The magnificent outdoors is what keeps us coming back, in addition to the delectable Poutine in lovely Quebec and the top locations to see in Vancouver. This is especially true in British Columbia because of its vast and unspoiled natural beauty. And even better, several of British Columbia’s top hikes will lead you straight there.
A hiking vacation in lovely British Columbia is a terrific idea. Explore everything from the wild BC coast to the inner mountain peaks after arriving in Vancouver via plane. In between, stop for a drink in the Okanagan’s wineries or go lake kayaking on one of the interior BC’s beautiful lakes.
Are you prepared to explore British Columbia’s top trails for hiking, mountain biking, climbing, or other outdoor pursuits?
No matter what you’re looking for, British Columbia has a vast selection of the best hiking trails to suit your needs.
For a sunny weekend, choose from 2,463 family-friendly treks. View 184 wheelchair-accessible trails with useful accessibility tips. Consider one of the 5,406 paths with waterfalls or picturesque views for your upcoming outdoor activity.
Let’s Find Out The Best Hikes In BC:
1. Al’s Habrich Ridge Trail
The premier backcountry hiking trail in BC is the Al’s Habrich Trail. This track offers a half- to full-day trip for those looking for a little more from their hike; it winds through old-growth forest, ancient glacier formations, creeks, and waterfalls and offers sweeping, epic vistas of Howe Sound, Sky Pilot, and Mount Habrich itself.
Not to be missed is Al’s Habrich Trail, which is dotted with granite outcroppings, sub-alpine meadows, and the picturesque Neverland Lake. At Neverland Lake’s marker #66 and the “End of Marked Trail” sign, the trail comes to an end.
The Backcountry Access Road provides access; at Klettergarden Cliff, turn left uphill and continue past the water reservoir. To access Al’s Habrich Trail’s beginning, follow the signage and cross Olesen Creek. To reach Neverland Lake, the trail ascends sharply and winds around an old forest and granite boulders.
The most recent addition to this path, the Neverland Circle Path, begins on Al’s Habrich Trail just before Neverland Lake and forms a loop that ascends through an old-growth coastal forest to a pair of waterfalls known as Neverland Falls. Several swimming holes can be found nearby where you can cool off in the summer. Returning to Al’s Habrich trail, the path meanders.
2. Elfin Lakes Trail (Garibaldi Provincial Park)
The Elfin Lakes trip is normally a full-day excursion, but camping is an option if you’re feeling like an overnighter (highly advised; it’s a beautiful place to wake up!).
The trail starts at the Diamond Head parking lot, and the first five kilometers are spent on a broad gravel road that meanders through an old-growth forest, through a small waterfall, and eventually climbs to the Red Heather Meadows. This area has a day-use shelter with a wood stove that is a great place to stop for a break.
The second portion of the trip (6 km to Elfin Lakes) climbs up into Paul Ridge and enters the sub-alpine just after the Red Heather Shelter. Along the entire trail, there are spectacular views. After a short while, around 30 minutes into the trip, the trail ascends to Paul Ridge’s highest point, 1660 meters. From this point on, the trail winds downhill toward Elfin Lakes.
Two lakes (one swimmable and one designated for drinking water), a well-equipped shelter, and a campsite are available in a stunning subalpine area. The Gargoyles, Opal Cone, and Mamquam Lake are just a few nearby hiking destinations that can be explored after camping at Elfin Lakes.
This is one of the easier hikes in Garibaldi Provincial Park, with only around 600 meters of elevation increase, but it is just as stunning as the others.
3. Paul’s Tomb, Knox Mountain (Kelowna)
This broad, uncomplicated path in Knox Mountain Park in Kelowna travels along the east shore of Lake Okanagan. Before going to Paul’s Tomb, you can hike the Apex Trail up or drive to the magnificent overlook atop Knox.
When you finish, there is a swimming spot with cool, clear Okanagan water and a pebbly beach.
Go to the second lookout if you still have the stamina for breathtaking views of Kelowna.
4. Stawamus Chief (Squamish)
At 702 Meters Above Squamish, one of North America’s largest granite monoliths, this enormous cliff face is affectionately referred to as the Chief. One of the most well-known hikes in the Sea to Sky Corridor can also be found there.
The Stawamus Chief is a difficult trek, even though it isn’t extremely technical since it doesn’t mince words. Your heart and lungs will work overtime as the trail starts going uphill.
This is one of the most amazing hikes in British Columbia, out of all the best in BC.
The Stawamus Chief is separated into three peaks, and the main Chief Hiking Trail leads to all three.
4.1. Primary Peak
First Peak is the busiest and has the greatest views of Howe Sound because it is the closest of the three to the parking lot. It’s a beautiful vantage point to eat lunch or a snack because it has sheer cliffs on three sides. Just be aware that some drop-offs are fairly far away!
Although the climb is a 4 km round-trip from the parking lot, it will take you about 2-3 hours, owing to the steepness of the terrain. A quick party can be completed in 90 minutes.
With First Peak, exercise caution, as some ledges and drop-offs should be avoided.
4.2. Second Peak
Second Peak, the largest of the three peaks, is a worthwhile goal even on busy days. On its broad summit, many vantage points and perches offer panoramic views of Howe Sound, Squamish, and the peaks of Garibaldi Provincial Park.
First Peak and Third Peak are both visible from here, and even on a busy day, there is room for everyone.
4.3. Third Peak
The Third Peak’s tree-covered peak is located at the top of a massive granite slab. Third Peak, the highest of the three summits, is accessible by the Chief Trail or from Second Peak (preferred). It appears endless up here if you are approaching from Second Peak, where you will cross the North Gully.
The North Gully, one of the coolest overlooks in the region, is situated between Second and Third Peak and features 60-meter-wide sheer cliffs. It provides a breathtaking view of Mt. Garibaldi and the townsite of Squamish below. There are significant dips here, so exercise caution.
5. Sunshine Coast Trail (Powell River)
The 180-kilometer Sunshine Coast Trail connects Saltery Bay to Sarah Point in Desolation Sound across the uninhabited territory. The Powell River Parks and Wilderness Society (PAWS) was established in 1992 by a small group of people. They soon began constructing hiking paths to connect the remaining patches of old-growth trees in the area’s front country.
The path travels through many environments, including old-growth forests, creeks, lakes, mountaintops, and coastal shorelines. This allows hikers to explore Powell River’s stunning backcountry and its diverse flora and animals.
This legendary hiking trail, which draws hikers from all over the world, now has 14 shelters, with a 15th one planned for the following year. That makes it the longest free hut-to-hut hiking trail in Canada. In North America, this outdoor adventure holiday offers the finest value.
6. The Lions (West Vancouver)
While hiking The Lions Trail can tax your lungs, the views of Howe Sound are well worth it. The journey through thick woodland and the Coast Range Alpine is equally beautiful.
This is one of the most incredible hikes in British Columbia, out of all the best hikes in BC.
This quick hike along the same path will drop you off at your car. The peak is not necessary for hikers without climbing expertise to enjoy the Lions. Make sure to include food and water, plan for changing weather, and pack layers of clothing.
7. Mount Cheam (Chilliwack)
One of the most spectacular vistas in the Fraser Valley can be seen on Mount Cheam, which spans from Chilliwack and the communities along the Fraser River to Jones Lake, the surrounding peaks, and Mount Baker to the south.
This hike is one of the best hikes in BC out of all of the best hikes in BC.
The trail to Mount Cheam’s summit is not as challenging as getting there because the Forest Service Road demands a tough 4-wheel drive vehicle.
Walk past the logged hillsides along the old gravel road after crossing the logs from the parking area. The surrounding mountains can already be seen in great detail, and snow-covered Mount Baker in Washington State can be made out in the distance.
After this climb, you’ll feel on top of the world! You will be out in the open as the trail ascends the mountain through lovely meadows and gravelly terrain. All along the trip, you’ll get incomparable views. The elevation is 2,111 meters. A 4×4 vehicle is required to access the trailhead for this hike.
8. Judges Route, Mt. Arrowsmith (Port Alberni area)
The highest mountain on southern Vancouver Island is Mt. Arrowsmith, which rises to 1819 meters. The easiest and quickest ascent of Mount Arrowsmith is made possible by this climb, which follows the Judges’ path.
The route has a round-trip distance of about 6 kilometers, should take 5 hours, and has an elevation gain of roughly 1000 meters. The latter third of this non-technical but steep path requires some scrambling to reach the summit.
Any physically fit person with significant experience with steep ascents and descents and at ease on loose dirt and shale for most of the path should be able to complete this route. Fantastic 360-degree views may be had from the top.
On clear days, you can see the Strathcona Park mountains, the Coast Mountains, and the west coast sea. You will also get to sign your name in the summit registration as proof that you reached the top. Bring an ice axe, crampons, and snowshoes if it’s winter.
The trail starts from the parking lot by returning the way you came up the road, turning left, and going up the road. You will see the trail start on your left if you continue on this road to the end (around 25 minutes). Keep walking down the well-worn trail for the foreseeable future while keeping an eye out for flagging.
Additionally, there will be opportunities for you to take in Strathcona Provincial Park’s vistas of the mountains and the Port Alberni Valley. After roughly two hours, you will reach a viewpoint where you can see a radio tower in Arrowsmith.
Here, you should turn right and move higher. Once there, take in the vistas and register your name in the summit registry. As this is a fairly popular walk, be prepared to share the top with other hikers in the summer.
The tallest mountain on southern Vancouver Island is Mount Arrowsmith. The sights are worth the arduous climb to the top. The quickest and simplest path to the summit is hiking the Judges Route.
The journey isn’t difficult, but it is steep, and there will be a few places when you need to scramble. Hikers should be in good physical condition and equipped with lots of water, snacks, and emergency supplies.
9. Cape Scott Trail (Cape Scott Provincial Park)
At the northwest extremity of Vancouver Island, 563 kilometers from Victoria, is Cape Scott Provincial Park, a truly stunning region of rough coastal wilderness.
More than 115 kilometers of magnificent ocean frontage, including roughly 30 kilometers of breathtakingly remote beaches, set Cape Scott. This town was established in 1973 and got its name from the location of a lighthouse that has been directing seafarers since 1960.
Shushartie Bay in the east connects to San Josef Bay in the south, while the park circles Cape Scott in the west. Sharp headlands, salt marshes, and rocky promontories surround the fine-grained, white-sand beaches.
The longest and broadest of these beaches, Nels Bight, stretches approximately 2,400 metres at low tide and is one of the most popular camping spots in the park. Other notable beaches are San Josef Bay, Guise Bay, Experiment Bight, Lowrie Bay, and Nissen Bight.
This track is located in the rough, remote Cape Scott Provincial Park in Port Hardy, where the weather can be erratic. Extreme weather conditions and (sometimes muddy) wilderness pathways need hikers to be prepared and outfitted properly. On your journey, wear layers and be cautious of bears and cougars.
10. Juan De Fuca Marine Trail
The Juan de Fuca Marine Trail is a hiking trail across the wilderness. Since hiking conditions are always changing, hikers should check the trailhead information shelters for the most recent information before starting a hike. The trail will continue to be upgraded and built upon for several years.
Botanical Beach, Sombrio Beach, China Beach, and Juan de Fuca East are the four trailheads for the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail (China Beach). Any of these trailheads, which also provide several day-use options, can serve as the starting point for the day and multi-day hiking excursions.
The tidal pools of Botanical Beach are breathtaking, and there are many possibilities to see wildlife (including bears and cougars). This hike can be divided into four halves of 10 kilometers each.
Bear-proof food caches are available in Mystic Beach, Chin Beach, Bear Beach, Sombrio Beach, Little Kuitsche Creek, and Payzant Creek campsites. It could be required for visitors to rig their food cache if caches are already filled. Food should be stored away from animals. Plan to take only what you need with you. Garbage in pit toilets attracts bears; do not use them.
A wilderness hiking track called the Juan De Fuca Trail passes by some of the Vancouver Islands’ most secluded and inaccessible shorelines. Excellent coastal trekking may be found here, characterized by beautiful old-growth woodland and crashing waves.
11. Mt. Albert Edward (Strathcona Park)
Mt. Albert Edward’s distinctive “shark fin” or “ski jump” profile, as seen from several sites in the Comox Valley, attracts hikers of all skill levels. Fit and quick hikers may complete the peak, about 16 km from the Paradise Meadows trailhead in Strathcona Park, in a single day, but most people complete it in one or two nights.
Even inexperienced hikers can visit Mt. Albert Edward due to well-marked routes and a little elevation climb from the Paradise Meadows trailhead to Circlet Lake. The tough, unmaintained road beyond Circlet Lake provides a taste of more difficult wilderness navigation, harsh terrain, and steep inclines.
This hike is one of the best hikes in BC out of all of the best hikes in BC.
Additionally, the path provides more seasoned hikers with a picturesque starting point for longer, harder multi-day hikes. Visitors who take this route might see the endemic Vancouver Island white-tailed ptarmigan or Vancouver Island marmot in addition to stunning views of the mountains, the ocean, and delicate alpine wildflowers. Maybe hikers become complacent since access is so simple.
This hike’s signature features are its steep ascents and constrained pathways. Most hikers spend the night at Circlet Lake’s campsite since this is typically an overnight excursion. You might complete it as a trail run or a long day trek. Expect to encounter snow, rock cairns, and bugs if you bring your dog.
12. Golden Ears Trail (Maple Ridge)
This hike, a well-known one in Golden Ears Provincial Park in Metro Vancouver, rewards climbers with some of the most breathtaking views.
Golden Ears Provincial Park is home to the famed Golden Ears Trail, a strenuous climb that rewards hikers with breathtaking views. Although it can be finished in a single day, many people prefer to hike while camping. The trail is long and gets steeper as it goes along, with most of the elevation gain happening beyond the halfway mark. If you want to finish this hike in one day, make sure you leave early enough to have plenty of time during the day.
This popular hike takes between 10 and 12 hours to complete (running might be a little quicker). However, camping at Alder Flat and making the trip overnight are additional options if you’d like to experience something even more remarkable, such as seeing a sunrise or sunset.
Take pleasure in this 22.0-kilometer out-and-back track close to Maple Ridge, British Columbia. It takes an average of 9 hours and 48 minutes to accomplish this course, which is generally regarded as difficult. You might encounter other people while exploring because birding, camping, and hiking are all pretty common hobbies in this area.
The months of March through September are optimum for hiking this trek. Dogs are permitted, but they must be leashed.
I genuinely hope you enjoyed reading about the best hikes in BC and were inspired to try at least a few. Don’t miss the opportunity to hike while you are in British Columbia; there are many spectacular walks there. Make travel plans as soon as you can; it will be worthwhile.