Now that Vancouver has a healthy dose of snow on its coastal mountains, dog parents and hiking enthusiasts alike will be scratching their heads wondering where they can stretch their legs on the weekend as the alpine becomes less and less accessible.
And as Vancouver is one of the rainiest cities in the world, you might feel a little put off heading out into the wet weather in your spare time.
But considering waterfalls are even more spectacular during the rainy season, we’ve put together 7 of our favourite dog-friendly waterfalls you and your pooch can visit whatever the weather.
1. Bosumarne Falls, Chilliwack
This short but easy hike to Bosumarne Falls near Chilliwack Lake offers spectacular views for both you and your four-legged friend, with multiple smaller falls on the way to the impressive main show at the top end of the trail.
A 2-hour drive from Vancouver, this hike will take around an hour for the 2.5km round trip back to the road.
Although rated as easy and dog-friendly, there are sections on this trail that can be challenging for dogs, such as the bridge crossing and the rugged terrain closer to the main falls.
2. Cypress Falls, West Vancouver
An exciting off-leash hike for Vancouver dogs, Cypress Falls is extremely popular and is accessible any time of year due to its low elevation, which is great for those still wanting to get out on a hike when many places are buried under snow.
Perfect for a rainy day, this 2.7km out-and-back trail takes hikers and dogs through a dense forest full of old Cedar and Douglas Fir trees while passing the lower falls and Cypress Creek on their way up to the upper falls.
Cypress Falls is a dog-friendly park so off-leash dogs are welcome, it’s advisable to pop your dog on a leash any time you are near water – especially near waterfalls.
3. Alexander Falls, Whistler
Although the base and surrounding area of Alexander Falls is on private property, visitors to Whistler can visit these falls via the public viewing platform next to the car park year-round, meaning you can simply walk from your car without a hike to see them.
Accessed via the Callaghan Road on the way to Whistler Olympic Park, the falls freeze over in winter and can be best viewed in spring after the surrounding snow begins to melt, making it a stunning lookout to visit at any time of year. The car park does also see lots of snow – as does the road coming in – so be careful driving in. From Vancouver, the journey is roughly an hour and 30 minutes.
Winter tires are legally required on the Sea to Sky highway between October 1 and March 31, so if you are making a trip up to Whistler, make sure you are prepared to do so.
4. Nairn Falls, Pemberton
Conveniently located alongside Highway 99 on the outskirts of Pemberton, Nairn Falls is a great spot to stop at to stretch your legs if you’re on a road trip heading north. Likewise, it’s completely worth a visit even if you aren’t looking for a pit stop, with a 3km trip from the parking lot south towards the cavernous falls along a shaded canopy of trees.
The rockface next to the falls is particularly spectacular, having been carved out by the pressure of the water over the years.
These falls are great to visit year round, not only because they stay open despite snowy weather, but you can also camp further north near the parking lot during the summer months.
Although there is fencing in place to ensure visitors aren’t swept into the water, it’s still important to keep children close and dogs on a leash in the area, as the water is extremely powerful.
Nairn Falls are approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes away from Vancouver.
5. Shannon Falls, Squamish
The towering falls of Shannon Falls are iconic to Squamish, being visible along the Sea to Sky highway as travellers head north. Accessible all year round, there are 2 viewpoints on the short walk from the car park, with the loop taking 30 minutes along a 1km track.
Incredibly powerful and often visited as a pit stop along the road to Whistler, the falls are a great side trip either before or after completing a hike up the Chief or visiting Squamish as the trail itself is quite short, although beautiful.
Dogs are welcome in the park but need to be kept on a leash at all times.
6. Norvan Falls, Lynn Headwaters Regional Park
The hike to Norvan Falls in Lynn Headwaters Regional Park is well worth the (sometimes monotonous) out and back journey.
The trail begins from the car park and continues along a well-maintained path north, being a fairly flat and easy hike for all abilities. The closer you get to the falls, the more tricky the terrain is (think logs to hop over and gullies to traverse), but is easily managed by most.
Once you reach the falls, you’ll hear the undistinguishable roar of the water crashing down, which is magnificent if you manage to get near the spray. Depending on water levels, you can cross over the water to the other side to get a closer look, but beware, the terrain can be very slippery from the mist so keep four-legged friends and children close.
According to Vancouver Trails, dogs can be off-leash but must be kept under control.
A longer hike, the round-trip will take visitors around 5 hours to complete the 14km out and back trail, and is just 40 minutes from Vancouver on the North Shore.
7. Gold Creek Lower Falls, Golden Ears Provincial Park
Gold Creek Lower Falls in Golden Ears Provincial Park is a fantastic hike for anyone looking to head out for an easy hike with a pet or family members. The 5.5km out and back hike takes around 2 hours to complete, with visitors being able to amble along the relatively flat trail towards the falls from the parking lot.
Serenely clear waters and moss covered rainforest floors enchant hikers on the way to the falls, with many opportunities along the route to stop for a picnic or photo.
The falls are just an hour and 30 minutes drive from Vancouver and dogs can be off-leash – but only 1km away from the Parkway Road.