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From sophisticated entertainment to unspoiled nature, Grouse Mountain is the pre-eminent all-in-one, four season destination with something for everyone. The wilderness paradise is located 15-minutes from downtown Vancouver, and the famous Grouse Mountain Skyride (North America’s largest aerial tram system) takes visitors on a one-mile aerial journey to the Alpine Station, 3,700 feet above sea level. Breathtaking panoramic views of the city, sea and surrounding mountains unfold, culminating with a summit altitude of 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 enjoys the status of Vancouver’s most visited attraction receiving over 1.2 million visitors each 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 climbs to 1,100 metres (3,700 feet) in just 8 minutes. You'll dangle above the piney mountainside while taking in the cityscape and views of neighbouring peaks, the Pacific Ocean, inlets and bays, and the Gulf Islands. Departs daily, every 15 minutes 9 am-10 pm.
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. You ascend the 20-storey high tower and enter a 36-person viewPOD, suspended directly below the hub of the massive 125-foot (38-metre) long blades. The viewPOD is encased in glass, including a segment of the floor. The closest corresponding experience would be flying in the clear Plexiglas nose bubble of a jet helicopter – except this bubble is approximately 30 times larger. The views from The Eye of the Wind are of the jaw-dropping variety. All of Vancouver and its busy harbor, the Coastal 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, 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. The Refuge for Endangered Wildlife is principally comprised of a five-acre mountaintop habitat that is home to two orphaned Grizzly Bears, and a three-acre Timber Wolf habitat located at the base of the mountain. Be sure to come up early in the day so you can fit them all in.
Theatre In the Sky
This high-definition electronic cinema shows Born to Fly, a dramatic aerial adventure shown through an eagle's perspective, at the top of every hour. Animal Tracks: Baby Grizzlies, the story of Grinder and Coola and their journey to the Grouse Mountain Refuge for Endangered Wildlife, shows at the bottom of the hour.
If you want to refuel after a long hike or enjoy a glass of wine après ski, there are several dining options including The Observatory, Altitudes Bistro, Lupins Café or the Rusty Rail BBQ & Grill. Feast your eyes on the spectacular views as your taste buds feast on delicious dishes.
Things to Do in Spring, Summer or Fall
Photo: janheuninck | Flickr
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 hour-and-a-half 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.
Let Grouse Mountain take your breath away on the most unforgettable outdoor experience in the Lower Mainland! Start with the stunning trek around Blue Grouse Lake on the first few lines and then zip at top speeds of 80km/hr 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.
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.
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. Air Grouse Mountain Helijet offers breathtaking tours that begin at The Peak of Vancouver.
Things to Do in Winter
Photo: Ann Hung | Flickr
Skiing and Snowboarding
Just 15 minutes from downtown Vancouver, Grouse Mountain is an appealing option for those wanting to hit the slopes without significant travel time. Whether it's 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 snowboards 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 10pm, 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.
Escape into 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 that circle Dam Mountain and Thunder Bird Ridge. You can find the trails easily with clearly marked signs from the top of Grouse Mountain. Discover why snowshoeing is the fastest growing outdoor Winter activity.
There's no better way to experience winter than skating in the fresh mountain air on a smooth outdoor ice skating rink high above the city. So grab your skates and go for a glide on Grouse Mountain's 8,000 square foot Ice Skating Pond - the only one of its kind on the West Coast. You can rent skates for all sizes at the Fireside Hut.
Winter comes alive 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. This is what memories are made of.
Now you can experience the sights, sounds and thrills of gliding on snow trails in comfort, without learning any new skills. Your personal "Sno-Limo" Chauffeur will take you for a comfortable snowy mountain trail excursion and show you all the sights that you have not been able to see up to now! Enjoy the exhilaration of snow-gliding downhill in a comfortable and environmentally friendly, gravity powered and chauffeur driven "Sno-Limo".
Don't Miss This on the Way:
You'll pass the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park en route to Grouse Mountain. Stop in for a visit, and you can walk across a swaying footbridge strung across a plummeting canyon with the Capilano River rushing below; learn about the area's history; and play in the Treetop Adventures, a series of elevated suspension bridges.
Getting to Grouse Mountain
Follow Georgia Street through Stanley Park and across the Lion's Gate Bridge. Take the North Vancouver exit to Marine Drive, then left up Capilano Road for 5 km (3.1 miles).
The public transit system offers regular service to the base of Grouse Mountain every half hour. Catch Bus 232 from Phibbs Exchange or Bus 236 from Lonsdale Quay. For more details, visit the Translink website.