You meant to take your pup on a hike this summer, but the warm months just seemed to fly by. As we near the end of September, now’s the time to check off the last few activities on your summer to-do list!

Hiking is a coveted activity for dogs and humans all over BC. As Vancouverites enjoy a beautiful and sunny September, embark on an adventure with your pup and find a scenic, dog-friendly trail near the Lower Mainland. 

Dogs and hiking are the perfect match. Take a day trip out to Sea to Sky; while you enjoy breathtaking ocean views, your pet is getting lots of extra exercise. 



Wildlife: To ensure your hike goes smoothly, it’s important to consider the added safety concerns bringing a dog may entail. For one, barking dogs may spook wildlife, causing them to act more aggressively than they otherwise would. Be sure to keep your pup on a leash, especially when you suspect other animals are in the area. Bear spray is a must on any BC hike; double-check that yours hasn’t passed its expiry date. Visit BC Parks for more information on bear safety. 

Hazardous materials: BC’s forests are home to beautiful and diverse plant life, a lot of which is not safe for animals to consume. For that reason, keep a close eye on your companion to make sure they are not chewing on any shrubs or drinking from stagnant water pools. Bring your own food and water or let them drink from moving, fresh water.

Difficulty level: Research the hike before you go to make sure you and your pup are up for it. Perhaps your buddy hasn’t had much exercise recently and might not be up for a challenging hike with a steep incline. If you’re just starting out, read more about beginners’ trails near Vancouver or go to an easy off-leash trail. You can find difficulty levels posted for most hikes online. You can also read reviews from hikers like yourself to get a sense of what it will be like.

flatlay of safety gear to bring when hiking


Eco-friendly poop bags: Don’t leave anything behind. 

LED light collar: These are a handy tool for your pup when it gets dark out. They can also help you keep track of your pooch. 

Bear bell: Attaching a bear bell to your dog’s collar can help keep bears at a distance.

Paw wax or booties: This helps protect your pet during extremely hot or cold weather.

Collapsible water container: To share your drinking water.

Extra treats: For when your dog is being extra good.

Hiking pack: So your trail buddy can carry their own supplies.


Dog Mountain

Where: North Vancouver

Difficulty level: Easy – intermediate

Time: 2 hours

Driving time from Vancouver: 30 minutes

Leash requirements: On-leash

This is a great hike to take your dog on, as you may have guessed. The low elevation trail offers stunning views of Vancouver – Mount Baker, Fraser Valley, and Lower Mainland – on a clear day. The trail takes you 5km around Mount Seymour. While there isn’t much of a climb, some hikers report moderate, rather than easy, conditions due to the roots and rocks along the trail.


Stawamus Chief

stawamus chief is one of the best dog friendly hikes near vancouver

Where: Squamish

Difficulty level: Intermediate – difficult

Time: 3+ hours

Driving time from Vancouver: 1 hour

Leash requirements: On-leash

This trail, commonly referred to as “The Chief” by Vancouver hikers, is a popular and relatively challenging route near Squamish. It takes you up a steep trail and many stairs, but the incredible views on one of its three peaks make it well worth the effort. Be prepared to navigate roots and encounter ladders and chains to help you along.


Whistler Train Wreck

Where: Whistler

Difficulty level: Easy

Time: 1 hour

Driving time from Vancouver: 1.5 hours

Leash requirements: On-leash

The short and scenic trail offers views of the Cheakamus River over a suspension bridge and colourfully painted train cars, left in the forest since 1965. Enjoy a short and low-elevation adventure with your pup and see the popular tourist destination for yourself. 


Sea to Summit Trail

sea to summit trail is one of the best dog friendly hikes near vancouver

Where: Squamish

Difficulty level: Difficult

Time: 4+ hours

Driving time from Vancouver: 1 hour

Leash requirements: Dogs are allowed off-leash during the hike, but must be on-leash in the parking area and at the summit.

The Sea to Summit Trail is a steep hike and an excellent workout. Along the way, you will encounter sweeping views of Howe Sound and Shannon Falls. This is a great route for seasoned hikers and anyone looking for something a bit more challenging. 

Note: Dogs are allowed down on the gondola for $15.00, but not up. 


Norvan Falls

norvan falls is one of the best dog friendly hikes near vancouver

Where: North Vancouver

Difficulty level: Easy – intermediate

Time: 5 hours

Driving time from Vancouver: 40 minutes

Leash requirements: On-leash

This is a relatively low incline hike with a variety of terrain and a stunning waterfall at the end. If you’re feeling adventurous, manoeuvre over rocks and along fallen trees to get to the pool at the base of the falls and go for a swim!


Final Thoughts

If you’re an avid hiker who also owns a dog, you are destined to have the paw-fect trail buddy. Before you go, make sure your pup is up for the challenge, and consider talking to your vet to see if he/she is old enough and fit enough. Start off slow, and you and your pup will be jetting up and down the Chief before you know it.