• Danik Bates

Vancouver: views from Grouse Mountain

Updated: May 7

Located slightly north of British Columbia’s largest city Vancouver is Grouse Mountain which is one of the North Shore Mountains. Standing at 1,200 meters (4,100 feet), the mountain is known for its ski resort but is also one of the top attractions to check out whilst staying in this amazing city.

Getting there

Grouse Mountain is pretty easy to get to from Downtown Vancouver. We had a car and the journey took about twenty minutes to drive to the main car park on a clear road. However there are shuttle services (check Grouse Mountain website for details) which takes about twenty-five minutes. If using a sat-nav (GPS): the full address is: 6400 Nancy Greene Way North Vancouver, BC V7R 4K9.

On arrival & Skyride

Next to the car park is the lower cable car station where the main ticket booths are. However at weekends and during the summer periods, the queues can be quite long so it is best to buy the tickets in advance and skip the queues. Then it’s time to go into the cable car and take a ride up the mountain. This is called Skyride and takes visitors over the towering Douglas Firs. The ride is pretty quick and before we knew it, we were at the top of Grouse Mountain. For those who don’t want to go up in the cable car (and save some cash), there is a hiking trail but it's 2.9km long each way and is steep in some places.

Stepping out of the Skyride, what to expect first

The cable car station is connected with other buildings which host gift shops, toilets and of course food outlets. There is a bistro up here (which we did) and we enjoyed it, but for those who want to splash the cash, the Observatory Restaurant is the place to be. Eat and take in the beautiful sights of Vancouver down below.

Sights and Activities

As well as being a mountain and taking in the amazing views of British Columbia, there are also some things to do and check out. We find this is a great way of educating young children as well with some of the events here and we sure can’t wait to bring our children here (we didn’t have Amelie until a year after our visit). First off in the summer months there are usually lumberjack shows (sure don’t get this back home in the UK) and these guys can chop wood real good. Also there are ranger talks and the ‘Birds in Motion display’ - a bird of prey demonstration whilst for the crazy ones, there is mountain biking, golf, paragliding and a zipline to throw one down, it can all be done up here. For those with even more cash, take a helicopter tour of the surrounding mountains.

Don’t forget to check out the bears, Grinder and Coola. Grinder has been here since 2001 and was found dehydrated, weak, thin and not weighing very much. His mother was never found so the guys who found him looked after him, got him back to healthy status and now lives here on Grouse Mountain. Coola (the larger one out of the two), was found orphaned beside a highway in the province. His mother and two other cubs were killed by a truck and Coola was the only one to survive. Coola has lived on top of Grouse Mountain since 2001 also.

Eye of the wind

This was an amazing experience. A little walk from where the bears and birds of prey are located, the ‘Eye of the Wind’ is the world’s first and only wind turbine that allows visitors to go right to the top and take in the views of the surrounding area from inside a clear-view glass pod. Here we took in 360-degree views however, the rotating blades weren't on that day so we couldn’t get to see them in action. It does cost a little bit extra (not much) but for those under 16 years old go up for free but have to be over one meter tall in height.

Some tips which may come in useful

We will just talk about the summer months as we have never been up the mountain in winter. First off, during busy periods, buy your tickets online and skip the queues. Take comfortable walking shoes and just in case, a light jacket. Weather changes quite quickly on the summit of mountains. It maybe warm and hot at the bottom but can be a few degrees cooler at the top. If doing everything, visitors will need a full day here, otherwise if just doing half-a-day and then lunch, then combine it with a half-day trip to the Capilano Suspension Bridge which is a couple of kilometers down the same road which brings visitors to Grouse Mountain.

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