The ski season in Vancouver is officially over, only in Whistler you can still ski. That means the trailrunning season has started, and today Vancouver’s most famous trail opened officially: The Grouse Grind.
I heard a lot about it over the past months, so I really looked forward to doing the hike/run. During a recent business lunch someone mentioned that he was going to do the Grind and he invited me to join him. So this morning at 10 AM I was at the bottom of Grouse Mountain, ready for a good work out. The trail is only about 3 km, but the elevation gain is over 850 meters.
Start of the Grouse Grind with lots of warnings
We took it relatively easy, not running but hiking up at a decent speed without stopping (we just had 2 short stops to drink some water). The trail starts going up right from the start and there is not a single flat piece in it. The trail has been very well maintained, so even though the hike up was strenuous it did not feel dangerous. At some points the incline was more than 45 degrees, when you looked up or down it was almost like looking up or down a wall.
Halfway the Grouse Grind
Because it’s not summer yet the snowline was below the finish, but most of the snow had been cleared from the trail. It got noticeably colder though, but luckily there was hardly any wind. It was quite busy on the trail, but when passing people they generally stepped aside right away, so it did not really bother me. This is probably a good trail to do early in the morning or after work on weekdays.
Made it to the top!
We did the hike in about an hour, not particularly fast but a decent time for a first try. I think I will start hiking (or maybe even running?) this trail more often over the coming months. It’s a great way to stay in shape, the trail can easily be reached from Vancouver (it’s just a few kilometers detour when I drive home after work), and nature is stunning (as everywhere on the North Shore).
View from the terrace to the last meters of the Grouse Grind
We had some drinks on the outside terrace at the gondola station and watched other people coming off the Grouse Grind. Some could hardly walk anymore! Don’t underestimate the Grouse Grind, it’s not a ‘walk in the park’ that you can do at a fast pace without any training.
View to West Vancouver from Grouse Mountain
Almost all hikers took the gondola back to the valley (cost: $10), but we decided to hike down over the BCMC trail, which is just east of the Grouse Grind. This trail is less well maintained and was snow covered for the first 15 minutes. Much harder to walk on, but luckily not as steep at the top part where you had to hike through the snow. The advantage of the BCMC is that it’s not as busy as the (more well-known) Grouse Grind.
Going back down on the BCMC Trail
Both trails end up at the same parking lot, so that’s easy. I had a great time and am happy to have found this trail so close to where I live. Life in Vancouver is getting better every day!
For more info on the Grouse Grind (incl. some more pictures) see here on VancouverTrails.com