One of the best things to do with kids is hiking. It is a wonderful free activity close to home that creates a memorable bonding experience both you and they will remember always. Younger or older, children of all ages (and their caregivers!) benefit greatly from hiking. It helps toddlers new to walking develop important skills like balance and agility as they navigate over uneven terrain; it helps instill confidence and tranquility in young children exploring and discovering who they are, and for the older ones especially it’s a great opportunity to disconnect from electronics, rebalance energy and emotions, and learn more about the natural world through experience – just to name a few of the many, many benefits!
Sometimes the biggest obstacle can be deciding where to go, so without further ado, here are five kid-friendly hikes near Vancouver. Of course every child is different so what may be an easy trail for one six year old may be very challenging for another, so please have a look at the trail statistics (length and elevation gain) and decide based on your child’s experience and comfort level. What I focus on most in my list is the inclusion of trails that have features that typically interest children, and trails that are rated quite easy to intermediate for most able adults.
Vancouver, BC V6G 1Z4
Often overlooked because of its proximity and location in an urban centre but Stanley Park is home to a whopping 27 km of great hiking trails! Visit the frequented Beaver Lake to stroll the popular loop teeming with wildlife, or go deeper into the central forest trails if you’re looking for some quiet. See the trail map here.
George C. Reifel Bird Sanctuary – LADNER
5191 Robertson Rd, Delta, BC V4K 3N2
Visit this beautiful 300 hectare bird sanctuary with several kilometers of flat wheelchair and stroller-accessible pathways to explore. With over 300 species of birds recorded here, there is plenty to see for people of all ages.
A small admission fee is charged and the location is only open during certain hours. Learn more at reifelbirdsanctuary.com/planning
Note that due to the sensitive environment and abundant wildlife, dogs are not permitted to enter this area, nor are bikes. Animals are protected in this area so feeding is not permitted unless you purchase specific feed safe for the animals from the giftshop and feed only in designated areas.
Redwood Park (Fairy Forest) – SURREY
17900 20 Ave, Surrey, BC V3S 9V2
5 km of trails featuring a tree house and Fairy Forest.
See the trail map here.
Teapot Hill – CHILLIWACK
Columbia Valley Rd, Cultus Lake, BC V2R 5A3 – link to trailhead here
This hike at Cultus Lake near Chilliwack is 5.5km return to the farthest point, and gains 249 metres of elevation. The trail has hundreds of teapots and teacups hidden throughout the forest along the trail. They are visible right away so you don’t need to get all the way to the end to enjoy this place, but the view at the top is quite lovely. We play a game where the kiddos take photos to count all they see and compete to find the most. I’ve never seen them hike so fast and be engaged for so long!
Interested in trying out snowshoeing? Read my blog post Snowshoeing For Beginners
Bowen Lookout – WEST VANCOUVER
6000 Cypress Bowl Rd, West Vancouver, BC V0N 1G0
Looking for a beautiful view hike that is short and easy enough for the kiddos? Bowen Lookout on Cypress Mountain is the place for you! Year-round, snow, rain or shine, this place is gorgeous. It’s only 4 km round trip with 100 metres elevation gain.
For a list of some other short hikes, check out hikesnearvancouver.ca/hiking-trails/short-hikes/