Kid-friendly hikes around Vancouver

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When the sun comes out in full force like it has in Vancouver lately, I want to maximize the time I’m outdoors with my kids. If we’re not off on a camping adventure, we’re at least stomping around on one of the many beautiful trails that wind through the trees in and around the city. Here are a few of our favourites:

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Rice Lake/Lynn Headwaters

Depending on how you might feel that day, and whether you have a stroller, a bum knee, or a lot of wobbly toddlers, you can decide on a number of different paths to visit this area of Lynn Valley. Just over the bridge from East Vancouver, Rice Lake is a nice stroll (about an hour) with some meandering paths that kids can run around on. There’s also a long dock in the middle of the lake stocked with rainbow trout if you feel like stopping for a quick fish too. If you’re looking for a longer trek, or even for a swain to cool off, you can break off the Rice Lake trail onto one of the easily marked paths towards Lynn Headwaters, where there are some stunning pools and even some spots to jump off of.

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Quarry Rock – Deep Cove

This hike is an easy one, and can take about 45 minutes to an hour with your little ones. I’ve seen the view through many a beautiful instagram photo, but have yet to successfully get up there myself. Sooooon. It can get crazy busy trying to find parking in Deep Cove, so be prepared to drive around for a bit, or avoid the major holidays when planning your trip here. We attempted to go on the long weekend, but didn’t find a spot after 45 minutes of trying – so here are some beautiful images we took on a rainy day when we made it halfway up – taken by our friend of Images by Bethany . You’ll just have to get up there to see the view yourself!

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Pacific Spirit Regional Park

This is a great spot if you’re wanting to wear out your dog as well as your children. These trails are out by UBC, and can wind around for 3 hours if you’re feeling especially enamoured by the scenery; but, there are some shorter jaunts as well, just follow the well-marked signs and you can decide how deep you want to explore. This forest is lush and filled with enormous trees, neon green moss, and fairy-like mushrooms. You’ll probably see quite a few mountain bikers (you might be one yourself), and perhaps a horse or two as Southlands (stables and farms) is close by. Pack a picnic and don’t rush this one.

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The Chief – 1st Peak

The Chief is the longest drive and takes you out of Vancouver towards Squamish; but if you really want to unplug from the city it’s a great way to make a day of it. It’s a super popular hiking spot that I had been wanting to take my kids to forever; but worried it would be too hard for them – it’s not an easy hike. I took my youngest (5 years old) with my friend Bree and her two boys (6 & 9), and they ripped up it like nobody’s business, with nary a complaint. We went up to the first outlook, where the helicopter pad is (took us about 2 hours to get up), had a mountaintop picnic, and headed down again to crossover to Shannon Falls and breath in all the cooling mists.

Bring lots of water! Snacks of course – and a few bandages for banged up knees & shins.

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Let us know your favourite hiking trails to take the kids – or just to take it easy! We love to hear from you and to add to our lists! Happy hiking!

peaks-and-harbours Carina-Marie Nilsson is the co-founder of Peaks and Harbours, a Vancouver “not just for moms” blog that showcases everything our city has to offer the younger crowd. @carinamarienilsson

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