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Things to Do in Vancouver: Grouse Mountain

The brochures for Grouse Mountain proudly boast that it’s Vancouver’s most-visited attraction, and if you only venture outside of the downtown core for one activity during your stay in the city, this should be the one.

Rising over 4,000 feet above Vancouver, Grouse Mountain is a year-round attraction. In winter, you can ski, snowboard and snowshoe; the rest of the year offers even more to see and do.

Start your day at Grouse with the ride up the mountain on the Skyride, North America’s largest aerial tram. The ride up takes about 10 minutes, travels along one mile of cable, and offers spectacular views of Vancouver and the Pacific Ocean. Once you reach the top, you can take a 45-minute guided eco-walk, visit the habitat of two rescued orphan grizzly bears or see wolves at the Refuge for Endangered Wildlife, watch the World Famous Lumberjack Show, ride the chairlift to the very top of Grouse Mountain.

Other activities are available at an additional cost: zipline over the treetops, take a helicopter tour above the mountains, soar through the air as a tandem paraglider, or take in 360-degree views from the top of a giant wind turbine at the Eye of the Wind.

There are several dining options available on the mountain, from the upscale and romantic Observatory to the eclectic fusion cuisine of Altitudes Bistro to the casual and quick bites available at Lupins Cafe or the Rusty Rail BBQ & Grill.

Hours and costs:

Grouse Mountain is open daily from 9am to 10pm, 365 days per year. General admission, which covers the ride up and most activities, is $39.95 for adults, $23.95 for kids 13-18 and $13.95 for kids 5-12. Kids under 5 years old are free; senior admission is $35.95. Parking is $3 for two hours, or $5 for the full day.

How to  get there:

Grouse is easy to get to by car; the ride takes 15-25 minutes depending on traffic. Via public transportation it takes a bit longer, but is still an easy route to navigate. If you’re combining your visit to Grouse with a trip to the Capilano Bridge, the easiest option is to head to Grouse first and then stop at the Bridge on your way back to the city.

To get to Grouse from downtown, take bus #246 and then connect with bus #236 to Grouse, or take the Seabus from Waterfront Station to Lonsdale Quay and then transfer to the #236 bus. With connections, the ride will take you about one hour.

Tips for visiting:

Rule Number 1: Remember it’s a mountain

Even in summer, it’s cooler at the top of Grouse than it is in the city. In the winter, it’s a veritable winter wonderland. Dress appropriately and wear good shoes or hiking boots.

At the very least, plan on spending three hours at Grouse Mountain. That will give you enough time to journey up the Skyride, ride the chairlift up to the mountain’s peak, check out the two rescued grizzly bears, and watch the World Famous Lumberjack Show, which offers enough sly humor in between the slapstick to appeal to both kids and adults.

If you want to do more, plan on sticking around for at least 6-7 hours.

If you plan on visiting both Grouse Mountain and the Capilano Suspension Bridge, you can do them both in one day to save time and money taking public transportation to both. Start by taking the free shuttle to Capilano Bridge, then board the #236 bus for the 8-minute ride north to Grouse Mountain. Plan on arriving early and spending at least 3-5 hours here. When you’re done, take the bus back to the bridge. With your Grouse Mountain ticket, you’ll get a coupon good for $2 off admission to the bridge.

If you want to maximize your time at Grouse Mountain, you can also start at the Capilano Bridge when it opens, spend 2-3 hours there, and then head north to Grouse. If you arrive by 1 pm, you’ll have over eight hours left to explore. Just be aware that you won’t be able to take the free shuttle back from Capilano if you do this; you’ll need to take public transportation back to downtown.