Vancouver’s best parks: where the locals hike, swim and see the best public art

Easily the best thing about Vancouver is how it combines all the exciting bits of big-city living – cutting-edge food, art, music, etc – with fantastic access to the great outdoors. Surrounded by mountains, sea, forests and beaches, you can be eating the latest freshly foraged small plates in an industrial warehouse one minute, then kayaking, mountain-biking or lazing on the beach the next.

And one thing you definitely shouldn’t miss in this nature-swathed British Columbian coastal city is hiking in its brilliant parks.

Lynn Canyon Park has lots of well-maintained, clearly marked trails twisting through its 617 acres of forest. Don’t miss the nervy crossing over the park’s Indiana Jones-style rope bridge, which sways 50 metres above the canyon.

Visit Pacific Spirit Park and the Foreshore Trail for a “true West Coast experience”. The route traces the west side of the University of British Columbia and passes along Wreck Beach and Acadia Beach, giving lovely views out over the water.

But if you’re looking to stay even closer to the city while getting your dose of green, we can also highly recommend Hinge Park, Ambleside Park or the Capilano Pacific Trail. Hinge is one of Vancouver’s newest parks, created during the regeneration of the False Creek neighbourhood for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

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