Climb the Grind, Hike the Chief

Few recreational day hikes are tougher, or busier, than the Grouse Grind. Running 853m up the side of Grouse Mountain over a distance of exactly 2.9km.  Nature’s Stairmaster is a legend in Vancouver, and rightly so. Alternatively, head to the climbing mecca of Squamish to hike the imposing Stawamus Chief for spectacular views of over Howe Sound.

Overview

Length of Trip : Both hikes average around 90 minutes, budget an afternoon to recover and enjoy the attractions at the top of Grouse Mountain or the view at the top of the Chief.

Cost : Free. Although there is a $10 fee for the Grouse Mountain return gondola if you don't want to walk back down.

Best time to go : Summer, or any clear day May to October

Wheelchair friendly : No

Family friendly : Recommended for teens upward.

Where to eat : Grind options: Grab your celebratory beer, nachos and view of the city at Altitudes Bistro. For more casual fare there’s the Grouse Grind Coffee Bar. You’ll want to freshen up before considering the fine dining option at The Observatory. Chief option: For casual fare and excellent craft beer, head to the Howe Sound Brew Pub in Squamish.

Where to Stay : Hotel Vancouver or Fairmont Pacific Rim

Getting There : Grouse Mountain: Head up to the top of Capilano Road in North Vancouver. There is paid parking on the left, and free parking on the right closest to the trailhead. The Chief: Head from Vancouver towards Squamish/Whistler on Highway 99. You will see signs for the chief (and the massive monolith itself) shortly before you reach Squamish.

Note from Robin : The Grind is certainly not for everybody. It’s a tough hike. If you do want to go for it, it’s easy enough to have friends and family meet you at the top, as they can take the gondola. Grouse has various attractions at the top, including a Grizzly Bear enclosure, wood carving demonstrations and lookout points. On the other hand, the Chief is moderate and can be attempted by anyone in average physical shape. Spend some time enjoying outstanding views from the top, and that you didn’t need to climb a sheer rock face to get there. Pack a sandwich for the top and explore the various peaks.

Gallery

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Photo: Grouse Mountain

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Photo: Grouse Mountain

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Photo: Grouse Mountain

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Map

Further Reading

Interested in this Bucket List item: Here's some suggested readings:

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