Easy hike, amazing rewards – off the beaten path in Vancouver, BC

January 31, 2016
Lighthouse Park in North Vancouver

We drove through the quiet neighborhoods, perplexed and anxious. Were we on the right track? Perhaps the vaunted google maps is failing us now, taking us to some private parts of North Vancouver where we shouldn’t be. Or perhaps this was a good sign that our next destination, Lighthouse Park, was a hidden gem. We pushed on. And boy were we glad we did.
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We arrived at the near empty parking lot. Well, to say it was a parking lot assumes that there were actual paved parking spaces. There weren’t any, but that wasn’t going to stop us now. The light tapping of the famed Pacific Northwest rain gave us vigor as we began our short hike to the lighthouse. We were alone. The dark forest wasn’t as frightening as the silence that pervaded this lush green walk, but the paths were well maintained. It didn’t take long before we arrived at an open gate and a brightly lit house – the park ranger’s house. “You may enter up to the lighthouse when this gate is open,” the sign on the railings told us.

lighthouse before the sunset

lighthouse before the sunset

So we wandered through and at the end of the path stood a beacon of light, literally. The dark sky had cleared up somewhat and we could see Downtown Vancouver in the distance. I took a couple photos then backtracked to the trail. What a wonderful view and honor to be the keeper of this lighthouse, I wondered. Perhaps I could apply to be a park ranger here. It couldn’t be that hard to be a park ranger here, eh?

cargo ship

cargo ship

Back on the trail, we veered off the path and made our way to a rocky adventure. The rain made the rocks slick but they weren’t that big a deal. I felt like we were adventuring hobbits going on a quest. Down the rocky sides we went, paying close attention to the ground before us lest we wanted to tumble. I’m not sure how long it took, but at some point the brushes gave way to a clearing. We looked up and before us were wonders to be held. A little rocky beach was visible down further the trail. A couple, blankets spreading on the rocks, was enjoying the views. The singing of the birds signaled to us that the rain has passed.

downtown Vancouver in the distance

downtown Vancouver in the distance

We wanted to join them but didn’t want to disturb their peace so we made our way to an adjacent rock, jutting out on the sea. And there we stood for hours, gazing across the bay at little buildings, bridges, and cargo ships far in the distance. I’ve been to Vancouver dozens of times and have gone to Stanley Park just as many. I was used to the view from that side, but this was the first time I saw Stanley Park from far yonder. It was magnificent.

the lighthouse lit up by the sunset

the lighthouse lit up by the sunset

Dark clouds that had previously invaded the sky now gave way to blue skies here and there. A baby seal surfaced but for a second and disappeared. We stared into the water for half an hour trying to find where it might have gone but failed to find it again.

beautiful sunset at Lighthouse Park in North Vancouver

beautiful sunset at Lighthouse Park in North Vancouver

Out there on that rock, we waited for the sunset. The chill of the air rejuvenated our bodies. Slowly but surely, the sky opened up. And for the time we were there, nothing was really on my mind. I was at peace. Finally, dark orange hues took over the sky. The lighthouse with the sun-setting backdrop glowed. I took way too many shots of the idyllic scenery. I wanted to stay and linger, but at last, we must leave this wonderful place and speed towards traffic waiting for us on the other side. On the way out, we saw that another couple had nested on the side of the rock where we were, looking into the far reaches of the horizon, holding each other in that cold Pacific Northwest winter air.

a couple enjoying the beautiful sunset

a couple enjoying the beautiful sunset

If you’re coming to Vancouver, escape the hectic city and go North to find peace – like this Lighthouse Park. Travel on my friends.

couple enjoying the views

couple enjoying the views

the grounds around the park ranger's house

the grounds around the park ranger’s house

the trail down to the water

the trail down to the water

Want more adventures? Read Adventuring with 3 days in Iceland.

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  • Reply Dan January 31, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    zOMG these are beautiful pictures. I go to Vancouver all the time too but never been to this Park before. I’ll definitely visit it the next time

    • Reply Hung Thai January 31, 2016 at 5:17 pm

      Yeah I know. That’s what I said as well haha. It’s crazy how close it is to the city.

  • Reply Tiffany Wei January 31, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    LOL I live in Vancouver and still haven’t been here yet 🙂 – I’m embarrassed that it takes another person outside of Vancouver to convince me to perhaps to up there haha…

    • Reply Hung Thai January 31, 2016 at 5:16 pm

      Haha, that’s okay, I live in Seattle and I haven’t seen ANYTHING. I think you just get complacent when you live at the destination so you don’t explore as much.

  • Reply Becky Padmore
    February 1, 2016 at 6:10 am

    Wow fantastic photos, Canada looks really beautiful!

    • Reply Hung Thai February 1, 2016 at 10:44 am

      It absolutely is Becky :). I’m guessing you haven’t been there yet? If so, it’s a great trip if you ever get the opportunity to go: combination of modern amenities and natural destinations.

  • Reply budget jan
    February 2, 2016 at 2:30 am

    It was a good idea to head north to the Lighthouse. We’ve been to Vancouver and stayed with some local friends and they didn’t think to take us here either!

    • Reply Hung Thai February 3, 2016 at 9:17 am

      I think people who lives in the area seem to always think it’s boring. Whenever I ask my friends, “What should I do there?” – they always reply, “there’s nothing to do here.”

  • Reply Jess February 3, 2016 at 8:54 am

    Oh I would love to visit! I’ve only been to Eastern Canada, but this looks just stunning!

    • Reply Hung Thai February 3, 2016 at 9:18 am

      I would love to visit Eastern Canada! I’ve only been to Montreal and Quebec – both were very short trips.

  • Reply noel February 7, 2016 at 10:59 pm

    What a beautiful hike, I love days like this with those clouds. If you are patient you are sometimes gifted with amazing shots and light filtering through the clouds like your wonderful pictures.

    • Reply Hung Thai February 9, 2016 at 11:41 am

      Exactly! I love sun rays filtering through the clouds with some blues here and there. Love those shots!

  • Reply Image enhancement service
    February 8, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    “There weren’t any, but that wasn’t going to stop us now.”

    Thanks for the sunset photo.

    • Reply Hung Thai February 9, 2016 at 11:40 am

      Thanks 🙂 – it was a great spot and a great hike, a nice little gem indeed.

  • Reply Tara
    February 9, 2016 at 1:35 pm

    Oh my, the beauty and solitude of this corner of BC really shines through in your writing and your photos. I would love to visit. These are exactly the kind of places I’m drawn to!

    • Reply Hung Thai February 9, 2016 at 2:03 pm

      Thanks! I love going to places that are a little less known and provide unique experiences. Loved this hike and love BC in general – there’s just so much nature to see :).

  • Reply Mauricio Campos
    February 10, 2016 at 9:46 am

    Such an awesome post! I wish I had seen this before our trip to Vancouver in November. We really wanted to do some hiking but it was too cold and we didn’t bring the right gear. Vancouver has some amazing nature and we definitely have to go back now to test these out!

    • Reply Hung Thai February 10, 2016 at 2:28 pm

      Thanks! I’m glad you are inspired to come back and do this hike. I agree that there are just so many awesome natural things to see and do in Vancouver. I’m going to be writing a post on Deep Cove soon (another excellent spot to kayak and be in awe of nature) – it’s also only 30 minutes out of Downtown Vancouver :).

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