Photo: saltyseadog

There’s a reason the hike up the “Peak of Vancouver” isn’t called the Grouse Saunter. But the hard work to get to the top is well worth the sweat and sore legs.

You can, of course, take the gondola up — but we both know how much more you’ll appreciate the panoramic views over Vancouver when you feel like you’ve earned them. But don’t get too cocky; it’s not as easy as you think.

The base of Grouse Mountain is easily reachable from Vancouver by public transit or car. Once there you can decide if you want to give the Grouse Grind a go, or if you’d be more comfortable skimming over the tree tops in the Skyride.

This is not a walk in the park, so give it the respect it deserves

If you choose the former, be prepared. Wear sturdy footwear and bring water. I’ve seen unprepared hikers being carried back down when they couldn’t continue (with a look on their face like they’d just spent a week in the desert). I’ve also seen countless visitors wearing jeans, flips-flops, and Gucci handbags. This is not a walk in the park, so give it the respect it deserves.

The hike is a steep one, and is mostly up steps. If you’re in decent shape, expect to complete it within one to one and a half hours. If you’re fitter than a fiddle, you can try to break the official men’s record of 26:19 or the women’s of 31:04.

Plenty to do and see in the summer

Sure enough, in the wintertime you can shush your way down the ski runs, ride in a horse-drawn sleigh, ice skate and snowshoe. But there is also plenty to do during the summer months.

Photo: unwritten

No matter how you decide to get to the top, you face a variety of entertaining summer activities. Some of the things on offer: scenic chairlift rides, ziplines, paragliding, and helijet rides. You can also visit the grizzly bears at the wildlife refuge, watch the lumberjack show, or take in a flick at the Theatre in the Sky.

On a clear day, Grouse has some of the best views over Vancouver, the surrounding areas, and Burrard Inlet, so don’t forget your camera.

It’s not advisable to hike down the Grind, but for just a few bucks you can descend in the Skyride. Make sure you hold on as it passes the towers — it can get a bit bumpy!

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For more in our mountains series, click here for posts on peaks like Volcan Licancabur in Bolivia, Tai Shan in China, Mt. Etna in Sicily, and Katahdin in Maine.