Are you looking for the best hikes in Vancouver? Well it is without hesitation that I recommend Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver. This post is chalked full of photos to show why I loved this family adventure!
It was an average Sunday in our household, which means “Sunday – Funday!” While I had absolutely NO ambition to peel off the warm blankets and get moving, the reality is that you can’t write a blog about adventure and spend Sundays on the couch.
I told the kids it was time for family fun and it warmed my heart how quickly they were digging out their hiking boots and collecting all of their gear. “I need a hat” , “I need a whistle” – music to my ears.
We chose Lighthouse Park because of the family friendly slope and the view of the lighthouse. Other than that, I had no clue about the park.
My first surprise was when we arrived. Apparently the sunny 15 degree February day had given many people the same idea and the parking lot was PACKED. It turned out that it was a bit of a game, but there seemed to be as many people finishing up their hikes as there was starting them, so it only took a little wait before we had our spot.
The trail didn’t disappoint. It had a nice wide walking trails which my children “flew” like airplanes down. There was lots of points of interest along the way to stop and look at… way more than I expected.
The kids took turns fighting over who got to take pictures of all the scenery. “Look at that tree…” “Let’s go check this out”
“We never could have loved the earth if we had no childhood in it” George Eliot
After about 15 minutes we reached the trail head for the Lighthouse:
Another minute – up some steps and we could see the awesome lighthouse. This immediately prompted questions about what a lighthouse is and why it’s there… emergent learning… check.
So we were about 20 minutes into our adventure at this point and we decided to check out some of the other trails… not part of the plan but we still had lots of energy. After a five minute walk down another trail we came out at the top of the beach overlooking Stanley Park and Vancouver. It was awesome!!!
The kid’s legs couldn’t carry them down to the beach fast enough! We spent the next hour rock climbing, beachcombing, looking for driftwood, taking photos, and watching boats go by – all under beautiful and warm sunny skies. It was a magical afternoon!
The hike back up to the parking lot was a little bit more challenging and the kids were a bit tired so I pulled out some “healthy” fruit candy and selected points of interest that once we reached them they got a candy. Needless to say we got to the parking lot quickly and without whining (or me having to carry anyone!)
I highly recommend this excursion… it is well worth the drive (45 minutes from Langley) and it’s a short enough hike that you can combine it with other activities during the day (we went to Stanley Park afterwards)
– Family Friendly, easy terrain, even for strollers
– Dogs allowed
– Washrooms on site
– LOTS to look at (Mountain Bikers, hikers, other people, trees, hils, cliffs, etc)
– AMAZING views right in our back yard!
– Parking – just be prepared to park tight and wait a bit for a spot to free up.
– I didn’t pack enough snacks… I normally pack too much!
– Kids love maps, so on the way there I gave them a map to look at and the whole time we discussed different elements of the map.
– The Compass in my car was fun as it correlated to a map. An unexpected opportunity for learning.
– Tons of opportunities for emergent learning in the forest, including the cut from the tree, the signage throughout the park, and the obvious elements like the light house.
– We listened for all the different languages we could hear and lost count… people from all over the world travel here, to a destination we take for granted. It opened up several different conversations which were great!