10 of the most Insta-worthy dog-friendly hikes near Vancouver
A hike is always better when there’s a great viewpoint at the end – and we’ve rounded up the best ones for you and your pooch.
British Columbia is famous for its mountainous landscape and rugged coastline, and with it plenty of trails and hikes with breathtaking viewpoints that will turn even the hottest Instagram influencer green with jealousy.
From easy lake strolls to challenging scrabbles, we’ve put together the most Insta-worthy dog-friendly hikes near Vancouver you can explore with your pup.
One of Vancouver’s most popular hikes with stunning views of Howe Sound, Bowen Island and the Sunshine Coast, Tunnel Bluffs is a favourite among Vancouverites and their dogs. Just 40 minutes from Vancouver on Highway 99 near Lions Bay, early risers can get bright photos of the bay without afternoon glare – and the crowds – whereas early evening hikers can take in the warm glow of the sun setting, with dazzling photos to show off.
A heavily-trafficked hike with a relatively small lookout at the end, this trek is best saved for a weekday, or an early morning on the weekend. Likewise, parking is very limited, with a few paid spots at the trailhead or a very small free car park near the school a few kilometres downhill.
2. Eagle Bluffs
One of the North Shore’s most famous hikes and Tunnel Bluffs’ bigger brother, Eagle Bluffs has a panoramic view of Howe Sound, Vancouver, Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland. Although there’s far more space for that perfect pup photo, you’ll still find this trail on Cypress Mountain is as heavily-trafficked – perhaps more so than Tunnel Bluffs – and features some steep inclines to ascend to the top.
The strain is worth it though, as there’s a gorgeous lake at the top for a quick dip – for you and your pooch – either before or after you make your way over to the viewpoint at Eagle Bluffs and Black Mountain.
For dog owners who would rather a gentler hike, Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver has trails to suit each member of the family, including your pup. From scrabbles up boulders for viewpoints to easy strolls along the beach, this hidden gem is tucked away on Marine Drive away from the hustle and bustle of the mountains. The many trails means your hike can be as long or as short as you please – and with breathtaking views of the city and the ocean.
The lighthouse – which the park is aptly named after – can be found at the southern point of the park with a rock viewpoint overlooking the top. If you edge around the park towards the left of the lighthouse, you can spot it over from the beaches, or a bit closer if you and your pup are willing to do some rock hopping. Be careful as the tide can come in very quickly here.
A full workout, The Chief in Squamish should only be undertaken if you and your pup have the stamina and ability to climb stairs pretty much the entire time, as well as being able to scrabble up chains, ladders and steep inclines. Dog owners should also be careful to ensure their pooch is on leash throughout the hike – the peaks in particular have steep drops and pets should be kept close at all times.
Although the staircase hike may test you on the way up, the views at the top are worth it with near panoramic views of Squamish and the surrounding mountains – and the hike can again be extended by hiking over to the second and third peaks. BC Parks day use passes are needed for this trail until October 22, with hikers being able to choose AM or PM passes.
5. Dog Mountain
Aptly named after man’s best friend, Dog Mountain in Mount Seymour Provincial Park is a fantastic place to take your pooch for a pup pic. The hike is relatively easy – and short at an hour each way – while offering panoramic views of the Lower Mainland and mountains by Indian Arm – perfect for a few snaps of the city or mountains behind your furry friend.
An easy add on is Mystery Lake, where on a hot day you and your pup can have a dip while surrounded by beautiful mountain vistas.
6. Lynn Canyon
A rainy day favourite or a spot to relieve yourself from the heat of the day, Lynn Canyon on the North Shore offers a multitude of trails, including a free alternative to the Capilano Suspension Bridge – the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge.
Recently reopened after the Covid-19 waves earlier in the year, the bridge is narrow and relatively short, but offers great views over the flowing canyon below, as well as a great spot to take a snap of your pooch. There are various off-leash areas for your dog to run around too, including the shallow pools north of the bridge for an easy paddle for both dog and owner.
The Capilano Canyon in North Vancouver makes a great rainy day walk as the majority of the trail is covered by trees and has the fast flowing Capilano River running through it – meaning pups should be kept close on leashes at all times.
At the top of the canyon is the Cleveland Dam, a towering structure which can be mesmerizing to watch as the water cascades down. Salmon fishing is also big here in the fall, with a hatchery also tucked in on the river bend to watch young salmon enter the river.
Grouse Mountain is also nestled behind the Capilano Lake at the top of the dam, providing moody, misty views on cooler days. On a clear day, the mountains behind the watershed at the lake provide a beautiful backdrop for photos of you and your pup, with colourful floral bushes to frame the photo next to a grassy area for a picnic.
An Instagrammer’s favourite hiking spot in Vancouver, St Mark’s Summit on the Howe Sound Crest Trail offers yet another spot for stunning views over Howe Sound and the bay. A slightly longer hike at about 6 hours, this one has some slightly steep areas but is relatively straightforward for the most part, with the hike up through the trees being very worthwhile when you finally reach the viewpoints.
There are some very steep drops here so dogs do need to be kept on leash and especially close to owners at all times. Vancouver Trails advises that dog owners looking for a slightly longer hike turn around after St Mark’s Summit, as the trail towards the Lions can be very rocky and dangerous for your pooch.
Luckily though, there’s also another viewpoint on the way up – or down if you go a slightly different way, making a little loop – at the Bowen Lookout.
9. Jug Island
If you’ve been missing an overseas vacation this year, look no further than Jug Island in Belcarra Regional Park. The beach at the end of the trail feels almost tropical, with the shimmering water of Indian Arm and the clear coral waters around the island transporting you abroad to sunnier destinations. Wildlife is also abundant, with seals regularly popping by on the hunt for some lunch near the island too.
An easy trail taking about an hour each way with some uneven and rooty ground, this is a great trail for both owner and dog, as you can both easily take a dip in the waters off the beach. It’s also a popular place for kayakers and paddle boarders visiting from Deep Cove or another spot around Indian Arm.
Although you can easily swim to the island, there are sharp rocks surrounding it with limited flat land on the island to actually stand on. The beach itself is small, so visiting at a quieter time is recommended – and for the best sun, head there in the mornings when the sun will be shining on the beach.
Nestled over at UBC, the sprawling rainforest at Pacific Spirit Regional Park has a multitude of trails in over 750 hectares of forest that weave in and out of huge Douglas Firs – perfect for a long or short hike that’s an incredibly popular trail for dog walkers. There are plenty of spots for photo opportunities too – with a wealth of ferns, logs and tree stumps among the giant Firs you’ll have no shortage of spots to take snaps of your pooch.