Exploring Grouse Mountain, Vancouver
Leave the city behind and head for the mountains to the north of Vancouver. Grouse Mountain is only 20 minutes away from the downtown area and with year round alpine adventures, this mountain peak is a must visit whatever the weather.
Summer is a great time to experience it with all sorts of exploring to be done. Start the trip off with a ride on the exhilarating Grouse Mountain Skyride, the 45-person gondola transports passengers one mile up in about eight minutes; jump out at the peak at 1,250 metres high. For an even more breathtaking experience try the Skyride Surf Adventure, ride the 1,600 metres to the peak on the roof of the Skyride gondola. Open to the elements this is a unique way to witness the stunning views of the city, Vancouver’s North Shore, ocean and mountains. If you like a challenge, hike the Grouse Grind Trail to the top. This steep and intense climb is 1.8 miles and has 2,830 stairs. Popular with locals this hike takes from one hour thirty minutes to two hours to complete, and is only recommend if you are in good physical shape! Once at the top head to the Wildlife Refuge to see Grinder and Coola the two resident orphaned grizzly bears who now live peacefully in their natural surroundings here. Learn about them and more of Canada’s wildlife at the research, education and conservation centre and discover more about the bears on a Ranger Talk.
The Peak Chalet is home to restaurants, shops and the Theatre in the Sky, watch a wildlife screening at the cinema here. For dining with a view, The Observatory takes fine dining to another level in more ways than one. Incredible mountain and city views combined with sumptuous food paired with elegant wines makes for a special treat up in this alpine resort. For something a little more casual if refuelling after a hike head to Altitudes Bistro complete with outdoor patio and marvel at the views 3,700 feet below. For a cocktail head to the SkyDeck bar, a wonderful place to soak up the sun while enjoying a drink or two.
For something a bit different try a game of Disc Golf, discs are similar to the Frisbee and make for a lot of fun up in the mountains. There are 18 holes to complete, you can purchase a disc in the Peak Chalet, the course is free to use with your Alpine Experience ticket. Don’t miss the Lumberjack show; tree climbing, logrolling and axe throwing are all part of this spectacular 45 minute experience. To get even higher take a helicopter tour for a jaw dropping thrill, fly between peaks, over an extinct volcano and see mesmerising views of downtown Vancouver. Its not everyday you can say that you’ve been to the top of a wind turbine, well here you can! A lift will transport you to the viewPod, 58 metres above the peak at the top of a huge wind turbine, the Eye of the Wind. The observation deck has panoramic views that will take your breath away so don’t forget your camera. Not for the faint-hearted tandem paragliding is a guaranteed adrenaline rush. Launch from Grouse Mountain and glide through the cool alpine air taking in the stunning mountainous landscape. Learn approach and landing techniques along with flying a paraglider first hand strapped to a knowledgeable instructor. With an elevation drop of 3,300 feet this is sure to be a very memorable experience. Watch birds of prey in action at the Birds in Motion demonstration; witness the Golden Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk and Peregrine Falcon in free flight daily from May to September. For a thrilling tour of Grouse Mountain book onto the Mountain Zip Line Tour. This incredible adventure is a dual line five-line circuit that lasts for two hours. Reach speeds of up to 50mph as you whizz above alpine treetops, across Dam and Grouse Mountain and past Blue Grouse Lake.
A year round destination winter activities on Grouse Mountain include skiing, ice skating, snowboarding and snow shoeing at the Munday Alpine Park. Grab a snow carpet and have fun at the sliding zone and look out for the Light Walk, a snowy winter wonderland with a twinkling light tunnel.
There are three different types of tickets for admission on to Grouse Mountain, Alpine Experience, Peak Experience and Ultimate Experience; all include a return trip on the Skyride, Ranger Talks, the Wildlife Refuge, Lumberjack Show, Birds in Motion and movies at the Theatre in the Sky. The Peak Experience has the added extra of a ride on the Peak Chairlift and the Ultimate Experience includes entry to the viewPod wind turbine observation deck.
Action and adventure awaits at the peak of this mountain, wilderness, out of this world views, incredible activities, dizzying heights and stupendous hikes there is something for everyone. From adrenaline-fuelled escapades to cocktails with an unbelievable backdrop, whatever the weather it’s sure to be an awesome day out.
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