You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll curse and you'll sweat. Climbing the Grouse Grind, the trail that's known as “Mother Nature's Stairmaster” is a beautiful way to explore Vancouver's natural surroundings, but this isn't a gentle, meandering hike, it's a steep and mountainous adventure. Are you ready?
First off, a little history. In the 1920s and early 30s, hikers started heading up the trail, most looking to reach the cabins in the Grouse Mountain village. The trail was modernized in 1981 by mountaineers who wanted to create a challenging aerobic workout, and it was completed in 1983. Every year, over 100,000 people hike the Grind, and it takes an hour and a half on average to complete, although most first-time climbers need around two hours.
Getting to the Grouse Grind
You can easily get to the start of the Grouse Grind by driving or taking the bus up Capilano Road (stay right after crossing the Lions Gate Bridge
in Vancouver). The address is 6400 Nancy Greene Way, and there are several parking areas at the base of the trail, but it's no longer free, so bring change or a credit card. And, remember to bring water or an empty bottle to fill at the fountain at the base of the hill.
The curfew time varies, but in general the gate is locked around 7 pm. It's for your own good: you don't want to be climbing the Grouse Grind after dark, when you can't see where you're stepping and bears come out to play!
Doing the Grouse Grind
Get climbing! Enjoy the gorgeous view of the city and the lush forest that offers plenty of shade as you head up the mountain stairs. The Grind is marked with signs at each quarter of the hike, so you know how much torture is left (or can turn around if you really can't make it)! Once you reach the top, you can stop for a snack or a beer and burger on the patio, where the view of the city is amazing on clear days and evenings. Most people take the gondola down for $10, but you can hike down if you prefer.
Grouse Grind Statistics:
Length: 2.9 kilometres (1.8 miles)
Elevation: 853 metres (2,800 feet)
Total stairs: 2,830