
      Regina Kwan

      5. Joffre Lakes

      Where: Joffre Lakes Provincial Park, East of Pemberton

      Located near Pemberton, Joffre Lakes may be one of the most photographed hikes in Metro Vancouver. It’s an intermediate 10-kilometre round-trip hike that can be completed in a couple of hours, depending on how long you want to stop for pictures and snacks. The trail passes three different lakes, but it’s the middle and upper Joffre Lake that has the eye-catching turquoise colour. Keep an eye out for the log that extends into the water, because that’s a prime photo spot where everyone gets their picture taken. Besides the bodies of water, try to enjoy the trails—you’ll be surrounded by a thick forest with some steep climbs and switchbacks. The hike itself is short, but some people find the drive too far from Vancouver—consider staying a night in Whistler or Squamish.

       

      You can never go wrong with the views from Quarry Rock.
      Michelle Tek

      6. Quarry Rock

      Where: Deep Cove, North Vancouver

      If you think Granville Island is a tourist hot spot in the summer months, try heading to Quarry Rock in Deep Cove. Many Vancouverites considered it a hidden gem, but it seems the cat is out of the bag. There are plenty of hikes on the North Shore, but this may be one of the most popular hiking destinations because of its accessibility (a 30-minute drive from downtown Vancouver) and difficulty-level: easy. Expect a 3.8-kilometre round-trip journey that includes walking through a dense forest, crossing wooden bridges, and enjoying gorgeous views of Indian Arm and the surrounding mountains. The hardest part of your trip may be finding a spot on the rock to take a snack or lunch break—it can get extremely busy on weekends. Once you’ve finished your hike, you can make your way back down and check out the Deep Cove community.  

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