On a cool, crisp Vancouver morning, Martin from Montreal, Liron from Israel, and yours truly from Brooklyn took the SeaBus over to North Vancouver with the intention of seeing what the Grouse Grind Trail was all about. I had read that it was a somewhat strenuous trail, but nowhere did I see or hear about it being an unforgiving, gut-wrenching trek that went straight up. This isn’t your usual meandering path that slowly winds its way up--straight-up verticality is all it knows. Sometimes you’re scratching and clawing your way up some jutting rocks, other times you’re high-stepping on log steps. Either way, even those who consider themselves relatively in shape (and of course I am) should be ready to tax that cardiovascular system.
Once you make it up to the top, though, the view is utterly gratifying and the sense of accomplishment overshadows your desperate gasps for breath. Seriously, I was itching to strike the infamous Rocky Balboa pose after he scales the courthouse steps. There’s a plethora of activity going on up at the top of Grouse Mountain, including a couple restaurants, a grizzly-bear exhibit, and the popular cable car, which we decided was too expensive at around C$20 each way (more on that choice later). Liron and I had packed some wheat bread, cheddar cheese, and Cracker Jacks to snack on, which saved us from purchasing overpriced "top o’ the mountain fare."
After taking a long, relaxing siesta, we decided to go back down the trail. Even though we were well aware that we had just gone through the same thing two hours ago, Liron and I couldn’t stop laughing at everyone’s body language and expressions as they finally got to the end of the trail. I thought we could make some cash if we crouched right at the end and snapped Polaroids of how everyone looked--even if people didn’t buy them, at least we’d have some riotous pictures to laugh at!
In many ways, going down was worse than going up. The impact on your knees is killer--every time we stopped for a break, Martin’s legs were involuntarily shaking. Yeah, we saved some cash by not taking the cable car down, but accelerated our pace to "the days of the walking cane."
Results 1-5of 5 Reviews
by Dundee Scotty
Dundee, United Kingdom
May 28, 2004
From journal Vibrant Vancouver
Charlotte, North Carolina
June 14, 2003
The Grouse Grind was a serious butt kicker of a hike. It is 1.8 miles straight up the mountain. It starts out fairly steep and never lets up. In fact, it gets even steeper as you go farther up. But don't let this deter you if you are in relatively good shape or you have plenty of time. There were hikers of all levels making the ascent (some faster than others). It took me about 50 minutes, but I was going pretty fast (although a couple of locals passed me without even a glance back). The surrounding forest is absolutely beautiful and the views from the top are amazing. There are several places to hang out up top and a viewing platform at the lodge. One note about your progress up the mountain: you will see signs at the 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4 mark on the way up. It is nice to know how much you have done, but also a little demoralizing as you feel the fatigue setting in. The good news: you can ride the tram down for only $5. Another tip: you can send a set of dry clothes up on the tram for a $2 fee . . . you will definitely be sweaty when you get to the top.
All said, this was a very challenging and rewarding hike that I highly recommend.
A pleasant surprise was discovering all of the activities at the top of Grouse Mountain. There are some really neat wood carved statues, a free lumberjack show (a little cheesy, but fun), mountain biking, hang-gliding a wildlife refuge for injured animals (there a few bears that aren't very bashful). Take your time and enjoy the mountain. After all, you earned it if you hiked up.
From journal A Perfect Vancouver Weekend
by Mr. Wonka
Brooklyn, New York
June 13, 2003
From journal ". . .and then the clouds lifted"
Vancouver, British Columbia
June 8, 2003
You can reach the top of Grouse Mountain in one of two ways. First (if you have the energy) you can hike up. The cost to hike up is free, and a mere $5 to take the Sky Ride down (or if you are a glutton for punishment, you can hike back down for free). The trail is called the Grouse Grind, but I like to call it the world’s largest stair master.
If the hike up is not your cup of tea, then you can take the Sky Ride up. The cost for this is $25 per person, and will take about 10 minutes to reach the top. With a purchased round trip ticket for the Sky ride, you receive a whopping $1.50 off the Capilano Suspension Bridge -- what a deal!
Anyways! While at the top, there are many things there for you to enjoy. There are timber sports shows, a movie depicting the history of the lower mainland, wooden statues (all carved with chainsaws), an enclosed grizzly bear den (which currently holds 4 grizzlies), and a couple of restaurants.
Here is a link to their website: http://www.grousemountain.com/
From journal Vancouver! Vancouver!
by Club Fred
Port Coquitlam, British Columbia
October 25, 2002
There are two ways to get to the top of Grouse - take the tram or walk, yes walk. The former is a great way to see the city and the latter is a great way to bring on cardiac arrest. Seriously, the "Grouse Grind" as it is known is an insitution in Vancouver. Called "mother nature's stair master" this hike will take you 1.8 miles straight up the face of the mountain. You can send a bag with a change of clothes and other goodies up on the tram for $2.00. Hint - go slow, bring lots of water.
In the winter, Grouse is about skiing and snowboarding. It's not the same caliber as Whistler or Blackcomb but it's a super local mountain and nice for learning on. For non-ski or snowboarders there is a sweet little skating rink next to the lodge where you can skate, sip hot cocoa, and cuddle next to a fire.
Once the snow is gone there is still lots to do. There are walking/hiking trails and lots of giant chainsaw carvings, mountain bike rentals, tours and trails, helicopter tours,tandem paragliding,free shows at the Theatre in the Sky,the Hiwus cultural Centre, a lumberjack show, a bird show and my favorite "Grinder" & "Coola" the grizzly bears. Now, I do not support animals in captivity but these bears were rescued as babies - one's mother was killed by a car and the other was found starving and nearly dead on a logging road. Grouse mountain has built them a large natural habitat and apparently there are now two more young bears as well but I have not seen them. The habitat is designed so that the bears can easily avoid the curious humans but everytime I've been up there they seem to like to frolick right near the fence and man are they just sooooooo fun & furry.
There are a few places to eat on the mountain from burgers & beer to The Observatory (fine dining) and two gift shops.
When I am alone I like to do the Grouse Grind, then clean up, have a nice fruit smoothie, watch the bears for awhile and take the tram back down ...what a day!
Tram fare: $21.95CDN (Adult) $5.00 for a one way ticket.
Adult ski lift ticket: Day $39.00 Night$29.00
From journal My Vancouver Top 10