A Guide to Grouse Mountain
From sophisticated entertainment to unspoiled nature, Grouse Mountain is the pre-eminent all-in-one, four-season mountain resort with a little something for everyone. The wilderness paradise is located just a 20-minute drive from downtown Vancouver, and once visitors arrive, the famous Grouse Mountain Skyride (North America’s largest aerial tram system) takes visitors on a 1,600 metre (1 mile) aerial journey up the mountain to the Alpine Station, 1,100 metres (3,700 feet) above sea level. Breathtaking panoramic views of the city, sea and surrounding mountains unfold as you climb, culminating with a summit altitude of 1,250 metres (4,100 feet).
Grouse Mountain was named by a visiting hiking party in 1894, after they encountered a blue grouse bird on the alpine slopes. Today, Grouse Mountain is one of Vancouver’s most visited attractions.
Things to Do Any Time of Year
Few experiences are more quintessentially Vancouver than being surrounded by pristine mountain wilderness while admiring a view of the gleaming city below. The Skyride marks the beginning of any Grouse Mountain experience, taking visitors up to the Alpine Station right next to the Peak Chalet, in just 8 minutes. You'll dangle above the Douglas firs blanketing the mountainside while taking in the cityscape and views of neighbouring peaks, the Pacific Ocean, inlets and bays, and the Gulf Islands.
Eye of the Wind
The Eye of the Wind is a large wind turbine—the first in the world to have an elevator accessing a viewPOD™ observation area suspended directly below the hub of the massive 38-metre (125-foot) long blades, 20 storeys up. The viewPOD is encased in glass, including a segment of the floor, giving you a similar sensation to flying in the clear Plexiglas nose bubble of a jet helicopter, but this bubble is a lot larger. The views from The Eye of the Wind are jaw-dropping. You’ll see all of Vancouver and its busy harbour, the Coast Mountains (including the twin peaks known as The Lions) and a vast, green wilderness spread out before you with 360 degree views.
Imagine a wilderness sanctuary where endangered animals can play, whilst protected and secure. You will find all this and more at The Refuge for Endangered Wildlife, a research, education, and conservation centre at the top of Grouse Mountain. Dedicated to becoming a world leader in preserving both flora and fauna at risk, the Refuge offers leading-edge interpretative programs that make learning about nature fun and fascinating. It is principally comprised of a two-hectare (five-acre) mountaintop habitat that is home to two orphaned grizzly bears, Grinder and Coola, but also includes other habitats on the peak.
Theatre In the Sky
This high-definition electronic cinema shows a number of wildlife related movies in rotation throughout the day, including Extremely Wild—a Discovery Channel film on Grouse’s two resident grizzly bears.
The ziplines on Grouse Mountain will truly take your breath away! Start with the stunning trek around Blue Grouse Lake on the first few lines and then zip at top speeds of 80km/hr (50 mph) across the peaks of Grouse Mountain and Dam Mountain. The two-hour tour is open year-round, and the five-line circuit is fully dual-track.
If you want to refuel after a long hike or enjoy a glass of wine après-ski, Grouse Mountain offers several dining options in the Peak Chalet: the fine-dining The Observatory, casual and cozy Altitudes Bistro, the self-service Lupins Café, or just grab a caffeine fix at the Grouse Grind Coffee Bar. Elsewhere on the mountain, visit the Rusty Rail BBQ & Grill and the Grizzly Lookout Café (both summer only). Feast your eyes on the spectacular views as your taste buds feast on delicious dishes.
Things to Do in Spring, Summer or Fall
The Grouse Grind
A favourite with locals, the Grouse Grind is affectionately called "Mother Nature's Stairmaster" because of its steep grade and total elevation gain of approximately 850 metres (2,800 feet). It is a thigh-burning 90-minute trek, depending on your fitness level, but it's an invigorating way to get a great workout and to take in stunning outdoor beauty in a short time.
Shows and Programs
Grouse Mountain features a variety of family-friendly entertainment in the spring and summer. Check out the Lumberjack Show, where performers re-create early 1900s logging culture through a lumberjack face-off. The Birds in Motion Demonstration allows spectators to watch the fastest birds of prey in the world - falcons, eagles, owls and hawks - flying free at Blueberry Bowl.
Try your hand at one of summer’s best fun and fitness activities. The 18-hole disc golf course at Grouse Mountain is located atop The Cut, taking advantage of the mountain terrain. Discs are available for sale in the Peak Chalet, making it easy for you to challenge your friends!
In summer, the Screaming Eagle chairlift takes foot passengers to The Cut, a famous slope and the iconic vantage point of Metro Vancouver, and the surrounding regions. Get your camera ready!
For those looking for the ultimate flying experience, First Flight Paragliding offers half-hour tandem flights launching from the Grouse Mountain Peak and landing in Cleveland Park for an elevation drop of 3,300 feet.
Experience unforgettable sightseeing high above the peaks of Vancouver's North Shore Mountains - in a helicopter ride of a lifetime.
Things to Do in Winter
Skiing and Snowboarding
A 20-minute drive from downtown Vancouver, Grouse Mountain is an appealing option for those wanting to hit the slopes without significant travel time. Whether you’re looking for green trails off the Screaming Eagle chair, or ominous-sounding black trails (such as Purgatory and Devil's Advocate) from the Olympic Express chair, the terrain is varied enough for all levels of downhill skiers and snowboarders to find their niche. There are also two terrain park zones to try out your freestyle moves. Lessons and rentals are available on site.
In wintertime, the mountain stays open until 10 pm, a great chance to schuss through the snow while enjoying views of sparkling downtown Vancouver. Local stalwarts are known to head up to the slopes after work to get in an evening of carving.
They say that if you can walk, you can snowshoe, making it a great way for snow-newbies to enjoy the serene beauty of a natural winter playground. Tour the groomed beginner and intermediate snowshoe trails of the Blue Grouse Loop, or head for Dam Mountain - a pristine loop of three main trails circling Dam Mountain and Thunder Bird Ridge. Trails are clearly marked with signs from the top of Grouse Mountain. Discover why snowshoeing is the fastest growing outdoor winter activity.
Grab a pair of skates and experience winter by skating in the fresh mountain air, gliding over a smooth outdoor ice skating rink high above the city. Grouse Mountain's 8,000 square foot ice skating pond is the only one of its kind on the West Coast. You can rent skates for all sizes at the Fireside Hut.
Make some memories on an enchanting sleigh ride through Grouse Mountain's snowy paradise. Take friends and family on a memorable journey around the mountaintop through snow-covered forests, enjoying the winter landscape.
Now you can experience the sights, sounds and thrills of gliding on snow trails in comfort, without the need to learning to ski or snowboard! Your personal "Sno-Limo" chauffeur will take you for a comfortable snowy mountain trail excursion and show you all the sights while you enjoy the exhilaration of snow-gliding downhill in a comfortable and environmentally-friendly, gravity powered vehicle.
Getting to Grouse Mountain
If you’re driving, follow Georgia Street through Stanley Park and across the Lions Gate Bridge. Take the North Vancouver exit to Marine Drive, then left up Capilano Road for 5 kilometres (3 miles). Grouse Mountain is at the end of this road. Alternatively, take transit! Take the SeaBus from downtown’s Waterfront Station to Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver. From there, take the “#236 – Grouse Mountain” bus. For more details, visit the Translink website.