Dog-Friendly Hikes: British Columbia
Posted by Jen Sotolongo, Long Haul Trekkers on 27th March 2017
The western Canadian province British Columbia is an outdoor
mecca, given that it is home to four mountain ranges, 18 volcanoes, and
countless rivers and lakes within the 14 million hectares of parkland and
reserves. Both Vancouver and Victoria are surrounded by abundant nature,
so adventure is never far. Both cities have fantastic hiking directories that
allow you to filter by category (like dog-friendly), difficulty, and provide
all the information you could want about a hike (links included in specific
(Squamish) — Just 5km north of Squamish, one of the outdoor capitals of North
America, sits beautiful Alice Lake Provincial Park. The 4 Lakes Trail is an
easy 4-mile loop that wanders through creeks, second growth forests, and leads
to four different mountain lakes. All four lakes are good for a swim, so head
there on a hot summer day and jump in to cool off!
Pacific Spirit Regional Park (Vancouver) - Located
on the west side of the city of Vancouver, Pacific Spirit Regional Park is a
750-hectare forest with dozens of interconnected trails. Given the park’s
location right in the city, the trails are popular with local residents. The
best way to explore this park is to simply take a look at the park map and
choose a trail that suits your desired time and/or distance. Not all trails
permit dogs, so be sure to keep an eye out for signs indicating as such.
Dog Mountain (North Vancouver) – The
Dog Mountain Trail is a short, easy 5km hike from Mount Seymour with a
spectacular view of Vancouver on a clear day. This short hike with minimal
elevation gain does have some technical sections along the way, including
Buntzen Lake Loop (Tri Cities) — The 6.2-mile
Buntzen Lake Loop is one of the more popular trails in the park. This hike is
perfect for a leisurely stroll or for a trail run with your pup. Despite the crowds
at the beach area near the start of the hike, the loop is tranquil with gradual
hills. The lake is man-made and maintained by BC Hydro, but is surrounded by
forests, beach areas, and many trails. Please note that the gate at the park
entrance is closed at night and the times change throughout the year and are as
early as 4:30pm during the winter.
Myra Canyon (Kelowna) — Myra
Canyon follows 12km (one way) of an old railway bed, leading over 18 trestles
and through two tunnels. Hike or bike this trail and take in the beautiful view
of the canyon and Lake Okanagan along the way. Visit during the fall to catch
the changing foliage of the larch trees.
Photo by West Coast Heeler Pack
(Victoria) — While Thetis Lake has plenty of trails to hike around the
series of lakes, try the 3-mile loop Lower and Upper Thetis Lake for scenic
views. The trail has several uphill and downhill sections, with plenty of spots
to take in the view, making for perfect places to stop and enjoy a tranquil lunch. This
popular hike can become filled, so head there early to avoid the crowds!
(Victoria) — Just 30 minutes outside of downtown Victoria, Mount Douglas offers
an incredible 360-degree view of the area around Victoria, including east to
Haro Strait and the San Juan Islands. A network of trails wind around the
mountain, and the out-and-back Irvine Trail is a great intermediate hike that
leads to the top of the peak where you can soak in the views
(Fraser Valley) — One of the most spectacular views in the Fraser Valley, Mount
Cheam offers a 360-degree panoramic view of the communities along the Fraser
River, Jones Lake, the surrounding peaks, and Mount Baker. Getting to the
trailhead is more difficult than the hike itself and requires a 4-wheel drive
vehicle. The 6-mile round trip hike requires about 4.5 hours of hiking
time, so come prepared with plenty of food and water.
Lindeman Lake (Fraser Valley) —
This short 2-mile hike leads to a beautiful glacial lake in the less used
Chilliwack Lake area. Once you arrive to Lindeman Lake, take a lunch break and,
if you’re feeling up to it, continue on to Greendrop Lake. Camping is available
at both lakes, so bring the packs and sleep on the shores of the lakes.
(Pemberton) — The highlight of this park is the brilliant turquoise
color of the lakes, caused by the glacial silt that is suspended in the water
and reflects green and blue wavelengths of sunlight. For a challenging yet rewarding hike, try the trek to Middle and Upper Joffre Lakes, where you’ll
find views of rugged peaks, icefields, and rivers below Matier Glacier. The
trail winds through spruce and hemlock forests, eventually leading to
spectacular views of Middle Joffre Lake glimmering in front of you. Listen
closely during the warm afternoon sun for the sound of the ice carving from the
glacier. Don’t forget insect repellent, as mosquitoes and black flies can be
(Victoria) — This 5.3-mile hike starts from the Goldstream
Provincial Park camp area and passes through a lush green forest before arriving
at a train trestle. The out-and-back hike is rarely crowded and follows a
steady trail that climbs to the trestle bridge. While the train tracks and
trestle bridge are technically private property, many people do decide to walk
out onto the bridge. If you do so, be very careful to watch your step, as the
canyon is a long way down.
(Whistler) — Plan this short but difficult 3.7-mile hike toward
the end of summer to catch the colorful wildflowers in bloom. Brandywine
Meadows meanders through a pretty meadow cut with a bubbling creek, surrounded
by towering mountains and glaciers.
Bring a lunch and take in the stunning views from the top.
(Okanagan Valley) — The Enderby Cliffs tower
high above the town of Enderby, rewarding hikers with breathtaking views of the
Shuswap and the North Okanagan valleys. The full round trip hike takes trekkers
13 miles over cliffs formed during the Tertiary age. Keep an eye out for eagles
and turkey vultures playing in the updrafts. Take caution, as this narrow and
exposed trail can be slippery, especially when wet.
Looking for other hiking destinations? Read about Dog Friendly Hikes in Oregon, Dog Friendly Hiking Trails in New Hampshire, and Dog Friendly Hikes in Washington State. For guidelines on which National Parks are dog-friendly, check out a full list here.
Jen Sotolongo is a writer and photographer and runs Long Haul Trekkers, a blog about independent, responsible travel with a pet. Over the past 2 years, she and her partner have taken their dog, Sora on a cycle tour spanning across Europe and South America, proving that adventures can include your dog, no matter where in the world they may be.
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