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The Grouse Grind is supposed to be the most popular hike in Vancouver and I'd believe it. Dozens of hikers are constantly arriving to begin this 2,800 foot, 1.8 mile ascent, and there is lots of free entertainment at the top including grizzly bear enclosure, bird shows, and a cheesy lumberjack performance. The views of the city are also excellent, especially with a beer in hand at the Rusty Rail BBQ. Plus, once at the top, the Skyride only costs $5 to return to the bottom!
We weren't dressed for hiking, so we decided to take the Skyride to the top. After an afternoon of wandering and looking at bears, we were planning to return to the bottom via the Skyride, but the line was so long we decided to walk. Big mistake... the descent is very steep, wet, and icy in spots, and is all steps. I have done a lot of hiking and never thought downhills were hard, but this is different. 2,800 feet and no level spots, few sloping switchbacks... just rock or wooden steps. After 30 or 40 minutes of walking, and thinking we were near the bottom, we saw the sign saying we had completed just 1/4 of the downhill hike, and we knew we were in trouble. Long story short, it took us some 2 hrs to descend the mountain, and we were sweaty and exhausted, but relived we wouldn't have to spend the night on the side of a cold mountain.
The hike up is supposed to be a great 1 to 2 hour adventure that is obviously well-traveled. They even have a Grouse Grind race a few times a year that some guys can complete in 30 minutes. The hike back down just plain sucks and I would only recommend it to my worst enemies. That's why the Skyride is only $5 on the return trip!
To get here, take the Lion's Gate Bridge north from downtown and stay right to arrive at Capilano Road. Becomes Nancy Green Way which ends at the parking lot at the base of the mountain. Parking in the lots costs $5. You might be able to park in the local neighborhood for free.
Updated Aug 25, 2012
Are you thinking of crossing the border and head to Seattle/Portland? Might as well since you are close anyway...Who knows when you come back to Vancouver? When I take trips, I usually try to visit the neighboring city, too...
Take the Amtrak Cascade's train to Seattle. Make sure to book online. Reservations are required on Coaches.
The fares to Vancouver varies depending on the time.
Service on Amtrak Cascades Trains:
Coaches: Reservations required
Cascades Business Class service
Wi-Fi available on board
Sleeping cars:Superliner sleeping accommodations on Trains 11 and 14, the Coast Starlight. Amtrak Metropolitan Lounge available in Portland for Sleeping car service passengers.
Dining Cars: Comple meal service on Trains 11 and 14.
Lounge.Bistro cars:Sandwiches, snacks and beverages on all trains.
Bicycles: Trains 500 through 517 are equipped with a limited number of bike racks for carrying unboxed bicycles.. Reservation required, service charge applies. The passenger brings the bicycle to and picks it up from the baggage car. Certain connecting Thruway buses also carry bicylces. Consult agent.
Visit clippervacations.com or call 1-800-888-2535 for schedules to Victoria, B.C.
Time is available at Eugene to ticket University of Oregon passengers.
Bus will not operate 7/3 and 9/4. Bus will also opoerate 7/4 and 9/5.
Cantrail Coach Lines accpets two free suitcases and one carry-on bag.
Additional bags for a fee. Bicycles must be in a box. Call 604-294-5541.
Note: Proper documentation is required to cross U.S./Canadian border. See General information at Amtrak.com for important customs and immigration information.
Operation of Trains 500 through 517 and Thruway bus service between Portland and Eugene is financed primarilyu through funds made available by the Oregon Department of Transportatin, and between Vancouver-Seattle-Portland by the Washington State Department of Transportation.
Passengers holding multi-ride tickets should be aware that reserved ticketed passengers have priority seating on Amtrak Thruway buses.
Prices as of October 11, 2011:
Lowest Price Morning
Written Oct 11, 2011
Taking the Amtrak train to and from Seattle to Vancouver is very nice because you can relax. The fare for roundtrip ticket is about $35.00.
Make sure to book online and be prepared to give all your information like your your passport and credit card. This is a safe site. You needed to give this information because you are crossing the border of the United States and going through immigration later.
The only problem that I encountered taking the train is that it gets really noisy. The train which I took is very old and I can hear the loud noise of t he grinding of the rims to the railroads.
Also, there are many passengers who were noisy talking on their cellular phones and passengers who walked by going to the dining area.
Make sure to go to the train station early in Vancouver. If you are taking the last train, make sure to be there at 30 minutes before it leaves. Sometimes the train leaves early and there are no more available train. Your only option is to take the bus! And, they don't refund your money right away!
The view is not good either except when I got to White Rock in Canada.
Written Sep 30, 2011
My daughter and I tried riding the bus from Vancouver to Seattle and it was actually very pleasant. The drive was very smooth and the bus was very comfortable. The bus driver was very courteous and he warned us to be prepared before hitting the immigration building: that we have to carry our luggages and leave nothing in the bus. We hand carried our luggages from the bus and went through security. After we passed security check, we head out from the building and waited the same bus to pick us up.
Make sure to have your passport ready at all times since the U.S./Canada Immigration will check them. And, vice versa.
Make sure to buy your tickets in advance because sometimes the buses are fully-booked and make sure to catch the last bus to Seattle. The last bus heads to Seattle at 7:00 pm. The fare is $24.00 one way.
Written Sep 28, 2011
There are two ways to get to the top of Grouse Mountain: Skyride and hiking the Grouse Grind. The Grouse Grind is a difficult 1 to 2 hour hike that rises 2,800 feet over a 1.8 mile trail...yep, that's almost straight up. Even worse, is coming down...don't even consider it unless you are a glutton for punishment.
We took the expensive $35 Skyride to the top on the ticket lady's advice that it included access to all the activities at the top, implying that hikers could not visit those activities. Turns out she mislead us... hikers can access the grizzly bear enclosure, birds of prey performance, and the lumberjack show for free, and they can take the skyride back to the bottom for a mere $5. To be fair, the Skyride does offer much better views of the city and surrounding areas than the hike, and it would be easier for skiers or those going to a fancy dinner at one of the restaurants on top, but it is not worth $35 for a round trip ticket when a one-way ticket is just $5.
Your best bet is to hike up and take the Skyride back down the mountainside. Enjoy your free visit to Grouse Mountain!
Updated Apr 4, 2011
Stanley Park is covered with some 35 kilometers of trails, with the primary routes being the 7.9 km Seawall route, the 2.3 km Bridle Trail, the 1 km Beaver Lake Loop, the 1.2 km Lees Trail, the 1.4 km Merliees Trail, and the 2.8 km Rawlings Trail. During my visit I went for a spectacular run in Stanley Park, mostly along the Seawall Trail on the wast side of the park, but also running through the woods around Beaver Lake. These trails are excellent for walking and jogging, and many are also great for biking.
I entered the park at Lost Lagoon at the foot of Georgia Street. From here I passed under the Stanley Park Causeway toward the Marinas where I got an excellent view of the city of Vancouver. Continuing east, I ran along Coal Harbor to the Brockton Point Lighthouse. Here the seawall trail turns to the northwest, providing a view of the Lion's Gate Bridge and North Vancouver. I ran past the statue of the girl in the wet suit and the children's playground, then turned inland toward the busiest area of the park. I passed several monuments then the Rose Garden before hitting the South Creek Trail to Beaver Lake. I followed Beaver Creek back out to the Burrard Inlet, just south of the Lion's Gate Bridge, then took the most direct route back to my starting point at Lost Lagoon.
Updated Apr 4, 2011
Vancouver Harbour to Victoria Harbour
Vancouver Airport southside to Victoria Harbour
fare excursion approx $150 each way
Vancouver Airport Southside to Whistler Village
$205 each way
Updated Apr 4, 2011
There are two special rail trips from Vanmcouver. the first is the VIA Rail " The Canadian" which is a 5 day 4460km journey from the West Coast port of Vancouver to Toronto in the East
Details of this journey can be viewed on my Toronto page
There is also a private Rocky Mountain Rail trip from Vancouver to Calgary and return, details of which can ve viewed on "Calgary" page under transportation
Updated Mar 11, 2011
We came to Vancouver from Victoria via a BC Ferry and Tswassen. The ferry took 1.5 hours and cost $43. The drive from the port into Chinatown took a half hour. Check their helpful website for shedules and current fares.
After leaving Vancouver, we drove to Kamloops, about halfway to Banff National Park in the Province of Alberta. It was 350 kilometers and took about 4 hours. We saw the most amazing full moon of our entire six-month trip. We got into town so late all there was time for was to get a room and crash. Not sure we missed too much in Kamloops.
Written Nov 22, 2009
If it's your first time in Vancouver and want to get a feel of your bearings, the Big Bus is a great way to tour around downtown with "flexibility" to hop on and hop off. Their tickets are approx $37/person and are good for 2 days. When it's sunny out, they take the top off the bus! Sure, it's "touristy" but it's something you should do once if you do not have much time or if it's your first time here.
Here's the info from their website:
The Best Way To Discover Vancouver!
Big Bus Vancouver Hop-On Hop-Off Tour. What better way to see the sights of Vancouver than from a seat on one of our unique sightseeing buses! When you select a BIG BUS tour, you'll have the opportunity to spend time at any of our stops, including major attractions, shopping areas, and many of Vancouver's fine restaurants. On BIG BUS, there's no need to rush!
Your ticket is valid for 2 full days and our Hop-on/Hop-off policy means you can spend as much time as you'd like at any particular destination. We stop at Gastown, Chinatown, Stanley Park, Granville Island, Robson Street Shopping District, English Bay, Entertainment District and more.
In season (May-September) - 7 days/week 8:30 am - 6:30 pm
Off Season (October - April) - 7 days/week 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Adult - (age 18-64) $37.00
Senior - (age 65 and better) $34.00
Student - (age 13-17 ) $34.00
Child - (age 6-12 - under 6 free) $18.00
Family - (2 adults & 2 children under 12) $85.00
Buy your tickets online and get a free ice cream!
Cruise the city in our vintage double-deckers or one of our truly unique 'topless' convertible buses and explore the natural and urban landscapes of this beautiful city.
Big Bus Sightseeing Tour Highlights
* Hop-on, hop-off anywhere along the route
* 22 stops taking in the very best
* Buses leave every 15-20 minutes in summer
* Commentary in SIX languages – English, Spanish, French, German, Japanese and Mandarin
* Fully experience ALL the sights and sounds in our"convertible" / "Cabriolet" bus – half-covered and half-open, it's the only way to travel in summer!
From the sandy beaches of English Bay to the snow-capped mountains nestled against the shore, visitors are bound to be impressed by the sights and sounds of this one-of-a-kind city tour.
Written Jul 13, 2009
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