As cities around the world go, Vancouver offers the perfect blend of city life, beach living and the great outdoors. Throw in a trendy, young and vibrant atmosphere and there really is very little not to love about living there. One aspect of the city that offers something a little different and special however is Grouse Mountain.
Where is Grouse Mountain?
Located just a stone’s throw from the city across the river I decided to go check it out.
How to get to Grouse Mountain
Located in North Vancouver, getting to Grouse Mountain can be done by bus, on foot (it’s a bit of a hike!) or by taxi. I took the easiest option however and booked a return bus transfer from a tourist booth next the the Olympic Cauldron.
The buses from here are very regular so it seemed like a convenient option; there wasn’t any standing around waiting for one to come along so it was perfect for maximising my time on the mountain!
Getting to Grouse Mountain takes around 10-15 minutes (though notably longer if during rush hour due to congestion on the bridge) and passes a number of key sights.
The first place that you will pass through on your way to Grouse Mountain is Stanley Park. Larger than Central Park in New York City, Stanley Park is full of points of interest and is absolutely somewhere that you need to make the time to explore if you are staying in Vancouver for a few days.
Lions Gate Bridge
Leaving Stanley Park you will immediately cross the Lions Gate Bridge taking you into North Vancouver. If on foot the Lions Gate Bridge offers some incredible views of the city.
Capilano Suspension Bridge
The third point of interest on your way to Grouse Mountain is the Capilano Suspension Bridge which is a landmark in Vancouver offering incredible tree-top views of the forest below. I was only in the city for a few days so unfortunately didn’t have time to visit the suspension bridge but at least that gives me a great reason to head back to the city in years to come, right!?
The Grouse Grind
Finally, just before you reach the base of Grouse Mountain you’ll pass the “Grouse Grind”. This is a notoriously difficult, steep and energy sapping hike that rises 3km and 2,830 rocky steps to the peak of Grouse Mountain.
The Grouse Grind is certainly not for the faint hearted or unfit so if you have heard about this as an option and decide to attempt it, do your research first! I can assure you that both the people reaching the top and the bottom of the Grouse Grind looked like they’d just run a marathon – exhausted and very sweaty, but certainly with a look of achievement, you’ve been warned!
1. Ride the Gondola to the top of Grouse Mountain
Once you reach the base of Grouse Mountain the way to the top of the mountain is via the cable car (“gondola” for all you non-English folk out there) which is a few Canadian dollars each way. It takes around 10 minutes to reach the top of the mountain and along the way offers some incredible views back across the forest and Vancouver itself.
If you’re not one for heights then you might want to get yourself a position in the middle of the gondola as there are places where it does feel very high.
Also, when travelling over the metal towers that hold up the cables the gondola can swing around a little which if not used to things can be a little bit unnerving! Personally I was absolutely fine with the ride but some others on the gondola didn’t look so keen!
Once you reach the top of Grouse Mountain there’s a lot of things to do to keep both yourself or if you are travelling with children, the whole family entertained. Here are some of the key highlights that will make your visit worthwhile.
2. Visit the Bear Sanctuary
At the top of Grouse Mountain there is a bear sanctuary which is home to 2 grizzly bears, Grinder and Coola. The bears were orphaned when young and found dehydrated and thin wandering along a highway.
The bears on Grouse Mountain are locates in a large enclosure, have a pond to splash around in and plenty of rocks and ledges to climb around on.
There are talks throughout the day from the rangers who talk about the conservation efforts being made here and the behaviour of bears in the wild.
I’m not a fan of caged animals however with the conservation efforts going on here at least there’s a positive angle around education.
Learn more: https://www.grousemountain.com/wildlife-refuge
3. Watch the Birds in Motion Show
There are a number of birds of prey located on Grouse Mountain, both in the wild and caged. If you’re lucky enough to spot a wild one that’s an amazing spectacle however if not the birds kept by the team here present the “Birds in Motion” show several times throughout the day.
The show presents 3 birds, the world’s fastest living animal – the Peregrine Falcon, North America’s most common raptor – the Red-tailed Hawk, and finally one of BC’s largest birds of prey – the Golden Eagle.
4. Watch the World Famous Lumberjack Show
Now although this might sound like something only for the kids, having sat through the lumberjack show I can assure you that it’s a great half hour of entertainment for the whole family.
The show presents 2 lumberjacks who compete in various challenges including climbing a stomach churningly high pole the fastest and a one on one competition of last man standing on a wet log.
The lumberjack show is filled with comedy and backstories about the lumberjacks which will absolutely keep you entertained and laughing throughout.
It’s well worth your time to watch, don’t miss out!
Learn more: https://www.grousemountain.com/lumberjack-show
5. Walk to The Eye of the Wind
The Eye of the Wind is a large wind turbine that sits on the peak of Grouse Mountain. It is visible across Vancouver so if you have already walked the sea wall or stood in the harbour looking over at Grouse Mountain you will have already seen it from afar.
The only way to get up to the Eye of the Wind is by the Peak Chairlift which takes 14 minutes. You do have the option to walk up a path but it’s quite a long way and certainly steep so I wouldn’t recommend it!
The Eye of the Wind does of course operate as a wind turbine however it has a unique feature in that there is a 360 degree glass viewing platform 58 metres up, behind the turbine blades known as the viewPOD. You have to pay a little extra for this experience but it offers incredible views across Vancouver.
From the top, the views back across Vancouver are pretty amazing.
Learn more: https://www.grousemountain.com/eye-of-the-wind/
These aren’t the only things you can do at Grouse Mountain of course! There is also zip-lining, nature walks, guided eco talks and more!
Grouse Mountain Review
Grouse Mountain is a great place to spend some time if you are heading to Vancouver. It’s a great way to get out of the hustle and bustle of the city and take yourself into the great outdoors! The best thing about Grouse Mountain is how close it is to the centre of Vancouver, making it incredibly accessible.
If you are a solo traveller or couple you’ll love spending some time here and looking out at the incredible city views and if you have kids you’ll find it the perfect spot to keep them entertained for hours! Be sure to check it out.
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