Adventure Travel in Vancouver - by Land and Sea
Vancouver is one of the world’s top destinations for outdoor adventure. At the foot of the mountains and with the Pacific Ocean literally lapping at its edges, Vancouver can offer visitors their pick of just about any type of adventure regardless if it’s by land or sea. You don’t even need to bring your or gear or maps -- there are numerous local outfitters in Vancouver that offer rental and guided services for virtually every option imaginable.
We also have the famous North Shore, where freestyle mountain biking was practically born. This is like the Holy Land for mountain bikers. With Mount Fromme, Cypress Mountain and Mount Seymour as major anchors, North Shore riding makes singletrack look like kindergarten. Imagine the most difficult, technical terrain you can find -- fallen logs, boulders, huge ravines -- combined with man-made obstacles on fast-riding trails, most of which are well-maintained by Vancouver's active mountain biking community.
On The Water
With thousands of inlets and coves, Vancouver is the ultimate location for sea kayaking, whether beginner or expert. Popular destinations include False Creek and the Indian Arm, a glacial fjord carved into a magnificent stretch of mountain that is 18 miles long. You can spend an hour on the water, a half day or even a week exploring the region if you are so inclined. Deep Cove Canoe & Kayak Centre, Ecomarine Ocean Kayak Centre, Lotus Land Tours and other operators offer rentals and exciting tours.
One- and multi-day fishing trips allow visitors to experience the breathtaking beauty of Vancouver’s rivers and bays. All styles of fishing are available -- fly, spin, bait and more. And many types of fish can be caught -- salmon, trout, halibut, cod and more. While there are plentiful options within the metro Vancouver area, British Columbia is known for its backcountry fishing experiences. With 20,000 kilometres (12,000 miles) of coastline, 25,000-plus lakes, and countless rivers and streams, there are virtually endless saltwater and freshwater fishing opportunities. Some are so pristine, you’ll need a floatplane just to get there. Search our directory for more info on fishing trips.
Vancouver’s waterways are a fantastic place to go whale and wildlife watching to see migrating killer, humpback and grey whales, frolicking dolphins and sea lions. Tour boats range from covered or uncovered high-speed zodiacs to larger-scale ships. The season generally runs from April to October. Some operators, such as Wild Whales Vancouver, leave from Granville Island while others leave from ports just outside Vancouver.
If you don’t mind the cold water -- regardless of the time of year -- Whytecliff Park in West Vancouver has protected waters for great scuba diving. Beginners and experts alike can explore -- there are several options for lessons and gear rental -- checking out sea cucumbers, harbour seals and sometimes even an octopus or two.
With the Coast Mountains right outside its door, Vancouver’s ancient, awe-inspiring rainforests, sparkling rivers and countless trails provide a natural playground for camping, hiking, biking and eco-touring.
Great hiking areas include the Sea to Sky Corridor. Check out one of the region’s most popular hikes, The Stawamus Chief, which is a 600-metre-high (2,000 feet) burning climb that offers brilliant vistas and plenty of spots at the top to soak in the sun -- and have a picnic. There are myriad other day-hike options around that will be less crowded, too. The Grouse Grind is a little closer to Vancouver but is no less forgiving as it rockets straight to the top of the mountain. It’s nature’s stair-stepping machine.
Check out the North Shore for mountain biking. This area of Vancouver is considered by many to be the birthplace of freestyle mountain biking. While there are more than a few serious singletrack options that can scare even the most seasoned mountain bikers, the North Shore has numerous intermediate and beginner options, too.
For adrenaline junkies, Whistler Bungee at the Bungy Zone send people off 36- to 45-metres (120- to 150-foot) bridges spanning forests and glacial-fed rivers in a spectacular mountain setting. And Ziptrek & TreeTrek Ecotours and Air Grouse allow fresh-air enthusiasts to soar high above the forest floor on tree-to-tree zip-line courses through old-growth forests.
Less adventurous visitors can explore some of the magnificent sites in Whistler, Victoria, Harrison Hot Springs and beyond with operators such as Landsea Tours and others who are the go-to experts for exploring the mountains, valleys, waterfalls, vineyards, gardens and richly varying landscape of the region.
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