We have been searching for great family hikes near the Vancouver area that we had not yet discovered. We love getting into nature and exploring with the kids — it is in nature that their curiosity really seems to peak and they are full of a myriad of questions. They get so excited for the “simple things” and it is such a joy to watch their curiosity grow.
We had seen some photos, but had not yet ventured out to Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver. It seems to be a little-known piece of paradise, aside from the image of the Lighthouse itself. It is so close to Vancouver that you can see the city buildings in the distance, but you are among an absolutely gorgeous and dramatic coastal rainforest, peaceful nature and crashing waters. Lighthouse Park is nothing short of a magical example of British Columbia’s coastal rainforest, with its huge trees, deep forest, rugged coastline and magnificent ocean views.
Lighthouse Park has several options for hiking; with only a few steep uphill and downhill sections. Keep in mind that trails near the shorelines do have some tricky rocks and roots. Also, at the viewpoints, there are some serious drop-offs, so pay extra attention to any little ones that like to run off or wander.
When Captain Vancouver sailed past a rocky peninsula at the entrance to the Burrard Inlet in 1872, he named the site Point Atkinson. The first lighthouse was built in 1874, and the 65 hectares of forested land immediately surrounding the light station was set aside in 1881 to serve as the backdrop for the lighthouse, and as a source of fuel for its steam-powered foghorn. The lighthouse and light station grounds at Point Atkinson are a national historic site and one of the most photographed and recognizable landmarks in the entire Lower Mainland.
We spent four hours exploring around Lighthouse Park over a few different trails. We had our three kids, all freshly 6 years, 4 years and 2 years with us. They all kept up incredibly well, loved the adventure and fell asleep in the car on the way home (you know an adventure was good when they are that tired).
Lighthouse Park is a must-see detour between Vancouver and Whistler. It really is Mother Nature at its finest and would be a great hike year-round.
Take a look at some of the beauty you’ll find as you explore Lighthouse Park: