North Vancouver is world renowned as a beautiful place to live. I can say that is true,   I should know,  I live there! People come from all over the globe to witness the refreshing and inspiring beauty that is the North Shore, but the best thing about actually living in North Van is that all of that natural splendour is right here in our backyard, available at any time. Hiking is a great way to experience this and make the most of living in this beautiful city. One of the great things about hiking in here is that you don't have to make big plans to take advantage of the opportunity. You can simply plan a hike for after work or in the morning on a Saturday, and then continue on with the rest of your day.  I love to unwind with friends this way. If hiking is your activity of choice, you’ll have options aplenty in North Vancouver. Here are just a few of the very best hikes in the area.

Cypress Falls: Start Off With an Easy, Short Trail

For a simple beginner’s hike, or if you don't have the time to commit to a long hike, the Cypress Falls hike takes a mere 90 minutes. It is open year round and is a great hike in the winter - it is lower than most of the other trails, so there typically isn’t much snow. The trail takes you through a very thick forest with plenty of cedar trees and also features two waterfalls – great if you’re looking to immerse yourself in the natural world. It is also close to several other trails and park settings that could host the perfect picnic after you have worked up an appetite!

Goat Mountain: If You're Ready for an Intermediate Challenge

If you want a hike that is a step up from beginner but you're not ready for a full day of hiking, consider the Goat Mountain hike. It normally takes about four hours to complete. This hiking trail begins at the top of Grouse Mountain where you can see the city of Vancouver, and if you're lucky, all the way out to the island. This hike is a true hike, with a steep section that requires using a rope and chain to steady yourself. The steeper parts make this a great hike for a beginner who wants a new challenge – just make sure you’re ready to be tested.  This trail is open in the spring/summer seasons as the fall/winter creates to difficult a terrain due to the rain and snow.  It is invigorating, and the view can't be beat. Great way to spend an afternoon. Lunch beforehand at the top of Grouse Mountain to enjoy the view before heading down.

The East Baden Powell Trail: A Longer, Year-Round Hike

Are you ready to really go for it? Expert hikers are often pursuing the next great trail. If you're looking for a good Saturday hike that is open year round, try the 12km east section of the Baden Powell Trail that runs from Deep Cove to Lynn Canyon. This 5-hour hike starts at Deep Cove in North Van and goes all the way to the Lynn Valley Suspension Bridge. Along the way you'll get a great view of Deep Cove, as well as some amazing canyon vistas along the Seymour River. The only catch is that you have to arrange for transportation once you're done, because the trail isn't a loop! There are lots of little spots to rest as needed, but the hike is as beautiful as it is challenging.

With all the natural beauty so accessible in my home town of North Vancouver it is so easy to experience the outdoors. Get active, grab a friend and start exploring some of the amazing hikes that Vancouver residents can say belong to the city! You'll be glad you did. I sure am.