3 Challenging Fall Hikes Near Vancouver (Photos Galore!)

Hiking is a nice complement to a Pilates practice. A hike gives you a great workout while you spend valuable time in nature. It’s like feeding two birds with one feeder.


Fall is an ideal time for hiking in and around Vancouver. It’s not too hot and the snow isn’t yet covering a large percentage of the trails in the region.


In this post, I take you on three of my favourite hikes near Vancouver. All are challenging hikes that are rated either intermediate or advanced in difficulty. Thusly, all are excellent workouts.


I took lots of photos so you could get a sense of what these trails are like.

Tunnel Bluffs


The Tunnel Bluffs trailhead is about a 45-minute drive from Vancouver. It’s located north of Lion’s Bay along Highway 99.


Parking can be found on the south side of the highway directly across from the trailhead. Here there is a viewpoint/rest area with a somewhat limited amount of parking. There were plenty of parking spots available when I went on a sunny weekday, though I imagine they might fill up at some point during the morning on a sunny weekend during the hiking season.


The trailhead isn’t at all obvious from the parking lot due to thick foliage. See the map below. Be very careful when crossing the highway!

Distance: 7.2 km

Elevation Gain: 671 metres

Difficulty Level: advanced

Time Needed: 3.5 – 4.5 hours

Trail Type: out & back

Parking: yes (free)

Hollyburn Mountain


The Hollyburn Mountain trailhead is about a 35-minute drive from Vancouver. It’s located off of Cypress Bowl Road in the Cypress Mountain Hollyburn Nordic Area.


Parking can be found in the parking lot of the Hollyburn Nordic Area. There were plenty of parking spots available when I went on a weekday with great weather. In fact, there was only one other car in the lot and I only saw one other person on the trail.


There are a number of additional trails accessible from here, so if you arrive and then decide you’re not up for a 3-4 hour hike, there are shorter hikes to choose from.


The trailhead is difficult to miss thanks to the clear signage.


Please note that an even better view exists than is depicted by the last photo below. As can be seen, I was running out of daylight and decided to turn back a little before the peak of the trail!

Distance: 8.4 km

Elevation Gain: 450 metres

Difficulty Level: intermediate

Time Needed: 3 – 4 hours

Trail Type: out & back

Parking: yes (free)

Polytrichum Lookout


The Polytrichum Lookout trailhead is about a 40-minute drive from Vancouver. It’s located near Buntzen Lake Park in Anmore.


Parking is plentiful with three parking lots plus an overflow lot totalling many hundreds of spots. I arrived mid-morning on a glorious Sunday and the majority of the spots were available. The photo below was taken after the hike, in the early afternoon. By this time, people were having difficulty finding a spot. From what I know, this is common. Parking is easy on weekdays but difficult come late morning/early afternoon on a sunny weekend.


Polytrichum Lookout is on the Halvor Lunden Trail, also known as the Eagle Ridge Trail. To find the trailhead you’ll need to walk to the parking area entrance, where Sunnyside Road becomes the BC Hyrdo Service Road. There is a gate at this point, which restricts vehicular access to the BC Hyrdo Service Road. Look for the trailhead steps from here.


There are a handful of different routes along the Halvor Lunden Trail. Most of them are LONG and will take a full day to complete.

Distance: 5 km

Elevation Gain: 550 metres

Difficulty Level: advanced

Time Needed: 3 – 3.5 hours

Trail Type: out & back

Parking: yes (free)


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Tone Pilates is moving away from Vancouver. The Vancouver studio is now closed.

Tone Pilates is moving away from Vancouver. The Vancouver studio is now closed.