The Grouse Grind is probably Vancouver's most popular hike, especially for the fitness oriented crowd. Most regulars know exactly how long it takes them to get to the top, and, what their PR is! There is even a bi-annual race. It's a very steep climb that may be described as a more natural version of stair-masterfor the after-work crowd. It was originally used as a training climb for those planning on longer hikes. These days, at the top, you can buy a snack, shop, hike some more, or grab a burger & coke, um, make that a beer. The view from the patio is awesome on a summer evening. You can hike down, or, take the gondola for $5. Imagine a Gondola full of sweaty hikers, or worse, imagine being the guide who operates the Gondola. The Grind is well marked, and has signs marking each quarter of the hike, so you have a rough idea of how much more to do. It's never a question of where to go (the trail is as worn in as the steps of St. Peters) but of how much further. Cardio! Singles! Sweat!Nature?
The start of the hike is easily found after driving or taking the bus up Capilano Road (stay right after crossing the Lion's gate bridge in Vancouver) to the base of the mountain, the road goes no further. On the way, you will pass the Capilano Suspension Bridge - another popular tourist destination. After parking in one of several areas (now pay, read as ripoff), make your way to the right of the road, opposite the Gondola, and look for a notice board, clock, and even a vending machine with water? you'll want water. Make sure you start before it gets too late (the region will help you in this way by locking a small gate at curfew time, which varies during the summer but is usually 7 p.m. or so).
If you like the proximity of the Grouse Grind but are ready for some variety, there are a number of North Shore hikes nearby - such as Black Mountain (Eagle Bluffs), Cypress falls, Brothers Creek, Deek's Bluffs, and so on, they are all on trailpeak - but you will have to forgo some of the conveniences of the Grind and you won't have the easy way down! Note that there are a few less crowded routes branching off of the Grouse Grind, but we'll leave you to discover those, hint BCMC.
The revival began in the early 90s, when the trail was appropriately named the Grouse Grind® in conjunction with the first ever Grouse Grind Mountain Run®, now Western Canada’s premiere trail challenge. Often referred to as “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster,” the trail has become part of the fabric of Vancouver. More than 100-thousand hikers a year take on the challenge of the rugged terrain and steep climb, up an approximate 56 per cent slope (30°), which starts at the Valley Station of Grouse Mountain and finishes at the Peak’s plateau.
In 1996, the original cast of builders, along with a number of enthusiasts from the B.C. Federation of Mountaineering Club and Grouse Mountain, rebuilt the trail ensuring optimum safety and enjoyment for the high volume of hikers while maintaining the highest level of environmental protection from erosion.
Length: 2.9 kilometres (1.8 miles)
Elevation Gain: 853 metres (2,800 feet)
Base: 274 metres above sea level (900 feet)
Summit: 1,127 metres (3,700 feet)
Total Stairs: 2,830
Annually, over 100,000 people hike the Grind™
Average Time: On average it takes up to an hour and a half to complete the hike
For novice hikers, up to two hours is recommended
Participants: Hikers range in age from 7 to 90, with an equal male/female split
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Posted By: welschprincess
- Sun Jan 06 19:25:17 EST 2013
QuestionThe below is included in the reviews below:
"The other is the Skyline trail. This one is a little harder to find. It basically follows the route of the old Gondola and comes out at the bottom of the Cut. You park your car at the very top of Skyline road and then follow the gated road up and around. Pass the first trailhead you see (Baden Powel) and then go up on the second head you come upon. On the way up, you will see remnants of the old Gondola burned out logging cabins and, in a few choice spots, views of the entire lower mainland. The last third of the hike is up the Cut. Since it is entirely clear cut (for skiing) there is a magnificent view all the way up. "
Does anyone know a bit more about this trailhead- as in, is it easy to find or marked well at all? I'd like to try it once spring arrives and it's hard to find much data on it.ANSWERS are in this forum: Skyline Trail
Posted By: orlandkurtenbach
- Wed Jul 13 04:17:40 EDT 2011
Commentregarding the last comment, there's free parking nearby and you don't necessarily have to take the gondola down. it's "prohibited" in a relaxed sense, one could say.
Posted By: straal
- Sat Aug 21 14:03:44 EDT 2010
DownsidePure business - no downhill traffic allowed on trail and no other trails open to get back to parking lot. Leaving the Chalet as only option back. With $5 parking fee + $10 Chalet fee there are much better alternatives for a good exercise.
CommentNot worth it.
Posted By: Rachelvancouver
- Sat Oct 10 22:31:00 EDT 2009
UpsideIt's a fantastic aerobic workout, but you don't really have to be a super-athlete. I walk 2 or 3 hrs a day as my only workout, and it took me 88 min to do the grind my first time. If you are remotely fit, it's not difficult.
DownsideNot many viewpoints til you get to the top. Too many GROANING TOURISTS IN JEANS. Booo.
CommentActually, the 1/4, 1/2 signs, etc., seem inaccurate because they refer to ALTITUDE, not distance travelled.
I'm addicted to this trail; did it 2x a week this fall (it's too hot for me during the summer!).
Posted By: W7RKD
- Wed Oct 07 09:17:54 EDT 2009
UpsideThis is a great cardio workout, did this hike in 2005. What I could not fathom is the people actually running up this thing!
Posted By: ekhiker
- Sun Sep 27 21:59:13 EDT 2009
UpsideAbsolutely fantastic workout. If you need to burn off some serious mental and physical energy, it is fantastic. And the trees are lovely. (Especially if you don't get to the NorthWest that often)
DownsideTrue, it is not a contemplative hike. If you aren't careful you just might look up at a gorgeous tree and fall over backwards because it is so steep (I didn't do this) or tilt sideways and off the trail and roll rapidly down the mountain (I thought I might once or twice). Don't try it if you aren't in pretty good shape - a few people I saw looked distinctly ill and I worried a bit about them.
CommentI was in town on business and asked a local for some serious exercise in a beautiful location and they recommended this. It was a right-on recommendation. I was there Thursday 9/24/09 and it wasn't too crowded. Plenty of people, but not like an ant line and everyone was quite friendly. Trail was in pretty good shape.
Posted By: Reforged
- Sat Aug 29 13:11:03 EDT 2009
UpsideGood Physical challenge. The gondola was neat
Downsideno good views, and rather rude people on the the trail.
CommentGrind is a good name for it, when I get to the top of a mountain I like the sense of accomplishment, but all I got was a sense of relief when I finished the grind. Good for the challenge but thats about it.
Posted By: Psilocin
- Wed Jun 17 21:56:03 EDT 2009
UpsideYou can take the ride down, and get a great workout in a very short amount of time.
DownsideDoesn't feel like a nature hike. More like a social outdoor gym. No dogs allowed. I hike about 100 time per year, and I rarely do this more than once per year.
Posted By: yoursdigitally
- Mon Jun 08 02:52:02 EDT 2009
CommentI did the hike on Saturday, June 6, 2009 and started at 11:25am. Lots of people on that day. Most of the sections are in the same old condition. Timber and materials were left in a few spots awaiting for reinforcement work. It was a bit slippery towards the top due to surface runoff (probably the last 100m). Snow was spotted, but not along the trail. It was misty on top and no chance to see the city at all. I drank less than 500ml of water during the 1-1/2 hours hike.
Posted By: soul traveller
- Sat May 30 01:21:40 EDT 2009
CommentGreat workout. I never get tired of it - although sometimes tired from it! It can get cool at the top especially once you stop sweating. Bring a light extra shirt or buy one at the shop. The Grind Timer Program not only allows you to time your progress but it also provides shuttle service to carry your extra clothing to the top for you. Best try to get into your own rhythm and zone out the cel phone talkers!
Posted By: gm0n3y
- Tue May 26 18:47:36 EDT 2009
UpsideGreat workout, amenities / beer at the top.
DownsideBusy, no views, etc.
CommentAs many people have mentioned, this is not really a nature hike. It is effectively a cross between going to the gym and going on a hike. That being said, if you go during off-peak times, it can be a rewarding challenge (I go probably 5 times a year or so).
Posted By: bin_08
- Sat Sep 13 14:55:08 EDT 2008
UpsideA short, intense workout. Ride down gondola to save knees.
CommentRe: Comment below. The animals at the top of Grouse Mountain are orphans. They were brought into captivity because experts believed they couldn't survive on their own in the wild. Therefore, it's ok and instead of them dying they're now helping educate the thousands of tourists that come to Grouse Mtn every year.
Posted By: Rambo
- Thu Jul 10 14:56:09 EDT 2008
UpsideCardio workout, good for lazy fat asses that are too city-like to drive an hour to a real hiking trail. Accessible.
DownsideCaged bears and wolves, that should be illegal. Orphans or not, people are not being educated, people don't care. They care about the pictures and the story to tell ''Oh i saw grizzly bears''. Animals are made to be in the wild, to either survive there, or just die. Experts have too many opinions. It wouldn't be wrong if we could cage the employees of the mountain there too.
Overcrowded ? No, not if the trail would be large enough. This is a highway, not a nature walk. It's a freaking wall. If you know your triangles, 2.9 km long, 900 m high, that will tell you how steep that hill is.<BR><BR>People trying to go at other people's pace. Don't do that, you will not make it.
A commercial overrated expensive uneducated-unwell-mannered-hikers trail. 10$ going down ? Buy yourself some gas and go in the real wild, BC is full of beautiful hikes that don't involve walking around out-of-breath flip-flops-wearing out of shape people.
CommentFirst this is not 2km but almost 3. The quarter mark seems to be very far the first time you do it. The 3/4 mark is useless as you are in an unterminable war against your body and mind, but the reward after you finish this also-called trail, is the cheering of all your friends and the monkeys that were blocking your way up, cutting you and throwing their bottles on the ground. Definitely a fat losing experience, before the fat hamburger i had right after !!
Posted By: senior
- Sun Sep 23 10:04:46 EDT 2007
UpsideEasy to get to from the city.
DownsideWay too crowded.
CommentExcellent facilities on top & bottom of the trail i.e. washroom, restaurant & bar. Good work out for the body.
Posted By: slow runner
- Fri Sep 07 22:06:52 EDT 2007
UpsideMy introduction to hiking in Vancouver! (It's always a little disconcerting to see paramedics at a trailhead.) Make sure your pacemaker is fully charged for this one and I really don't recommend doing it two weeks after a half marathon. On the plus side, my son offered to carry the pack when he noticed how purple my face was getting. Lovely, lovely views of the city from the top. Very steep, but a manicured trail.
DownsideLots of company on this one, very crowded, but all like minded people. Boy, am I in bad shape... next time I'll bring a defibrillator.
Posted By: trailrunner
- Sun Sep 02 01:26:42 EDT 2007
UpsideNever get lost. Some chain help when your legs are tired. You don't need to come down the steep decent. Better than stair master. You can gauge how far you are up to by 1/2, 3/4 signs - although not sure if they are accurate.
DownsideOvercrowded often. Those steps makes you go slower.
CommentI was looking at the Grouse Mtn web site and there are folks over 60 years old who do 35mins. I am a short-mid distance runner and very slow at climb but someone 20yrs older are faster than I...
Posted By: evgenykravchenko
- Sat Jul 21 23:38:45 EDT 2007
UpsideGood if you need to lose a few pounds. Lumberjack shows and Bear cubs at the top.
DownsideHard on the knees, boring views, too crowded
Posted By: WesternWilson
- Mon Jul 09 18:20:21 EDT 2007
UpsideThis is a great, fresh air alternative to a studio step or stairmaster workout! Views from the top are fantastic on a clear day, also there are other trails (for the über-buff) off the peak to either prolong your workout or give you something to do after luncheon! Hats off, by the way, to the lovely young woman who backpacked her infant up. Ay carumba.
DownsideYes, you are never alone, but the people who pass you are so nice! No dogs...trail is far too narrow and steep to safely accommodate the pups. The trail is all steps...is that a good thing or a bad thing? I find they really tire my quads and hip flexors out, much more than a plain surface. You really need to watch your footing, and some of the steps are quite high, requiring a handhold and a good heave for us sub 6 footers...
CommentAs an only moderately fit, quite overweight 49 year old, this trail was a good challenge and a great workout. My first time on this trail, I took 1 hour 50 minutes to get to the top. I found the last 15% demanded I *really* slow down, watch my footing (I was getting really tired) and take frequent (like every 50') breaks. Was I sweaty and hot, and did hordes of fit and fabulous athletes pass me?...you bet! Was I euphoric at the top?...ABSOLUTELY!
Posted By: k_cracker
- Fri Aug 25 20:29:52 EDT 2006
Upsidegood view of vancouver from the top, well marked. as long as your in reasonable shape its good for all experience levels.
Downsideyou will have lots of company on the way up, and your not allowed to hike down the trail so make sure you bring some money to buy a lift pass down the mountain.(the sign for this is conveniently placed at the top of the mountain.)
Posted By: Rocky9
- Thu Sep 01 01:21:46 EDT 2005
UpsideExcellent trail. No need for views, air is great, trees awesome. Trail well marked and enjoyable as long as you are fit, have water and power gels. Really impressed by the work done at the top. Loved the carvings.
DownsideA lot of people joining your trek up the trail.
CommentThose who want a view should possibly not climb the grind. Nothing like mossy trees, clean air a challenging trail and a burger at the top - the view at the summit is worth waiting for - unless like today it was cloudy.
Posted By: trailblazer
- Sun Aug 21 18:18:24 EDT 2005
Upside It feels good to show off physical ability to people who are struggling.
DownsideTerrible views. Not interesting at all.
CommentSometimes there's a lumberjack show at the top of Grouse Mountain that is very comical to make the hike somewhat worthwhile.
Posted By: x86comp
- Mon Oct 25 22:25:34 EDT 2004
UpsideExcellent workout. The trail is located very near to city, about a 10 minute drive. Nice weather - not too hot not too cold when I was there in October 2004, this is important because you will sweat on this trail. Very friendly fellow travelers on the trail. Topside attractions including tables and chairs and a food concessionery are comfortable. There is also a restaurant with a fireplace if you are feeling more formal (or cold). There is a free movie and some large wood statues for entertainment.
DownsideNo resting places on the way up, and not much so see. The scenery is very monotonous. Souveneer sales topside can be a ripoff and clothing sales are a ripoff. Bears and wolves at the mountain top are way over-rated.
CommentI went up and down the trail in an afternoon. There were some comments about not going down because it was bad on your knees, I found them to be overly gloomy. As long as you control your decent and use your muscles (negative), the down is a great workout as well. Trail is not as well marked on the way down, so head back with some buffer time before nightfall. It was not easy to find some spots in the dark even after a fellow hiker gave us a flashlight out of sympathy. Moreover, trail overall is somewhat strange. It is a collection of actual steps and step-like rocks and tree roots, which is sometimes more difficult than a regular trail because of loose rocks or strange footings. I carried water up, but only drank it at the top, didn't use it up or down. Because of my companion I did not run the trail, but it seems like this trail would be easier and more fun to run than walk.
Posted By: Germanicus
- Mon Aug 23 20:29:14 EDT 2004
Upsidegood workout if you do not like going to FitnessCentres with bad air and boring exercises; close to city; pick non peak times as morning or evening on not to hot days so the crowd is much more less; time competition is fun so you have always a goal; I like that I can find out by checking the way I get up how I can be faster and that works and is fun to understand how you work and what makes you faster; nice view from the top alsways a retreat;
Downsideit is not a real trail to back nature with views and no people.
CommentI like it and do it if I can each weak instead of going to boring fitnesscentres.
Posted By: seminianoa
- Thu Jul 29 14:50:04 EDT 2004
UpsideYou can't get lost going up the trails because it is marked all the way up, plus there are usually people on the trail, so if you don't know where to go, just look a few feet in front of you and you'll see someone.
DownsideThere are sometimes too many people on the trail so at times you can't go as fast as you would want to go.
CommentIt's a good hike depending on how hard you push yourself. I recommend not going down. It is a killer on th knees.
Posted By: philsera
- Tue Jul 20 02:03:54 EDT 2004
Upsidesteep. no views. tons of people. vending machines at the top.
Commentumm is this really hiking?
Posted By: k_afshari
- Wed May 26 17:36:30 EDT 2004
UpsideExcellent workout. And you dont have to walk down and kill your knees and back.
DownsideVery steep, and not recommended for first time hikers.
Posted By: Urban trekker
- Mon Aug 18 22:26:31 EDT 2003
DownsideAs of Aug 19, 2003 - the GVRD has closed the Grind due to the extreme fire hazard that exists in the region - hopefully with a little rainfall the trail and most others in the region which are also being closed will be able to reopen as soon as possible
Posted By: freeridebryce
- Mon Aug 18 18:23:31 EDT 2003
Upsidegood cardio and, uh... Coke machine at the top?
Downsidenothing interesting, no views, people everywhere
CommentDo it just to say you did it, then leave it for the tourists and locals who keep track of their "personal best". There are tons of long steep trails on the shore, almost all of them are better than the Grind. The descent is kinda fun, you can pretty much run back down and revel in the suffering of others.
Posted By: Urban trekker
- Sat Apr 26 19:09:20 EDT 2003
Upsideit's open for the season
CommentIt appears that the Grind is about to open for the season - while the GVRD hasn't announced anything offically the gate was opened on April 26, 2003 and the trail is in good condition all the way to the top - only a little tricky late season compact snow and ice at the very top.
Posted By: Urban trekker
- Tue Nov 19 18:34:58 EST 2002
UpsideSee note below
DownsideSee note below
CommentNovember 18, 2002 - looks like the trail may be closed for the season as the gate has been locked - recent rains have made the creeks and gulleys adjacent to the trail dangerous and the steps will be slippery.
Posted By: wanderlust
- Wed Aug 28 17:40:33 EDT 2002
UpsideIf you're on the prowl, good place to meet sweaty singles - and you can buy kooky souverneirs at the top!
DownsideThe crowds, the difficulty, the lack of view
CommentAnyone who appreciates the outdoors will loathe this trudge. Hiking is about getting away from all things city, immersing yourself in nature, and enjoying the spledour of the outdoors. This is the anti-hike. Yuppies jostling along (god forbid you're the reason they didn't make their record huff) on steep, viewless track. Anyone who gives this hike a good rating has probably never been anywhere else. Save yourselves!
Posted By: Urban trekker
- Sat May 25 19:50:41 EDT 2002
UpsideTrail is a good cardio workout - take water and proper footwear - a camera for views at the top - don't forget to stop and see the two grizzly bear cubs playing in their pen near the Peak chair. There is an opportunity for some views at the 1/2 point where the trail comes to within 50 feet of the Skyride cut.
DownsideA tough slog if not in condition and in summer a way to many people for any solitude. $5.00 down load fee
CommentUp on trail on May 24, 2002 - snow free to past the 3/4 mark - little trouble doing the top part - not yet offically opened - GVRD is concerned that too mnay people on it early will destabilize the wet soil and cause erosion and possibily slides etc.
Posted By: mwiebe
- Mon Jan 14 02:06:20 EST 2002
UpsideThis hike is a great cardio workout and you don't really need to take along anything except a water bottle.
DownsideThis is the traffic jam of hikes. On a sunny day there is literally a constant stream of people and it gets a little maddening. Also, the Grind is heavily sheltered with trees and has ZERO view until you get to the top.
There are two other trails up Grouse that are WAY better, more scenic, more natural (no wooden stairs), more fun and way less crowded. One is the BCMC trail which you start about 1/4 of the way up the grind. It branches off to the right and is quite clearly marked.
The other is the Skyline trail. This one is a little harder to find. It basically follows the route of the old Gondola and comes out at the bottom of the Cut. You park your car at the very top of Skyline road and then follow the gated road up and around. Pass the first trailhead you see (Baden Powel) and then go up on the second head you come upon. On the way up, you will see remnants of the old Gondola burned out logging cabins and, in a few choice spots, views of the entire lower mainland. The last third of the hike is up the Cut. Since it is entirely clear cut (for skiing) there is a magnificent view all the way up.
CommentThe Grind is again open in the summer. For about $20 you can get a timing chip that you scan at the bottom and the top...then your time up the mountain is displayed on a screen inside the lodge...if you care about stuff like that...
Posted By: trailpeak
- Thu Jul 12 01:52:21 EDT 2001
CommentGrouse Grind Alternatives Although the Grouse GRind is officially closed, many people have found alternate routes to reach the top, and, many others have simply picked alternate hikes to get their fix of natural stairmaster. Please post any local alternatives that you enjoy here.