The Grouse Grind (or as it is know around Vancouver simply, “The Grind”) was first developed in 1981 and has become Vancouver’s most... more » popular hike with more than 100 000 hikers yearly. Summer weekends see a steady stream of people “Doin the Grind” from when the trail opens till closing. With an approximate 56 per cent slope (30°) and very few flat parts this hike is often refereed to as Nature’s StairMaster. Most view the Grind as a workout as there are no viewpoints along the route and it consists of mainly stairs, thus it is primary completed for exercise. However, many tourists to Vancouver also feel obligated to make the climb if for nothing more than to say they did it and complain about the hike being to steep and crowded (which are both valid complaints).
The trail head is at the base of Grouse mountain and is found at the end of Capilano road in North Vancouver. There is ample parking near the trail head and buses run all the way to the hikes starting point (if using Google maps find directions to Grouse Mountain Skyride). To find the trail, look for the Grouse Grind sign just east of the Skyride (If coming up Capilano road the trail head is just left of the Gondola complex). Look for the notice board, clock and water vending machine then go through the gate which locks when it gets to late to start, normally around 7:00 in the summer.
Once through the gate, follow the trail over a small bridge then start ascending the mountain. You will come to a trail fork for the Baden Powell Trail, go left at the fork and continue up the mountain. If you are looking for a less busy and slightly less strenuous trail to the top of the mountain then follow the fork right and take the BCMC trail up the mountain.
The Grind is a well marked and developed trail. The hike is fairly uneventful apart from the quarterly markers measuring your progress. Each section is a constant uphill ascent of stairs both natural and man made but the third and fourth quarter are the steepest with some very steep portions.
Most will reach the peak’s plateau in around 1.5 hours with Vancouver elite “Grinders” completing the trail in half an hour. Once at the top, snacks, drinks and even burgers are available for purchase at the Peak Chalet.
There are also a number of tourist attractions at the top of the mountain including:
- Wildlife Refuge with two grizzly bears
- Lumberjack shows
- Eye of the wind
- Animal wood carvings
- Mountain zip lines
The tourist information center in the chalet has more information on these and other activities. The top of Grouse mountain is also the start of many other hikes into the Lynn Valley Headwaters park including the Hanes Valley Hike.
After checking out the sights and resting at the top of the mountain it is time to head back down. You can save your knees by paying $10 for the Gondola ride down. Hiking down the Grouse Grind trail is prohibited so for those interested in hiking down the best options is to follow the British Columbia Mountaineering Club (BCMC) trail down the mountain which is included in this track.
The BCMC trail starts to the right of where the Grouse Grind arrives at the mountain and is marked clearly with a red warning sign. This hike runs parallel to the Grouse Grind but is slightly less steep but longer. It is clearly marked with orange markers and meets up with the Grind near the bottom of the trail.
Although this may not be the best or most interesting hike Vancouver’s North Shore has to offer, the Grind should be on each Vancouver tourists to do list and is a great workout for those who prefer a natural StairMaster to the gym. less «
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