Extend Your PCT Adventure With These Hikes Near Vancouver
My boyfriend and I will be hiking the PCT this summer, ending in Manning Park. For many, this moment will mark a bittersweet end to a long journey, to be followed by a flight home. We’re lucky in that we live in Vancouver, a short two-hour drive from the end of the trail. Having lived here for 16 years, trust me when I say that you shouldn’t be so quick to rush home. If you have the time and resources, stay in British Columbia and explore for a bit. There are so many beautiful (but tough) backpacking routes, here are a few of my favorites so far:
Garibaldi Lake (1-3 nights)
The trail to Garibaldi Lake is incredibly well-maintained and fairly challenging, with an elevation gain of 2,700 feet. This photo was taken from Black Tusk, an additional 3,000 feet higher. The climb is well worth the view. If you decide to stay for a few nights there’s a good selection of trails that start at the lake.
Golden Ears West Canyon Trail (1-2 nights)
Easily the toughest trail I’ve completed, the West Canyon Trail to Panorama Ridge will reward you with spectacular views on a clear day. Gaining almost 5,000 feet in only 15 miles, this trail will kick your ass regardless of how fast you hiked the PCT.
Juan de Fuca Trail (3-5 nights)
If you have a few extra days to spare, a trip out to Vancouver Island is well worth the time. The Juan de Fuca Trail runs along 29 miles of the west coast of the island, and you’ll have the opportunity to hike and sleep on the beach each night. Without a car, you can take public transit to the ferry terminal, and once you get to the island there’s a bus that you can take to the trailhead. I can provide more information on transportation if anyone would like. This trail is the longest but also the flattest of the list. The island has a ton of other attractions as well.
Howe Sound Crest Trail (1-2 nights)
I’ve learned to never assume you’re near the peak, largely due to this trail. My love-hate relationship with this trail began when, eight hours into the hike, we still hadn’t passed the emergency cabin located nine miles from the trailhead. At this point we had already summited six peaks, each time thinking the uphill portion was over. It was dark out, and by the time we set up camp we were exhausted. But one look at the sky and I remembered why we were there. I’ve never seen stars like that, and I almost doubt I ever will again. Believe me when I say they were unbelievable. The second portion of the hike is much more relaxing, and you’ll pass the beautiful Brunswick Lake. This hike isn’t a round trip and hitchhiking from the parking lot isn’t too hard on a summer day.
I’d be happy to answer any questions about the area, or give advice on other attractions around Vancouver. I’d love to give you guys more detailed descriptions of everything our city has to offer. Happy hiking!
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